Posts tagged with: Ephesians

Kennedy children visit the Oval Office in 1962

Amazing Access

According to Ephesians 2, we have amazing access to God the Father. Through Christ, we are free to approach God just as we are, without pretense or pretending, without feigning or fear. As it says in Hebrews 4, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” What an invitation!

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A cut-out ornament of a dove

Being People of Peace

Jesus was, to be sure, a unique preacher of peace. He alone forged lasting and pervasive peace through his death on the cross. As followers of Jesus, we too have been called into the ministry of preaching peace, or, as Jesus puts it, peacemaking (Matthew 5:9). In our words and deeds, in our desires and intentions, we are to be people who commend, embody, and foster the peace of Christ, the peace that is full of justice and flourishing. We are to do this, not only in church and family, but also in every place God sends us: in our offices and shops, in our classrooms and boardrooms, in our neighborhoods and nations.

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Two women joining their hands together to form a heart, with the sunset behind them

More on Why Christ Died

Remember that reconciliation is not just deciding to get along with people in the future. True reconciliation through Christ addresses the fundamental problem that divides us, namely, our sin. As we experience genuine reconciliation with others, we will necessarily deal with our sin and its implications. We will seek forgiveness and, where needed, restitution. We will strive to experience the peace of God in which justice and mercy are essential facets.

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Two men bumping fists on a subway car

Why Did Christ Die?

According to Ephesians 2, the hostility-ending, peace-making work of Christ isn’t incidental. It’s not extra credit that comes after personal salvation. Rather, it’s central to the central work of Christ, his death and resurrection. We will not fully experience the power of the cross until we have been reconciled with God by grace through faith, and with each other by the unifying sacrifice of Christ.

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A white woman and African American man holding hands

Breaking Down the Walls of Separation

Jesus Christ died to demolish the walls that separate us from one another. Shouldn’t this keep us from building new walls of separation today? Shouldn’t we be committed to tearing down the walls that keep us apart today?

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A brick wall partially knocked down

Tear Down That Wall!

In 1987, the American President Ronald Reagan issued a challenge to the leader of the Soviet Union: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” That wall, of course, was the Berlin Wall that divided Germany into East and West. Almost 2,000 years earlier, Jesus tore down a wall. This was the “wall” that divided Jesus and Gentiles, and, by implication all hostile peoples. By tearing down the wall, Jesus made reconciliation possible. God’s peace and justice would prevail.

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A group of people holding hands in prayer

Peace in a Person

If we want to be people of pervasive peace, if we desire to know the peace of God that passes understanding, if we want to experience the end of hostile injustice, if we want to be peacemakers in our part of the world, then we need Jesus Christ. He is, indeed, our peace. Not only will he give us the gift of peace, but also he will use us to infuse his peace into our world.

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A Lego figure of Superman standing on a miniature cliff

Not Your Average Superhero

Superheroes save us by using their super-human powers. Jesus saves us, but not in this way. He is not your average superhero. Rather, Jesus sacrifices his life on the cross, shedding his blood so that we might be reconciled to God and to each other. Through Christ we can know the fullness of peace: peace with God and peace among people.

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A hand reaching up seen against the background of an arena

Atheists in the Bible

According to Ephesians 2, apart from Jesus Christ we are without hope and without God in the world. But through Christ we can know God intimately. And through God we can have hope even in times that feel hopeless.

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A group of people hiking along a mountain path

Knowing God in Community

Most Americans assume that we can know God in any way we choose. We don’t like the idea that spirituality is best when shared with others. Yet, biblical revelation shows that we will experience God most deeply and truly when we share this experience with others. Community is essential to mature, vibrant faith.

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Two people sitting on a Japanese subway car

Excluded from the Start

It hurts to feel left out, to be excluded. Exclusion from a community impoverishes both those excluded and the community that chooses to leave people out. In the second half of Ephesians, we learn that Christ breaks down the walls of hostility that promote exclusion. Today, we need the inclusive, reconciling love and peace of Christ—now more than ever.

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People bumping fists over a table

Another Great Omission

The first half of Ephesians 2 proclaims that we are saved by grace received in faith. The second half of Ephesians reveals additional dimensions of our salvation. As God deals with the problem of our sin, not only are we restored in our relationship with him, but also we are restored in our relationships with each other. The death of Christ breaks down the wall of hostility that separates us from each other, even as it takes away the sin that separates us from God.

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What are Your Good Works?

Ephesians 2:10 teaches us to see our whole life as an interconnected series of good works offered to God in response to his grace. We walk in the good works God has planned for us in our offices and classrooms, in our studios and kitchens, when we’re at work and at home, at church and in our neighborhood. As we grow in our faith, we will learn to do everything under the authority of Christ and for his purposes.

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A larger child holding an umbrella over a smaller child

Saved FOR Good Works

According to Ephesians 2, we are not saved by our works. We are saved by God’s grace, received in faith. But, we are saved for good works that God has prepared for us. God’s grace saves us into a whole new way of living, in which we are deeply engaged in God’s purposes in the world.

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People painting a mural of human faces on the ground

God’s Masterpiece

According to Ephesians 2:10, you are God’s handiwork, even God’s masterpiece. This is true not because of how healthy you are, how accomplished you are, or how moral you are. You are a masterpiece because of what God has done in your life by his grace. You have been newly and wonderfully created in Christ so that you might live in relationship with God and for his glory. God has great plans for you!

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