From Death To Life
“To God be the glory! Great things he has done!” (Frances Van Alstyne, 1820-1915). Make that your prayer today.
Read Ephesians 2:1-10
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.
“Lost in sin? But God is rich in mercy. Under sin’s condemnation? But by grace we are saved” (V. Raymond Edman). Consider that!
The contrasting situations before and after the Exodus can help us as we meditate on today’s description of an even more radical contrast, reaching into the core of our existence and taking us to the heavenly realms with Christ. After the opening “As for you, you were dead,” facing the reality of the grip of sin and the powers of evil, with no mention of God (1-3), there comes the dramatic “but God.” That is followed by several verbs with God as the subject and “us” as the recipient of his actions (4-10; even the passive verbs imply God as the actor).
Previously, Paul had spoken of “the power…the mighty strength” shown when God “raised Christ…and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” (1:19-21). The powerful defeat of Egypt was but a pointer to a greater conquest, but it doesn’t end with Christ. Paul uses three verbs to emphasize our new position “with Christ”: “made us alive with Christ … raised us up with Christ and seated us with him” (2:5,6). If the Exodus was so that “I will gain glory … and the Egyptians will know” (Exod. 14:4), our new life in Christ is “in order that … he might show the incomparable riches of his grace” (7).
Just as the Israelites were freed to “serve God,” to live as free people, a witness to the nations (Deut. 4:32-34), so we are saved “not by works,” but “to do good works” to the glory of God (8-10). It is common to memorize only vs. 8 and 9, cutting off the culmination of v. 10: God has done all this great work in and for us so that we are set free to do the work he created us to do, bringing glory to him (1 Pet. 2:9).
In what way(s) are you doing the good works you were created in Christ to do? Are there others you need to do?
Loving Lord, Your immense mercy and Your incredible love have embraced me. I am stunned into silence when I think of all You have done for me. How great You are.
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