At one time you were like a dead person because of the things you did wrong and your offenses against God. 2 You used to live like people of this world. You followed the rule of a destructive spiritual power. This is the spirit of disobedience to God’s will that is now at work in persons whose lives are characterized by disobedience. 3 At one time you were like those persons. All of you used to do whatever felt good and whatever you thought you wanted so that you were children headed for punishment just like everyone else.
4–5 However, God is rich in mercy. He brought us to life with Christ while we were dead as a result of those things that we did wrong. He did this because of the great love that he has for us. You are saved by God’s grace! 6 And God raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus. 7 God did this to show future generations the greatness of his grace by the goodness that God has shown us in Christ Jesus.
8 You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. 9 It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. 10 Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives. (Ephesians 2:1–10)
Good Day Family,
The Way We Live
One thing about Paul’s letters (like the one above) is that he did not pull any punches. He didn’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings. Imagine how he routinely called grown folks children and called out their spiritual immaturity and their disobedience. In the Christian church, we’ve begun to shift away from such harsh language, and I think that has many positive results. We are reminded that God does not condemn, but on the other hand, we’ve lost sight of the truth that God does have expectations for us. God does have a will that we should follow as opposed to the will and the ways of the world.
We aren’t supposed to focus on what feels good and what we wanted above all else. We’re called to follow the way of Jesus. In fact, the early church referred to themselves as Followers of the Way. This practice partially shielded them from persecution, which we do not need to worry about. Christians in America do not experience persecution as the early disciples did or people in other parts of the world or even as other faiths do in America…too often at the hands and words of Christians. What is that witness? How does that help spread faith in the God who is love and extends love to all creation?
Our lives are gifts…given to us by a generous God. We get to enjoy its privileges, but we also bear a responsibility to live in a way that gives God glory, that honors God’s creation, and participates in God’s rule and reign on earth as it is in heaven.
Following The Way,