He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
As I opened God’s word this morning I had a sense that there was something specific God was leading me into. I didn’t awake with any agenda, but almost that old familiar friend of anticipation… “what do you have for me this morning Father”.
Clearly “with anticipation” is the greatest way to open the bible for it prepares our hearts to receives the riches of wisdom and mercy found in His Living Word.
And there it was, Ephesians 2:8
Ever since that fateful morning in 2011 when glory met my suffering and the direction of my life turned on a dime I have ached for my friends and family to have the same experience. And that desire in the last 3+ years has grown to include everyone in the world who doesn’t know Christ personally yet.
Do you know Christ personally, or just know of Him?
To that end, I have wrestled with the question, was it me that finally said “yes” to Christ’s pursuit of me, or was it Christ who said “enough suffering my child, it is time to live out your destiny?
If it’s the former then the Good News is whenever we surrender our will and life to the care of God, our life will change. If it is the latter, then the timing as to when someone experiences the inheritance predestined for them is up to God’s timing.
I believe Ephesians 2:8 settles the question.
When you believed…
I knew of God my whole life, but it wasn’t until I spent decades trying everything else first (money, career, expensive vacations, cars, sex , drugs, counseling, self-help books and seminars) and was even rewarded in many of those pursuits that I realized none of it was fulfilling, in fact it all fell agonizingly short in the end. I was hopeless and dying inside even though on the outside my life continued to have the appearance of greater successes each year.
On that morning when I reached the end of myself the prayer that I cried out through tears of hopelessness was a prayer of hope. It was an acknowledgement that my scientific mind couldn’t wrap my head around the hundreds of stories found in the bible that seemed impossible, but in that place of suffering the one thing I did believe in that moment is that Christ died on the Cross and rose again and with that one event throughout all of time, I believe in the promise that He will come in to my life and change everything.
In that exact moment I had no idea that anything had changed, but it didn’t take long at all to realize everything had changed. I was drinking beer, wine and/or tequila almost every night for years leading up to that moment, and from that exact moment I have been 100% clean and sober from all drugs and alcohol, worked off over 70lbs, am off all high blood pressure medicine and am no longer pre-diabetic, my relationships are (over time) being miraculously restored and I find incredible joy and purpose in service to God through my church family.
And the reminder in Ephesians 2:8…
And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God
All we have to do is BELIEVE, and He will do the rest.
Are you on the fence today? Are you wrestling with believing that God is big enough to handle your problems, or powerful enough to restore what you’ve lost, or loves you enough to forgive your past sins, or faithful enough to stay with you for eternity?
Our problem is never God not being there, our problem is always us not trusting Him enough. All we are called to do is believe in Him, and He will do the rest.
So where to from here?
Unity in the Body
4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
Father God I thank you for Your Word this morning which draws me toward the greatest of all heart conditions, one of incredible awe and gratitude for what You alone have done with my life which leads me toward a deep assurance, hope and faith in what you will do in the lives of Your chosen children this day. May we all take the stance of great anticipation and open ourselves to be used by You for Your great commission and see each encounter with every person as a Divine Appointment ordained by You through us to reveal Your glory, mercy and grace. May our lives be salt and light that points others to you this day. In Jesus’ name I pray…