Scattered: Day 14
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
When grandparents haven’t seen a child for months at a time, they really notice how they’ve grown in their absence. For parents who are with their children day in day out, that chance is less apparent. The change is the same but it’s less noticeable.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wanted to help them understand the seismic difference Christ had made in their lives. In doing so, he sought to be an encouragement to the Ephesians to live in the fullness of the life God had called them to and not to sink back to old ways. With this in mind, chapter two contrasts, life before Christ, and life after Christ. Before Christ is described like this:
‘… 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. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath…’
In summary, before Christ we followed the ways of the world, and served the purposes of the devil, putting ourselves and our agendas first.
Ephesians 2:4 is the point of change when Christ enters our lives:
‘But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ…’
Although we used to live like verses 1-3, we are now made alive with Christ! This should be an exciting and noticeable change to our lives. It should change the way we act, think and live. Part of this new life is having a brand new purpose. No longer do we serve our own agendas, but we should recognise that God has plans for each one of us, that he intended from before the creation of the world. As verse 10 says, we are ‘created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’
As we live out the good news of Jesus in our daily lives, let us take encouragement that we are doing the good works that God has prepared for us.
Ps Hannah Hoyle
Location Pastor, Bishop Auckland