A friend of mine growing up said Ephesians 2:4 continue the most famous but of all time. Now, as a junior high students, this provided many giggles. But as I grew in my understanding of scripture and awareness of who God was and what he has done to bring me into his family, this statement still rings true for me today.
In our upmost opposition to our creator God, maker of heavens and earth and everything else, he demonstrated great mercy and love by overcoming our sinfulness and making a way for us to enjoy him and life a life glorifying him.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV)
I had mentioned in the last post, on Ephesians 2:1-3, that this section of scripture is actually one sentence in it's original form, so we must not separate the too far in regards to its meaning and emphasis. Paul is communicating to us that God lavishes his saving grace on Christians through his saving initiative in Jesus.
Verses 1-3 dealt with our formal self, who were before Jesus saved us, that having an understanding and grasp of the depths of our sin should magnify our gratitude and worship of Jesus.
In verse 4-10, Paul deals with our new self, and who we are because of what Christ has done. We're going to break down this text into three parts:
- Vs 4-7 - God's mercy and love made us alive with Christ so that we may be the recipients of the lavish grace of God.
- Vs 8-9 - We have been saved by grace, through faith. It's his work, not ours! So we have no place to boast or brag about our new life apart from boasting in Christ. We cannot take credit for our new self because it was Christ who did everything we could not do to present us holy and blameless to God.
- Vs 10 - We are created and recreated for God's purposes. Our plans, will and agenda come into to submission to his, because he's the one who recreated us for a new purpose in life.
Jesus has saved us, not just our of our former life, but into his family, with purpose. God has a mission that every believer is on. Obedience of any kind to the mission of God comes from and is rooted in our identity - saved by grace and alive with Christ.
Meditation / Journaling
In this text, we see many markers of our new identity in Christ, but the two that were going to focus on today are "saved" and "alive."
Saved - We need a savior! Often, the lives we live leave us with this notion that we don't really need to be saved, thus we do not need a savior. So, for our first text to meditate on and pray through is the few verse before, reminding ourselves that we are in desperate need of a savior.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)
Alive - We are saved into a family! Not simply just saved from a life, now and forever, separated from our maker. We are saved into an active, living family alive with mission, purpose and meaning. Our lives are then not meaningless, but full of meaning in Christ. Our lives are not wandering without purpose, but full of purpose.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 ESV)
Spend some time reading and meditating through Psalm 138 as well:
I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.
All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
for great is the glory of the LORD.
For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalm 138 ESV)