Looking back for a minute, in chapter one, Paul makes it clear that God is the one who is at work in us: He gives all Spiritual blessings, He chose us, He predestined us for adoption according to His good pleasure, He gives grace, He gives us redemption through His blood & He lavishes His LOVE on us….He also guarantees our inheritance…all for His glory…and ultimately He appointed Jesus over everything .
Now in Chapter 2 Paul transitions from what God did to what we are: Paul makes it clear that the Ephesians—specifically the gentiles (We), were dead in our transgressions and sins when we followed the ways of the world... and Satan, by gratifying our cravings, making us deserving of wrath. Then there is the BUT GOD clause in verse 4… because of his GREAT love for us; He made us alive …when we were dead. By His grace He saved us and raised us, and seated us with Christ—These are all past tense verbs—God did this work & He it is finished! Paul further tells us that He did this (used US!) in order to… show His incomparable GRACE expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Paul explains, in his famous passage, (8&9) that it is by Grace (we) have been Saved, through Faith—not ourselves. Again, God is the one doing it all! WE are His handiwork, to do good works, which God prepared, in advance, for us to work. Paul uses the word “work” three times here in close proximity and makes it clear that God is in the work, not us on our own.
In the second half of this chapter Paul tells his reader that now, knowing how God lavished His love on us, remember this: Even though before we were separate from Christ…and foreigners to the covenants of Israel, without hope & without God in the world, NOW through Christ’s blood we are brought near! God is at work here again; He is our Peace and has brought the two groups together as one, making peace. God used the Cross of Christ to bring His Chosen People of the Hebrew Scriptures together with us to be one body. We are now, together, members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles & prophets with JESUS, himself as the Chief cornerstone. Together our purpose is to be a dwelling place in which God lives by his Spirit.
Am I living like I am God’s temple? Do people—especially my Jewish friends see God living in me enough to want to believe that My Jesus is their Messiah? Or for others who don’t know what they believe, is the Jesus in me attractive enough for them to want Him? Here is where these two parts come together: In Christ, we who were once far off, are brought near. It is hard to understand what a great gift that is without reading & knowing the Old Testament…. It is quite a gift we have been given and one we DO NOT deserve! We were not the chosen people, but now we are His chosen people-- Holy and pleasing to God because of the Work God did on the cross through Jesus Christ our savior. This is humbling for me, knowing that God did all the work. We do nothing on our own BUT GOD loves us so much and wants to reconcile us ALL together with himself, and make us His dwelling place. We should live like we are SAVED—wholly dependent on Him—working hard at the things He has prepared for us and honoring Him with our actions and bodies, so that others will want to have what we have.
God forgive me for taking you for granted. Thank you for reminding me again that you are the one who does it all, and I am NOTHING with out you. Please Lord, give me the strength to diligently do the work you have set out for me to do—with a cheerful heart, so that I might be a blessing, and so that others can know the incomparable riches of Your Great Grace.
Posted on Fri, June 12, 2015
by joel king