I’ve been reading Ephesians lately.  It’s a pleasant change from Ezekiel.   Ezekiel was full of sin, disobedience, judgment casketand the wrath of God.  It contained strange visions and bizarre symbolic actions.  Some things were hard to understand and confusing.  When I read scripture in the morning I try to find a phrase or encouraging word that I can meditate on throughout the day.  Those words and phrases were few and far between in Ezekiel.  Thank God for Ephesians!

With Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, I find words or phrases that I can hang my spiritual hat on in almost every verse; certainly in each paragraph.  After a couple weeks of basking in the glory of chapter one, I came to the second chapter.  It starts out with the words, “As for you, you were dead”.

It’s unfortunate, in some ways, that there are chapters in the Bible.  It was not originally written with chapters. When Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, he did not separate his letter into six different chapters.  It was a unified whole. But when we read it, we see chapter division.  Each chapter is intricately connected with the chapter that came before and the chapter that follows.  Many times we miss that connection, because we have a tendency to read the Word of God one chapter at a time; one chapter a day, and we miss important connections.  That initially happened to me upon reading chapter two.  Ephesians two is a well loved chapter to most Christians, being rich with images, words and phrases about salvation, grace and mercy.  I was anxious to reread those beloved verses and practically skipped the first, rather unflattering words of Ephesians two.

I caught myself and went back to the opening words of the chapter.  “As for you, you were dead …”  I thought about the first three words, “As for you” .  I recognized those as transition words.  Now he is talking about “you”.  You Ephesians, or more generally, you believers, or you Christians.  Well what was Paul talking about before, at the end of chapter one?  What was he comparing us to?  I went back and reread the last paragraph of one.  Paul was comparing us to Christ.

We were dead.  What was Christ?  Christ was raised from the dead.  Christ was seated at the right hand of God, seated in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked.  All things were placed under his feet, and appointed as head of the church.  He fills everything in every way.

And who were we?  What were we?  We were dead.  What an incredible contrast the apostle Paul presents between us and Christ!

My meditation phrase for that day was “and you were dead.”  Or more personally, I reminded myself that “I was dead!”  Maybe you want to try out that phrase within your day.  Remind yourself over and over that you were dead.  You were a spiritual corpse, without hope of true life, abundant life, eternal life.  Then go and read the rest of the first paragraph of Ephesians two.  See how great is the impact, how meaningful and significant those following words of Paul become – But God made you alive!

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While we remain in Adam, we are entirely devoid of life; and that regeneration is a new life of the soul, by which it rises from the dead.      John Calvin

 

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