Re: Verse reading – Ephesians 2:11-22 (day three)
“You are no longer foreigners and strangers.” The reality of God’s nearness keeps repeating throughout scripture: “God with us;” “Here are my mother and my brothers;” “The word is near you.” This nearness involves God’s drawing near us as well as God’s drawing us near one another. When God said “It is not good for the man to be alone,” he spoke the truth about a particular instance, and the truth about the entire human race at all times. It seems as if fellowship with others is but one of many good ideas about Christianity, but it is only in the community of God’s people—when you draw near to others—that you will draw nearest to God.
Re: Verse reading – Ephesians 2:11-22 (day two)
“In him the whole building in joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which god lives by his Spirit” (vs. 21-22).
This is an incredible metaphor that creates a marvelous picture of how we all fit together in the unity of faith. Imagine this as a real structure, Jesus is the chief cornerstone (vs. 20) and those who have joined in this legacy of faith have helped to construct this temple in which God will reside. Each of us, with our unique gifts and backgrounds are knit together to create the Church. Unity doesn’t always mean SAME, it means together. God knows what he is doing, we don’t look the same, talk the same way, prefer the same things, but we all have the same God who uses that uniqueness to create his beautiful Temple.
Re: Verse reading – Ephesians 2:11-22 (day one)
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” (v 14) Paul is detailing what God has done for us in Christ (chose us in Him–v 1:4, redeemed us–v 1:7, sealed us with the Holy Spirit–v 1:14, made us alive, raised and seated us with Christ in heavenly places–v 1:5). He turns eventually to PEACE. In Christ, Gentiles and Jews, who formerly hated each other, were standing together in unity. It was an undeniable miracle, one that spoke volumes in a divided, prejudiced ancient world. Still true today. When Jesus is Lord (and only when He is Lord), He breaks down barriers that divide people from each other. Isaiah saw it. “He shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, PRINCE OF PEACE.”–Isaiah 9:6. And our Prince has instructions for us. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”–Romans 12:18.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 2:1-10 (day seven)
“For by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (v 8)
Grace. Unmerited favor. God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Paul’s own experience helped him to understand this truth. (Theology is always biography, at least in part) Without doubt, Paul knew that he had not earned the attention and kindness of Christ. Just the opposite. He had resisted and blasphemed and harmed others in his irrational anger. “Who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” Paul will later describe himself and the world of men. (Romans 1:18) Why is God kind to any of us? Nothing in any of us deserves this mercy. Grace is the only explanation. It flows out of God’s heart as a free and infinite gift. “According to the greatness of YOUR compassion, blot out my transgressions.” (Psalm 51:1) So long as we look at ourselves, we will be hopeless. Grace is the true story. Amazingly sweet sound.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 2:1-10 (day 6)
“God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. . .and raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms.” (v 4-6)
If you were asked to describe the taste of chocolate, could you? What if someone asked you to describe salvation? The scripture struggles to find adequate metaphors and words for such an assignment. In John 3, Jesus compared salvation to physical birth. We must be “born again”. In Ephesians 2, Paul describes our experience in terms of Christ’s resurrection and ascension. With the Lord, we are “made alive and raised up and seated in heavenly places”. A few verses later, Paul likens salvation to “creation” in Genesis 1. ( v 10) All of these descriptions are inspired by the Spirit of Christ and, therefore, reliably true. Each, however, is only a part of the full description of what God does for those who trust Christ. ”Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”–2 Corinthians 9:15.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 2:1-10 (day five)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)
God = Rich in Mercy (not giving us what we deserve)
God= Great in Love/Grace (giving us what we don’t deserve)
Do “born-again” souls feel and express the life He has given? Do the hearts of His Children celebrate the love He has bestowed? Do the eyes and lips of “the saved” proclaim Thanksgiving for His mercy? Do these attributes of God shape the way we will sing, serve, study, and surrender this week?
Psalm 107:2 “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so”
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 2:1-10 (day four)
Verses 8-9 say, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Boasting is based on pride, so we have here a contrast…grace vs. pride…gift vs. works…God vs. man. Paul is teaching that salvation is all God’s doing. Since the Garden of Eden, man…in his pride…has sought to supplant God with himself. It is the same battle today. We are His workmanship…God made us to respond to Him in good works. But we are not saved by our good works. All too often, we evaluate our good works against the good works of another person. When evaluated against God, where they should be, they are not capable of paying the price of our salvation. Paul is giving the church at Ephesus a course correction in theology…do you think he could be talking to us too?
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 2:1-10 (day three)
“God raised us up with Christ.” When God raised Jesus from the dead, he did not raise a ghost, or a zombie, or a metaphor. He raised a human being—a divine human being, to be sure, but a human being nonetheless. That was new. God’s power had raised the dead before, but never to life everlasting in a renewed physical body. There is now a way for human beings to live as human beings—that is, beings with both a physical body and a spirit—forever. Jesus was the first. And because God the Son lives forever as a resurrected human being, so can all of us who count on Christ. When God raised Jesus, he raised the possibility of eternal life for the entire human race.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 2:1-10 (day two)
The story of the Gospel has been one of incongruous logic. Think about it: rich shall be poor, the meek will inherit, the humble exalted, the last shall be first. It is further proof that God’s ways are not ours. We, who were not only dead in sin, but also objects of his wrath, are also objects of the riches of his mercy. Isn’t grace amazing? How could we possibly go from not being able to escape his wrath to riches without earning it? How could we who were all dead in sin, be brought to fullness? This is the grace and mercy of the blood of Jesus. Unmerited favor indeed.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 2:1-10 (day one)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it the gift of God.” (v 8) 44 years ago, I sat in a living room of an home in Amarillo, Texas. I had been invited by a friend to attend a Bible study for High School students. I had no expectations of a spiritual encounter. I was not conscious of any preparation in my heart for the new birth that I was about to experience. As I listened that night, a young man spoke of a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” and I felt convicted of my need for a savior. By faith, that night, I prayed for Christ to come into my heart. Over the next weeks and years, I experienced new power operating in my life, the very presence of Christ. I was “made alive”. He forgve my sin. He gave me a gift, unearned and impossible to repay.