In Ephesians 2, Paul reminds the Christians in Ephesus about the work of God in Christ. There is quite an importance placed on recognizing that we were without hope prior to Christ's coming and subsequent death upon the cross. As we reflect this week on God raising Christ from the dead, we must remember that God's work extends to us even today. We are so blessed by God, and there are moments in our lives when that seems most clear. During this time of social distancing and concern for all those impacted by this pandemic, we need to remember that God is in control. God has always been in control. He allows things to happen and longs for us to put our trust and hope in him even through hardship. I think we would all do well to continually remind ourselves of the reality of God's redemptive work, realizing that he always has our best interest in mind.
You were dead in your trespasses and sins.
Paul says, "you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world..." (Ephesians 2:1-2). Prior to our becoming a follower of Jesus, we spent our time following the ways of the world. We lived lives of disobedience to God, following the passions of the flesh. We were filled with thoughts of only ourselves and our desires. But we were not alone. The rest of humanity is the same. Our human nature was tainted by the actions of one man, not that we are born sinners, but that our tendency is selfishness. Selfishness stands diametrically opposed to the nature of God. Because of all this, we were dead spiritually.
God made you alive with Christ.
Paul says, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ..." (Ephesians 2:4-5). This is where we begin to see the work of God in our spiritual lives. Spiritually we were dead. Even though we had turned our backs on God, he loved us so much that he willingly gave his Son for us (John 3:16). Because of God's mercy, love, and grace we are brought back to life. Because Christ died, rose again to new life and therefore conquered death, we too are raised up with Christ to new life. God made us alive with Christ.
You are God's work of art.
God's creative work is beyond comparison. Paul says, "...we are [God's] workmanship..." (Ephesians 2:10). God is the master craftsman. If you don't believe that just take a look at the human body. How marvelously God constructed our bodies which function remarkably...well, most of the time. We understand that time and illness take their toll on our physical selves. But that does not take away from God's workmanship. So why does Paul bring this into the discussion? He reminds us that we are God's works of art, and he wants us to remember that carry around with us the image of God.
Live a life that displays God's mastery.
Realizing that we are created by God, that we are his works of art, Paul says we were "...created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). Certainly, we ought to be about service to others as we seek to follow the example of Jesus. But is there more to this statement than simply serving? Could there be more to these good works than simply acts of kindness toward others? I am convinced that what Paul is really saying in this passage is that we were dead because of sin, God made us alive in Christ, you are God's work of art, now go and live a life that displays God's mastery. Life a life that brings honor to God. Let's remember God's work and honor him every day.