There's a passage of Scripture that moves me to almost-tears virtually every time I hear it. My response is so instantaneous and comes from the very deepest places in me that it catches me off guard almost every single time. I read it again this morning, with the same response, and so thought I would share it with you. Please allow me to walk you through my thought process...
...And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, Boy howdy, yes I was.
...in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, I was in allegiance with the world and with the devil.
...of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. That same spirit is still at work in those who don't know Jesus. Those poor people...
...Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, I absolutely did all of those same evil things; my life was completely about me and my desires.
...and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. I was under God's WRATH. I had earned 'enemy status' in relationship to God, and He was furious at my sin. This makes me tremble...
...But God, Oh HOW I LOVE these words. They are the interjection of God into humanity, of Christ into my life!
...being rich in mercy, Rich. Overflowing. Abundant. ...in MERCY. The withholding of what I have earned (God's wrath!)...
...because of His great love with which He loved us, What kind of love is this? Why would He bestow it on me? How very great it must be indeed!
...even when we were dead in our transgressions, D.E.A.D. Completely unable to help myself. Dead under that wrath, covered in the evidence of my guilt.
...made us alive WHA-HOO! I am ALIVE. Living, not dead. No longer helpless and without hope!
...together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, When Christ was raised, so was I. Though my life had not yet begun, yet it had already been redeemed. I was made alive with Christ!
...and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Where am I now? Well, physically I am on planet earth, awaiting my death or the return of my Savior. But positionally, I am seated with Christ in the heavenlies. That's how fully sure my life is. It is already confirmed as 'checked in' to heaven!
...so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. WHY? Why did God rescue me, give me life, pay my debt? WHY? To show off His grace. The riches of His grace. He demonstrates how full of grace He is through the kindness He showed me in Christ Jesus. When does all of this culminate in bringing Him glory? "In the ages to come..." There is so much more ahead of us! The best really IS yet to come!
...For by grace you have been saved God extended this gift though there was nothing, NOTHING about me that appealed to Him. In fact, everything about me was revolting, so fully steeped in sin was I. His gift was just favor, just an act of generosity on a level the world has never known.
...through faith; The door to heaven swings open on the hinges of faith. Grace draws us to the door and pulls us through!
...and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; It's not about me! NOT me! There is such freedom there! I can't earn it--even if one could, who could actually achieve such a thing? I can't lose it; I never again have to walk in fear for my life! It's not about me! I'm free!
...not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. I think He included this part just to keep me from missing the point when I start to do the good works He prepared in advance for me to do and start to get all "big-head" on Him. Those works are from Him and for Him, but they are NOT about my salvation. If I could earn even a part of my salvation, why would Jesus have had to die?!
(Ephesians 2:1-9, NIV)
I start crying right about the "But God" part. If I was speaking out loud, you'd hear me emphasize the words "rich" and "mercy." We have been given so very much, that words don't really cover it...But Paul made a pretty good start here in Ephesians, and I am so very, very glad!
Feeling the riches of His mercy and grace,
Rejoicing in His love,