Sunday, March 23, 2008

New Life in Christ

We Now Have Life

Ephesians 2

1In the past you were spiritually dead because of your sins and the things you
did against God. 2Yes, in the past you lived the way the world lives, following
the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now
working in those who refuse to obey God. 3In the past all of us lived like them,
trying to please our sinful selves and doing all the things our bodies and minds
wanted. We should have suffered God’s anger because of the way we were. We
were the same as all other people.

4But God’s mercy is great, and he loved us very much. 5Though we were
spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life
with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace. 6And he raised us up with
Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens. He did this for those in Christ
Jesus 7so that for all future time he could show the very great riches of his grace
by being kind to us in Christ Jesus. 8I mean that you have been saved by grace
through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. 9It was
not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it. 10God has made us
what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned
in advance for us to live our lives doing.

One in Christ

11You were not born Jewish. You are the people the Jews call
“uncircumcised.” Those who call you “uncircumcised” call themselves
“circumcised.” (Their circumcision is only something they themselves do on their
bodies.) 12Remember that in the past you were without Christ. You were not
citizens of Israel, and you had no part in the agreements with the promise that
God made to his people. You had no hope, and you did not know God. 13But now
in Christ Jesus, you who were far away from God are brought near through the
blood of Christ’s death. 14Christ himself is our peace. He made both Jewish
people and those who are not Jews one people. They were separated as if there
were a wall between them, but Christ broke down that wall of hate by giving his
own body. 15The Jewish law had many commands and rules, but Christ ended
that law. His purpose was to make the two groups of people become one new
people in him and in this way make peace. 16It was also Christ’s purpose to end
the hatred between the two groups, to make them into one body, and to bring
them back to God. Christ did all this with his death on the cross. 17Christ came
and preached peace to you who were far away from God, and to those who were
near to God. 18Yes, it is through Christ we all have the right to come to the Father
in one Spirit.

19Now you who are not Jewish are not foreigners or strangers any longer, but
are citizens together with God’s holy people. You belong to God’s family. 20You
are like a building that was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.
Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone in that building, 21and that
whole building is joined together in Christ. He makes it grow and become a holy
temple in the Lord. 22And in Christ you, too, are being built together with the
Jews into a place where God lives through the Spirit.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version


The Ephesians forgot what God did to save them and to make them a part of his Body.


God's mercy plucks us from the destruction of our countless sins and places us in Jesus Christ's righteousness.


When I read a verse like Ephesians 2:4, I feel I have discovered God's roadblock on one's way to hell - [But God's mercy is great.] He is so rich in mercy that none need perish, but individuals must come to God in his appointed way. I adore the mercy that had loving-kindness, pity and compassion on me....

Let me give you a modern illustration of mercy in action. One day, a Christian named Paul went into a coffee shop, sat on a stool, and ordered his lunch. When he began speaking to the man next to him, he realized that Fred was in deep spiritual need. After sharing the gospel with him, Paul arranged to meet him again. It was at the second meeting that Fred was converted. Then Paul began to disciple him on a one-on one basis, and Fred grew in grace and in knowledge of the Lord Jesus. But it wasn't long before Fred learned that he had a life-threatening disease. He had to go to a convalescent hospital that was sadly substandard. Paul visited him regularly, bathed him, changed the sheets, and did other chores that the staff should have been doing. The night Fred died; Paul was holding him in his arms, whispering verses of Scripture in his ear. That's mercy. It's a wonderful thing to see that Godlike quality in a human life. (From Alone in Majesty by William MacDonald)


Are there some people around you who slip through the cracks unnoticed? Is there a lonely widow? An insecure junior high student? A struggling single mother? Pay these people a visit-bring flowers or another gift; invest some time in their lives.


Mercy - Matthew 5:7; Luke 6:36; 2 Peter 3:9.

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