“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…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.” Ephesians 2: 1,2,4
We can learn a lot about someone by the way they write. Paul again writes one long run on sentence, this one is labeled Ephesians 2: 1-7. What can we deduce about Paul from his penchant for writing lengthy sentences to the churches? What can we learn from his abundant use of vivid adjectives? I visualize someone who is so excited about what he has to say that he just can’t stop himself!
If Paul is excited about something, then I want to get excited about it!
In his last lo-o-o-ong sentence, Paul described the treasured spiritual blessings we possess in Christ. Now he breaks out into a long exclamation of our spiritual position in Christ. He uses contrast to make his point clear and memorable.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins”, contrasted with, “but because of His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ.”
Dead contrasted with living. By nature contrasted with by grace.
He is excited that even though at one time we were on the dead end side of God’s fixed, and settled, indignation against sin, we are now in the grace endowed life of Christ. And lest we see the Divine No apart from the Divine Love, Paul reminds us that God’s love is both “No” and “Yes”. The no to sin, is the yes of love. The Pure Fire That Is God is a fire that destroys and a fire that refines, but it is the same pure fire that does both. Because of His great love for us, our God who is rich in mercy, made us…ALIVE. Look, look at these descriptions. Great love…multitudinous, plenteous. Rich mercy…fully resourced, muchness, abundant.
I was a dead Lazarus. I was without life. But because of His love…a love that weeps over death…I was graced with life. Christ’s resurrection power made mine, in Him.
I was dead. I was the walking dead, a veritable zombie. Then…resurrection powered life through love and mercy. Why?
“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.” V.6
We will be a display of His transcending, surpassing, excelling wealth of grace…the grace of meeting our very real need. An artist puts his very best work on display. An art gallery displays the very best work of the most talented artists. In the eternal exhibit that will be opened so that every being can gaze in adoration of The Artist Creator’s Work…we will be on display as the perfect picture of His grace. And all will applaud His work.
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise His name–I’m fixed upon it–Name of God’s redeeming love.
(Robert Robinson, 1758)
I am breaking out in song…I am excited about what excited Paul!!!
How about you??
Part VI, “Echoes of Encouragement From Ephesians,” series.