Archives For grace

ephesians-identity

Ephesians 2: A New Life In Christ

To understand our new identity, we’ve got to uncover our old identity. We’ve got to dig deeper into who we were, beyond our ancestry and family of origin, to see the ugly truth. Paul is going to show us an unfiltered picture of who we really are.

– Tony Merida

Before we can understand just how much God has done for us, we must understand where we have come from or better yet, where we were without Christ.

Chapter 2 of the book of Ephesians begins with four very strong words … “And you were dead…”. Every human being that is a son or daughter of Adam (which is pretty much everyone!) entered the world spiritually dead. We have no inclination toward God and no ability to please Him (Romans 8:8). As Merida puts it, “Apart from Christ, we are spiritually dead”.

ephesians-2

We all know the first line of Amazing Grace:  “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me”. That is who we are – dead wretches!

Just as verse 1 starts with four strong words, verse 4 starts with two of the sweetest words found in the bible – BUT GOD!

Just when things look the most desolate, Paul utters the greatest short phrase in the history of human speech: “But God!” – ESV Study Notes

Ephesians 2:4-5: But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.

It is said that grace is “God’s unmerited favor to us”! Praise the Lord for His grace! This “grace” has been given to each of us who have transgressed His law and have sinned against Him. Again, this is everyone!

Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Tony Merida goes on in his teaching of Ephesians to say:

Works matter to the Christian, but we’re not working for salvation; we’re working from salvation. The words for and from are subtle but incredibly important.

It is vital to understand that what God has to offer us is a gift and not a prize! A gift is something that we are given – no strings attached; no “if you do this, then I’ll do that”. Whereas a prize is something that can be obtained or worked for. A prize is given to those people who have accomplished a set of guidelines or list of things to do. If we could do something to work for our salvation then the gospel would be in vain.

christianity-is-not-a-do-gospel-it-is-a-done-gospelMerida points out that the difference in Christianity and a lot of other so-called religions is that their’s is a “do” religion whereas Christianity is a “done” religion. Jesus has done everything for us and it is only through Him. He went to the cross. He shed His blood for me. He died for the sin of mankind. When Jesus uttered the words “It Is Finished” on the cross of Calvary, there was nothing else that needed to be done.

Remember in Ephesians: Your Identity In Christ – Part 1 where we talked about the phrase “In Him”. This is the only place that salvation can be found. Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ”. John tells us in John 14: 6 that Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

Because Jesus has become our substitute, we now have life in Him. Ephesians should compel us to hope and to understand that no one is beyond the reach of God’s amazing grace. – Tony Merida

Let me leave you with these thoughts on our new identity in Christ. Tony refers to these as the “formerly … but now” expressions:

  • We were dead in sin, but now we “are alive together with Christ” (2:4)
  • We were separated from Christ, but now in Christ Jesus, we ” have been brought near by the blood” (2:13)
  • We were foreigners, “but now we are fellow citizens” (2:19)

Who are you in Christ? You are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works!

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, my God my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns, unending love – Amazing Grace!

Points To Ponder

The Gospel According To Cats & Dogs

From the Gospel Coalition

The gospel according to cats offers no grace. The gospels according to dogs expects no obedience. Take your pick: a Christianity without mercy or a Christianity without repentance. Neither are truly Christian.

Read more…

Red Heifers, Dirty Laundry, & Ceremonial Uncleanness

By Drew Tankersley

The great American novelist, Nathaniel Hawthorne, most known for His work, The Scarlet Letter, as his wife was away on a journey once wrote,

“The washing of dishes does seem to me the most absurd and unsatisfactory business that I ever undertook. If, when once washed, they would remain clean for ever and ever (which they ought in all reason to do, considering how much trouble it is), there would be less occasion to grumble; but no sooner is it done, than it requires to be done again. On the whole, I have come to the resolution not to use more than one dish at each meal.”

Read more…

COMMENTARY: What Every Christian Should Consider in a National Election

By Dr. Mac Brunson (Christian Examiner)

“As a nation, we stand at a crossroads. This election requires every citizen to be alert, informed, and prepared to vote. We have not seen an election this important in more than 100 years – perhaps not since the election of Abraham Lincoln.”

Read more…

3 Ways Spurgeon Conquered His Secret Sin

By Christian George

For the past century, Charles Spurgeon’s strengths have often overshadowed his weaknesses. His biographers are largely to blame, painting the preacher as a superhero incapable of vice or vulnerability.

Yet warts reveal as much as dimples do.

Spurgeon had both. He experienced seasons of success, but he also harbored hidden faults — secret sins that sought to undermine his ministry.

Read more…


I would love to hear your comments about these Points To Ponders. Or even let me know of an article that you have found interesting.

 

Quotes from my readings banner

“Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe; All who are longing to see His face, will you this moment His grace receive?”

That is a beautiful line in the song “Grace Greater Than All My Sin”, but do we believe it? Do we live our lives like we understand that?

David Platt writes the following in his book Follow Me:

The only reason we can seek Christ in our sinfulness is because Christ has sought us as our Savior. The glory of the gospel is that the God of the universe reaches beyond the harshness of our hearts, overcoming our selfish resistance and sinful rebellion, and He saves us from ourselves. Such mercy magnifies God’s pursuit of us and crucifies our pride before Him.

To be a Christian is to be loved by God, pursued by God, and found by God. To be a Christian is to realize that in your sin, you were separated from God’s presence, and you deserved nothing but God’s wrath. Yet despite your darkness and in your deadness, His light shone on you and His voice spoke to you, inviting you for follow Him. His majesty captivated your soul and His mercy covered your sin, and by his death he brought you life.

Do you know for sure that you are His child, not ultimately because of any good you have done – any prayers you have prayed, steps you have taken, or boxes you have checked – but solely because of the grace HE has given?

Ephesians 2:8 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

Points to Ponder:

  1. If you have experienced God’s grace, what does it mean to you?
  2. Do you believe that your current or past life is beyond the grace of God?
  3. Are you trying to earn your salvation or are you accepting God’s amazing grace?

Today I came across a great devotional from Eddie Carswell. He is the lead singer for the christian group Newsong. He was talking about the verse in Hebrews 4:16 that says,

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

He went on to say that because Jesus, as a man, was tempted in every way just as we are – He knows the everyday problems that we go through. Because of this, He understands what we are going through and that is why He is telling us to come to Him  – but come to Him with boldness, asking for mercy and grace to help us when we need it the most.

Eddie went on to tell about Newsong’s road pastor, Bobby Joiner, and how he used this little saying to get this verse across to the guys in the group. His saying was this – “going steady with EDDY”. Here is what he meant:

  • Early – If possible, get up early in the morning before the demands of the day overtake you and give your first minutes or so to God in prayer.
  • Daily – We need daily food from the Father. Have a daily plan to feast on the Word of God. It provides us with nutrition for our spirits.
  • Diligently – You get out of your prayer time with God what you put into it. Put forth maximum effort to diligently focus on God and Him alone.
  • Yielding – Be ready to say YES to God. Don’t let any fine print be in the contract of your obedience to God.

Make God’s Word a priority in your life today! Make God’s Word a priority in your life EVERYDAY! Let’s begin to pray like we have never prayed before and let’s make praying a priority! What an incredible thought it is that God, the creature of the universe, wants to talk to me and has time, mercy and grace just for me!

Are you being BOLD?