“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…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.” – Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-5 (NLT)
The health department shut down a little café in our town due to a number of health code violations. The city police arrested the owner for using the restaurant as a venue to sell illegal drugs.
It didn’t take long before the café re-opened under new management. Since the previous owner’s misdeeds became the stuff of newspaper articles, the new owner made it clear; this café was under new management. The old, shady clientele was not welcome. The questionable food handling was a thing of the past. The new owners went to great lengths to make sure everyone knew this café was not the same; everything was new.
The Old Management
Paul packs many descriptions into the first three verses of chapter 2. Before God’s work in the life of the believer, Paul used the words below to describe, not the drunk in the gutter, not the dirty, terrible sinner; but everyone without Christ. It’s a difficult notion to accept. You probably wouldn’t use these terms to describe yourself before you believed. It’s imperative for the believer to understand how God saw you and me before His work in our lives.
- Lead by the devil
- Bondage to evil desires
- Self-centered interests
- Subject to God’s wrath
Under New Management
These are amazing words! “But God…” Not because of my request to be changed, not because I got tired of chasing my desires, not because I wanted to escape eternity in hell; it wasn’t my idea. God makes the dead spirit alive. The list of words Paul used changes after “But God.”
- God’s masterpiece
- Created for good works
- The object of God’s love, mercy, kindness and grace
- Part of God’s plan
What a difference that two-word transition makes! The Under New Management sign that God places in the life of the believer changes EVERYTHING.
Romanced, Resurrected, Raised
GOD IS IN LOVE WITH YOU! That is an all-caps kind of statement. You were dead but God is so in love with you He gave you life so you could love Him back. God didn’t give you life so He could keep you under His thumb, make you follow a bunch of rules and punish you when you make a mistake. God resurrected your dead spirit and raised you to the best seat in the house to bring glory to Him.
God romanced, resurrected and raised YOU, the believer, not simply so you would go to heaven when you physically die; but to show the world the difference between dead and alive. The Christian life isn’t one of muddling through life here on earth so we can spend eternity in heaven. The Christian life God raised us to, is a determined life that brings glory to God in thanks and gratitude for His grace.
Father, thank You for loving me when I was dead and unable to change. Thank You for changing me and making me alive. Help me live a life that brings glory to You. Help me be an example of life and Your mercy, kindness and grace.