"As for you, 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. 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. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." ~Ephesians 2:1-7
Paul compares where we came from to what God has done for us, while we were yet sinners. He, who is rich in mercy, raised us from the dead, and made us alive in Christ Jesus. God goes beyond delivering us from death and forgiving us of our sins—He raised us up with Christ, and seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms. All this is done that He might be glorified, and that, through us, He might demonstrate the riches of his grace and his loving kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. Do you believe He has done this for you? Do you really believe this?
While God can demonstrate His creative power and display His glory in the amazing beauty of His creation, Scriptures tell us that the primary way His loving kindness and the riches of His grace is exhibited is in how He relates and deals with us. Rather than treating us as our sins deserve or repaying us for our iniquities, God forgives us of all our sins, and raises us up in Christ Jesus. He did not just write off the debt and pretend it did not exist, but placed the penalty for our sin on Christ who paid it on our behalf. That alone should be enough to bowl us over completely and bring us to our knees with gratitude and humility. The Great Exchange on the Cross has become our Great Escape.
Like the Prodigal Son, we should be running to God and begging Him to take us in, in light of what He has done. And we would consider ourselves lucky if He lets us come back into His household as a servant. This is because we know that if we were to give our whole life (which is no longer ours) to serve Him, we can never repay Him for His mercy. Never. The debt is simply too big.
But Jesus did not only die to save us from the penalty of sin, but God has seen it fit to elevate us and seat us with Christ. Like the Father of the Prodigal Son, He restores us as His children, and gives us a place at the table! He gives us the full meal deal complete with inheritance as His heirs. The Psalmist provides us with a picture of the richness of God’s grace in Psalm 103: God forgives all your sins; heals all your diseases; redeems your life from the pit; crowns you with love and compassion; satisfies all your desires with good things. He has compassion on us as a father has compassion on His children.
If we should boast, let us boast in His great mercy. May we boast in the fact that He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love! Now that we have been restored to right relationship with God in Christ, let us go forth to freely share the good news of His forgiveness, seek to bring His healing to the broken world around us, and work joyfully with Him for the redemption of all creation.
P.S. Follow along with the continuation of this selected passage with the upcoming blogs of this lenten season here.
Cheryl Wong Miklos
Originally from Malaysia, Cheryl came to Canada in 2005 to pursue her master's degree at Regent College where she now serves as an Admission Counsellor. She is grateful to have met her husband at Redemption Church and that they can continue to be part of the family here. If you love food, or love thinking, talking, reading, watching films about food, she'd like to get to know you. Unfortunately, no photo is available as she prefers not to post personal photos online for privacy and security reasons.