Before and After
Heavenly Father, how glad I am that You have made me Your child and showered Your love on me so graciously!
Read EPHESIANS 2:1-10
 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectFor what purpose does Paul say we were created?
Genesis tells how we broke ourselves; Ephesians 2 explains how God mends and transforms us. It is a biblical “before and after” photo, like the ones in beauty magazines or house and garden makeover shows. The “before” shot (1-3) describes our bleak, driven desperateness. This is Paul’s photo, and it is yours and mine! It is a dire state, with dire consequences (1, 3). And just like people in makeover programs, we can’t transform ourselves. Self-help is a non-starter (8, 9). “Dead” people can’t resuscitate themselves (5)!
So why does God step in? Why does he bother with us? Reflect on vs. 4, 5 and 8. Let these truths sink in, because these verses dispel any doubt that God loves us.
What does the “after” photo look like? We were dead; we are now alive (5). We were slaves of evil (2); we are now rulers with Christ (6). It is as though God takes us and superimposes us onto and into Christ. We are utterly and completely transformed. It may not feel like it, but that is how God now sees us! And he wants us to see him more clearly (7). And when we do, there’s work for us to do, also (10).
Pray for yourself, your fellowship and the wider Church that all will identify and do the good works God planned.
Lord, I’m so thankful for Your great grace shown me in Jesus Christ. Help me to live out my identity in him.
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