A few years ago I bought a new Bible. It was a One Year Bible. The intent was to read the entire book from beginning to end in one year. Well, as you know, the Bible not a light read.
So, I am still working my way through it. This summer I am participating in a Bible study of Ephesians at Women Who Believe. This book is “new” to me, meaning I haven’t checked off of my list as being read. Not since reading Ecclesiastes have I been so inspired by His Word and want to soak it all it. Let it wash over me.
Last Sunday I talked about Ephesians 2:8, but let’s back up a bit and look at verses 1-13.
Ephesians is the letter from Paul to the believers in Ephesus. The words he wrote to Ephesus still ring true for us today.
As you read these words, imagine this as a letter from Paul to you.
Ephesians 2:1-6 It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
11-13 But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.
*Emphasis on text is mine.