Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Purpose of New Life (Ephesians 2:1-10)

"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 2:4–5)

As we begin the second chapter of Ephesians, we find Paul contrasting two kinds of life. Our former life, he says, consisted of a walk down a path to destruction. In fact, he says, this “life” was really a form of death. Though we seemed to be alive, we were really dead in sins and transgressions. We followed the desires of our sinful natures, and were under God’s wrathful sentence of eternal death.
But, he says, now God has given us another kind of life. We have been made alive in and with Jesus Christ. We are united to His death and resurrection, and we now live lives characterized by the power of His resurrection.

In the Bible, life is associated with strength and power. To have true life is to have the ability to do what needs to be done, to effect changes, to serve the living God. One of the paradoxes of history is that the unbeliever seems to have much power and strength, though he is really dead, while the believer often seems to live in weakness and suffering, though he is really alive and powerful (2 Corinthians 12:9). Our new life is, in a sense, hidden in Christ. What is the nature of this hidden life? The next verses in Ephesians tell us.

God gives us this life that we may use it to serve Him. In fact, not only have we been resurrected with Christ, we have also been taken up into heaven with Him and are seated with Him next to the father (Ephesians 2:6). It is impossible to get any closer to the Father than Jesus is, and in union with Him, that’s how close we are!

Practically speaking, this means that through prayer we have access to the throne of God, and from this heavenly position we have the ability to control history. That is, God graciously seeks our counsel, and we give it; and if He decides we are right, He acts as we suggest. Of course, ultimately God knows all that will happen and is fully in control, but He chooses to make us junior partners with Him. The new life we have been given, thus, is closely related to prayer and our work of secretly ruling and changing the world behind the scenes.

Today’s lesson again focuses on prayer. Look at Ephesians 1:15–23, which I am not covering in these daily lessons. Notice the great things said about Jesus in this paragraph (1:20–21), which are applied to us (2:6–7). Read this paragraph and use it as a prayer guide today.