Before and After

November 23, 2020

Ephesians 2:1-6

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…

Devotion

In the opening verses of chapter two, Paul draws a contrast between our life before Christ and the new life that is ours as a result of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Before Christ, we were dead in our sins. This means we were separated from God as a result of our sinful nature that we inherited from Adam. Before trusting Christ for our salvation, we lived according to the principles of this world. Pre-Christ, we lived according to the spirit of the age. We conformed to the culture and embraced the lifestyle of the world. Little did we know that we were living for the “prince of the power of the air,” that is Satan. Before Christ, our lives were marked by ignorance and rebellious hearts. We were being disobedient to God and didn’t even know it.

After trusting Christ for our salvation, we were “made alive” by Him who saved us from our fallen state. Because of His great mercy and love, God used the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to grant us a new life in Christ. Through faith in the person and work of Christ, we are “born again” spiritually (John 3:3-8) into God’s eternal family. Now, instead of being objects of God’s wrath, we are now recipients of God’s rich grace, mercy, love, and kindness.

Because of Christ, we have been lifted out of spiritual death and have been granted the right to share in the heavenly blessings of Christ’s resurrection life. When we live lives that are surrendered to the Spirit of God, Satan is powerless to deceive and lead us away from God. So, God has rescued us from the spiritual graveyard. He has “raised us up together, and made us sit together, and made us alive together with Christ.”

Frances Havergal eloquently expresses Paul’s thoughts in a short poem:

Oh, let me know
The power of the resurrection;
Oh, let me show
Thy risen life in calm and clear reflection;
Oh, let me give
Out of gifts thou freely gavest;
Oh, let me live
With life abundantly because thou livest.

Questions to Ponder

Think about your life before and after Christ. How has your life changed as a result of what Christ has done for you? How does it make you feel to know you are a recipient of God’s mercy, grace, love, kindness, and forgiveness? What are you praising God for today?

Prayer Points

  • The Lord is merciful, forgiving, kind, loving, faithful, and patient. Thank the Lord for your salvation. Thank Him for the people who shared the Gospel with you, walked with you, and helped you grow.
  • Pray for your top 3. Top 3 are the top 3 people who we continually bring before the Father in heaven and ask that He would draw them toward Himself. Pray for blinders to be removed, faith to believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and belief that only in Him is there eternal life.
  • Pray for yourself to love your top 3 well. Not trying to get them to accept Christ, but rather being compelled by the love of Jesus Christ. Pray all of us will love our family, church family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. with the love of Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for all those battling COVID right now. Pray they know the Father intimately as Comforter and Healer.

Suggested Prayer
Papa, I cannot stop thanking You for saving me, opening my eyes and heart, and surrounding me with born again believers who love You and shared Jesus with me. Thank You, Lord, that I am richly blessed in You, and I confess I have such a good inheritance! Thank You for life everlasting with You, but also thank You for Your indwelling Spirit and dunamis power (dynamite power of the Holy Spirit) that lives in me. Thank You that I am never alone, abandoned, forgotten, returned, rejected, or exchanged. You love me just as I am because when You look at me You see Your Son, Jesus Christ. I ask right now, Lord, that every single person at Oak Pointe Church would be so overwhelmed with gratitude in their hearts for their salvation that today, by Your Holy Spirit, You would lead us and we would follow You to share the love and joy of Jesus Christ, life everlasting. Oh Father, even in the midst of COVID with so much tension, pain, loss, and economic hardship around us, fix our eyes on You, Lord. Calm our anxious hearts. Come and minister in our midst. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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