Tuesday 17 March 2015

Bible Book:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith” (v. 8)

Ephesians 2:1-10 Tuesday 17 March 2015

Psalm: Psalm 124


It is not entirely certain who wrotetoday's passage. Many people believe that this letter was writtenby Paul to the church that he had founded in Ephesus, on thewestern coast of modern-day Turkey (Acts19). Others, however, argue that small but significantdifferences in language, style and theology indicate that it waswritten by someone very close to Paul, but not the apostle himself.Some would also suggest that this is not a letter to a specificchurch at all, but a sort of sermon. Whatever the truth of thematter, the power of these words to challenge us is undeniable.

The writer speaks of the vital changethat has taken place in the life of all humans because of what Godhas done in Christ. Previously, it was if we were in quicksand or amuddy bog. We could not escape by ourselves - we were so trapped byour own desires and selfishness. The writer personifies these evilforces as "the ruler of the power of the air" (v. 2), which manyunderstand as meaning the devil. God took the initiative, though,and reached out to save us. We did not earn this escape, nordeserve it. It was God's free choice to reach out to us: God's"grace" (vv. 5, 8). However, not only has God saved us from ourinevitable doom and death but has promised to shower the"immeasurable riches of his grace" on us (v. 7). It is as if wewere released from prison for a crime we had knowingly committed,and then given a cheque for a million pounds!

The passage underlines that we arereleased from all the things that imprison us (hatred, envy, etc)solely by God's loving gift of Jesus Christ. However, we must becareful not to believe that this is 'cheap grace' that requiresnothing of us. Elsewhere, the Bible is very clear that this greatlove deserves us to respond in kind, and reflect Christ's love tothe world in all that we say, speak and do. (See, for example, Matthew 18:23-35 or Galatians 5:22-26.)

To Ponder

  • In our society today, what kind of people are trapped by "thedesires of flesh and senses" (v. 3)? How can we help them?
  • Paul often wrote how about God had redeemed or ransomed orsaved us in Christ. In so doing, he was drawing on contemporaryimages and metaphors that were relevant to his original audience.How can you explain the essence of today's passage in language thatyour contemporaries would understand?
  • In what ways can you respond to God's great gift to youtoday?


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