Open your bibles to the book of Ephesians Chapter 2 vs. 1-10.
I love this scripture because it gives hope to those who have believed the lie of the enemy that they have done so much wrong they could never be forgiven. For those constantly trying to “earn” salvation to prove themselves, instead of just resting in God’s presence and purpose. And for those who think they have to have it all together before they ever step into a church or even think of trying to find God.
Someone may be reading this who doesn’t have a bible – you can download the bible app as well – but God also is laying it on my heart to type this one out.
By Grace – Through Faith
Chapter 2: 1-10 – And you HE MADE ALIVE, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons and of disobedience, among whom we ALL once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of HIS GREAT LOVE with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, taht in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace, you have been saved by Faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Lessons from today’s scripture:
- Right before this scripture, Paul was praying for these Christians in Ephesus, for Spiritual wisdom. He then goes right into reminding the Ephesians of the reality of personal sin. We must never forget where we came from. Not to make us feel guilty, but rather to fuel our gratitude for what Christ has done for us. Think of it like this – if you were hiking and you slipped and fell and were hanging onto the edge of the cliff for dear life and the Park Ranger happened to see you and got there in time to pull you to safety (saved your life) – that’s something you’d never forget! You’d not only never forget and be eternally grateful, but you’d also tell others of how he saved you from near death. We should view what Jesus has saved us from in that same manner.
- If someone gives you a gift, say for your birthday or Christmas, do you say “That’s a great gift! Now how much do I owe you?” No. Why? Because it’s a gift. The appropriate response is “Thank You.” But many times, after Christians have been given the “Free Gift” they still try to “work their way” to God. Don’t get me wrong, the bible does say “Faith without works is dead” so we do need to share our hope with others, volunteer, serve, etc. But there’s a difference between that and working, serving, volunteering at a frantic pace to try to earn something you’ve already been given! If your sister gave you an amazing, expensive birthday gift – it’s yours! You don’t HAVE to do anything and it’s still yours. BUT because of the love your sister has for you, it makes you WANT to do something nice for her, or for someone else because you recall how it made you feel, and you want someone else to feel that way. It’s the same way with our “relationship” with Jesus.
- This passage of scripture says that God loves us – right in the middle of our mess! He doesn’t wait until we “have it all together” and then love us. He’s watching you through eyes of mercy and love and just waiting for you to say, “I can’t do this anymore on my own – I need you!” And then he doesn’t expect you to be perfect the next day. It’s a journey – one step at a time – one day at a time. Have you ever watched a baby learn to walk? The mom or dad stands in front of them saying “Come on, take a step, take a step”… and with wobbly little legs and a bit of fear they reach out and take that first step. And then the parent steps back a bit and says, “Come on! You got it!” And then another step is taken – and then another – and before you know it, they’re walking! It’s the same way with Jesus. He’s standing in front of you, like a parent before a child, saying “Just take that first step and then just keep your eyes on me and keep walking toward me.” The next thing you know you will be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And then you’ll be running toward Him!
- Verse 10 says “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God has a plan and purpose for each and EVERY one of us! (YES! Even you who is reading this and thinking “but that doesn’t apply to me. I don’t care what you’ve done – it most certainly does apply to you!) He wants us to be in fellowship with Him. We are HIS masterpieces! He wants to heal those broken places and then use the hurt of your past to help others down the road.
- The “heavenly places” means that we have spiritual blessings that are eternal. In Christ we have all the benefits of knowing God. We have salvation, we’re part of the family, forgiveness, wisdom, the gift of the Holy Spirit, power to do God’s will, and the hope of an eternity with Jesus. But because we can have a relationship with Jesus, we can enjoy blessings now. Blessings that will last for an eternity and come from the heavenly realm.
This message today was inspired by a sweet friend who came to visit me yesterday. We spoke of the burden carried for those who have experienced so much trauma that they have no self-worth or self-respect and believe that they are unlovable and unforgiveable. They believe they are not “good enough” to walk through those church doors. You may read that and think “Oh those poor things, I hope they come to church!” when we heard about the trauma they have endured. But the trauma often sticks with a child and manifests in many different ways as they grow into adulthood. Alcohol, drugs, anger, elicit behavior…. When we see those “behaviors” how do we feel? Do we still feel empathy, or do we start to judge? We need to do a heart check and understand that EVERYONE deserves the SAME hope and freedom that you and I have! As my husband often says, the ground is level at the cross. It’s not for “some people” – it’s for EVERYONE! I think that’s why, as Paul mentions here, we should never forget where we came from! We’ve all sinned and fallen short. BUT GOD!
Pray today to see people as Jesus sees them. Ask God to put someone in your path who doesn’t feel worthy enough to seek Jesus, and then to give you the words of encouragement to share with them. Words that plant a seed. Words that bring hope. And then pray for the person put in your path. Pray for them daily that God will move in their lives. Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons we carry.
Happy Wednesday friends! We’re already halfway to the weekend!