20: An Appraisal of the Present

Lesson 20: An Appraisal of the Present

Ephesians 2:4-10

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (7) that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of your­selves, it is the gift of god (9) not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are His work­manship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

In any kind of progression it is interesting from time to time to stop and think about where we are at this point in our progress. In traveling it is helpful to have mileage signposts along the way (or a map for longer trips.) In flying, the Air Force has a whole group of professionals whose job it is to keep track of the navigation of the mission. In business we use a budget and monthly and yearly financial reports to show us where we are as compared to where we need to be financially.

And the same thing is true spiritually – it is always wise to keep track of “where we are” in our relationship to God. And that is the focus of Ephesians chapter 2. Verses 1 through 3 give us an assessment of the past, and verses 4 through 10 give us an appraisal of the present, and verses 11 through 22 put those two things in perspective by reminding us of an affirmation of the purpose of God in it all.

We have looked at Paul’s “assessment of the past” in our last two studies. We saw that before knowing Christ we were “dead in trespasses and sins.” And we were “dominatedby our peer group” (which Paul referred to as of the course of this world.”) And by “the prince of the power of the air.” (Satan). In short, our position was hopeless as far as having any kind of relationship with God was concerned.

But in the passage to which we come today we are going to see that our present condition is ama­zingly different from our past – if we have accepted Christ as our Savior. So let’s look now at the appraisal of the present which Paul makes in verses 4 through 10. And the first aspect of our present life is that we have a new relationship described in verses 4 through 6.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Out of the background of “death” and “domination” and hopelessness described in verses 1 through 3 comes this beautiful relationship. Look at verse six again.

(6) And raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

So the first thing we should notice here is the provider of the relationship in verse 4

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . .”

 

The provider of this new relationship is none other than God Himself! And no one other than God could do it. We could not do it for ourselves; we were “dead in trespasses and sins” Others could not do it for us; they were as dead as we were – remember the phrase from verse 3 “even as others.” Satan surely couldn’t do it (and wouldn’t do it if he could) – his whole purpose is to make us “children of disobedience.” But look at God’s description in verse 4 and you will see why He did it:

First, because He is “rich in mercy.” Webster’s dictionary defines mercy as “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown to an enemy, offender, or other person in one’s power.” Occasionally we hear about an isolated instance of a person showing mercy, but notice what this verse says: He is rich in mercy.

Think about this: Because God is the creator He sets the standards. Therefore everyone who sins offends God. (Incidentally, this is why the theory of evolution is so popular: it does away with a God who has a right to set standards) (And also incidentally, there is really no basis for deciding what sin is and what is not if there is not an ultimate “standard setter”) And yet God is willing to forgive anyone and everyone who turns to Him through faith in Christ. Now that is “rich” in mercy! (And by the way, “mercy” is mentioned 100 times in the Bible.

But not only is He rich in mercy, but the next statement in verse 4 gives an added dimension: “for His great love with which He loved us.” It is impossible to exercise legitimate mercy without love. Without love the best someone could do would be to say, “Just this once I’m going to let you off the hook – but you’d better never let it happen again!”  Or “You don’t deserve it, but for so- and-so’s sake I’m going to forgive you.” But God exercised unlimited mercy out of His great love. This great love sets our God apart from all of the false gods in the world. He is the only deity who expresses Himself as a loving God. The followers of other gods worship them out of fear and dread.

How long has it been since you have stopped to reflect on the love of God? (Or have you ever?)

You may be reading this today and thinking that no one in this world loves you. In the first place, you’re probably wrong about that, but even if you are right, let me assure you that God does love you. And He demonstrated it by forgiving your sins. And that leads to our next point:

Verse 5 goes even further in this description of God. Notice the depth of His love in verse 5a

Even when we were dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)

You see, not only does God love us, but He loved us “even when we were dead in trespasses and sins”

The best illustration of this point is the one that Paul himself gave in one of his other letters. In Romans 5:6-8. He says,

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would dare to die, (8) But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So that is the provider of this new relationship that we have. But in verse 5b and 6 we find a list of the provisions that are included in the relationship

 

Even when we were dead in trespasses[He]made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised us up together, and made us to sit together, in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Actually there are three provisions here, but they are all intertwined. First, “He made us alive” in verse 5b. Then in verse 6a He “raised us up” and then in verse 6b He “made us sit in heavenly places.” But there is a key element in these three without which we can’t really understand the basic point. And it is a very important point. In verse 5a notice the word “together” – He made us alive “together” with Christ. “Then the same thing is in verse 6 – “and raised us up together in the heavenly places. But the key to it all is in the last phrase of verse 6 – “in Christ Jesus. You see, what this is saying is that when god raised Christ up from the dead He raised us up with Him. And when He seated Him in heaven, He seated us there, too!

There is a more succinct statement of all of this in First Corinthians 12:22:

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (21) for since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection from the dead (22) For as in Adam all die even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that when God created Adam He “breathed into him the breath of “lives” (plural in Hebrew) So that, technically speaking, all the lives of the human race were within Adam (just as all of your children and grandchildren are within your genetic make-up.) And for this reason we were all born sinful, just as Adam was sinful – sin was a part of his genetic make-up –So what this means is that we have the same qualities in the sight of God that Jesus Christ has!  The Apostle John said it this way in his gospel. Look at John 4:17:

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as he is so are we in this world.

How do you think Jesus Christ looks to God? Does he have any sin? Does He need to “prove” Himself in some way?  Is there any question of His acceptability to the Father?

