Made Alive with Christ
2 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
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. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Oneness and Peace in Christ
11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
A Temple for the Lord
19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
Paul continues his reinforcing of the Gospel message, reminding the Ephesians of what was done for them. I love the analogy of being “made alive in Christ”. As Paul put it, we were once dead to our sins. Hopeless. But Christ changed all that and defeated sin. And it was a completely free gift for each one of us.
Let me share a devotional I read recently
WHAT IS A GIFT?
A gift is something that becomes yours when you reach out and take it as your own when it is offered to you. A gift is something that is given because of the generosity and love of the giver. A gift is something to be treasured because of the love of the giver. It is something for which we ought to be thankful for.
The value of a gift is based on the love of the giver, not any monetary value we may place upon it. A gift is given unconditionally and sacrificially. It always costs the giver something. A gift is given for the benefit of the receiver of the gift, to bring joy and happiness to him or her.
THE GIFT OF SALVATION
Salvation is a gift, not a reward for our labors. If we could earn it, it would be what is owed us and not a gift. We are saved by the grace of God, period. It is God’s invitation for us to be embraced in His love. It is God reaching out to us inviting us to enjoy the blessings of living in fellowship with Him. He gave His very life so that we can have eternal life. All we have to do is to accept His gift and enjoy it to the fullest.
Consider the cost of God’s gift of salvation. He sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins. For the only time in eternity, God and His Son weren’t together. On the cross, God even had to turn His back on Jesus and not look at Him because He had our sins on His heart. Jesus suffered not only the horrific agony of dying on the Roman cross, He tasted the horrific guilt and shame of our sins, even though He himself had never sinned. Salvation is the most precious gift man could ever receive.
Have you accepted God’s gift of salvation yet? It is in His hands waiting for you to take hold of it and claim it for your own. He does not withhold His gift from anyone who wants it.
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. Romans 10:9-10