WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – Ephesians 1 illuminates the glorious heights for which you and I were created, chosen, and prepared. The first part of Ephesians 2 laments the depths to which we have fallen. And what was true of the Ephesians has been true of every person since, including Paul. Early in life, we each rejected God as our rightful Lord and began living according to our own desires, the wisdom of the world, and, unknowingly, the influence of Satan. Our downward spiral was predictable:
“You were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously lived according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also” (Eph. 2:1-3).
All was lost. Then came the two most powerful words in the language: BUT GOD!
who is rich in mercy,
because of his great love
that he had for us…” (Eph. 2:4).
Solely through the sacrifice of His Son, God rescued us from the depths of our hopeless fall and “made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5-7).
And upon what was this rich mercy based? Upon some great penance and personal reformation on our part? No! Simply on our entrusting ourselves to our Redeemer: “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do” (Eph. 2:8-10). Yes, even the good works He created us for before we rebelled, He saved for us to do still.
WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – From the beginning, God owed us nothing and gave us everything. We owed Him everything and could give Him nothing – nothing, that is, except ourselves. And that is the very thing we refused to give up. However, the peculiar love with which God loves us was never based upon our response. It was based solely upon His decision to create a people to love for eternity. We are that people.
“Praise God!” is such a small thing to say, but I have nothing better. I can do this, however: I can love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I can give him all my allegiance and attention. I can believe everything He says. I can look, both in His Word and in my circumstances, for those “good works” and start doing them with the strength and guidance He provides.