Now look at the last line of I John 4:17 again. “. . . as He is, so are we in this world.”

This is the provision that God has made for us in this new relationship. And it is all “together with” Jesus Christ!”

There is quite a contrast between our past condition – dead in trespasses and sins, living as though God did not exist, or did not matter, and seemingly couldn’t stop living that way, and our present condition – seated at the right hand of God, totally acceptable to God in Christ. It is hard to believe, but that is what the Word of God says in these verses.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior there is no better time than now to accept Him. Its as simple as this: over and over again the Bible says that God loves you and me in spite of our sin. He is not a merciless tyrant just waiting for you to “mess up” and then punish you for it. On the contrary, He created you so that He could love you and be a father to you. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world (including you) that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Prayer is simply a matter of Talking to God as if He were right there in the room with you (which, actually, He is.) Tell him that you know that you have sinned and that you believe that he sent His son into the world die as punishment for your sins. And the promise of God Himself is that you will be give eternal life, starting right now.

Lesson 20: An Appraisal of the Present

Ephesians 2:4-10

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (7) that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of your­selves, it is the gift of god (9) not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are His work­manship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

In any kind of progression it is interesting from time to time to stop and think about where we are at this point in our progress. In traveling it is helpful to have mileage signposts along the way (or a map for longer trips.) In flying, the Air Force has a whole group of professionals whose job it is to keep track of the navigation of the mission. In business we use a budget and monthly and yearly financial reports to show us where we are as compared to where we need to be financially.

And the same thing is true spiritually – it is always wise to keep track of “where we are” in our relationship to God. And that is the focus of Ephesians chapter 2. Verses 1 through 3 give us an assessment of the past, and verses 4 through 10 give us an appraisal of the present, and verses 11 through 22 put those two things in perspective by reminding us of an affirmation of the purpose of God in it all.

We have looked at Paul’s “assessment of the past” in our last two studies. We saw that before knowing Christ we were “dead in trespasses and sins.” And we were “dominatedby our peer group” (which Paul referred to as of the course of this world.”) And by “the prince of the power of the air.” (Satan). In short, our position was hopeless as far as having any kind of relationship with God was concerned.

But in the passage to which we come today we are going to see that our present condition is ama­zingly different from our past – if we have accepted Christ as our Savior. So let’s look now at the appraisal of the present which Paul makes in verses 4 through 10. And the first aspect of our present life is that we have a new relationship described in verses 4 through 6.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Out of the background of “death” and “domination” and hopelessness described in verses 1 through 3 comes this beautiful relationship. Look at verse six again.

(6) And raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

So the first thing we should notice here is the provider of the relationship in verse 4

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . .”

 

The provider of this new relationship is none other than God Himself! And no one other than God could do it. We could not do it for ourselves; we were “dead in trespasses and sins” Others could not do it for us; they were as dead as we were – remember the phrase from verse 3 “even as others.” Satan surely couldn’t do it (and wouldn’t do it if he could) – his whole purpose is to make us “children of disobedience.” But look at God’s description in verse 4 and you will see why He did it:

First, because He is “rich in mercy.” Webster’s dictionary defines mercy as “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown to an enemy, offender, or other person in one’s power.” Occasionally we hear about an isolated instance of a person showing mercy, but notice what this verse says: He is rich in mercy.

Think about this: Because God is the creator He sets the standards. Therefore everyone who sins offends God. (Incidentally, this is why the theory of evolution is so popular: it does away with a God who has a right to set standards) (And also incidentally, there is really no basis for deciding what sin is and what is not if there is not an ultimate “standard setter”) And yet God is willing to forgive anyone and everyone who turns to Him through faith in Christ. Now that is “rich” in mercy! (And by the way, “mercy” is mentioned 100 times in the Bible.

But not only is He rich in mercy, but the next statement in verse 4 gives an added dimension: “for His great love with which He loved us.” It is impossible to exercise legitimate mercy without love. Without love the best someone could do would be to say, “Just this once I’m going to let you off the hook – but you’d better never let it happen again!”  Or “You don’t deserve it, but for so- and-so’s sake I’m going to forgive you.” But God exercised unlimited mercy out of His great love. This great love sets our God apart from all of the false gods in the world. He is the only deity who expresses Himself as a loving God. The followers of other gods worship them out of fear and dread.

How long has it been since you have stopped to reflect on the love of God? (Or have you ever?)

You may be reading this today and thinking that no one in this world loves you. In the first place, you’re probably wrong about that, but even if you are right, let me assure you that God does love you. And He demonstrated it by forgiving your sins. And that leads to our next point:

Verse 5 goes even further in this description of God. Notice the depth of His love in verse 5a

Even when we were dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)

You see, not only does God love us, but He loved us “even when we were dead in trespasses and sins”

The best illustration of this point is the one that Paul himself gave in one of his other letters. In Romans 5:6-8. He says,

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would dare to die, (8) But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So that is the provider of this new relationship that we have. But in verse 5b and 6 we find a list of the provisions that are included in the relationship

 

Even when we were dead in trespasses[He]made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised us up together, and made us to sit together, in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Actually there are three provisions here, but they are all intertwined. First, “He made us alive” in verse 5b. Then in verse 6a He “raised us up” and then in verse 6b He “made us sit in heavenly places.” But there is a key element in these three without which we can’t really understand the basic point. And it is a very important point. In verse 5a notice the word “together” – He made us alive “together” with Christ. “Then the same thing is in verse 6 – “and raised us up together in the heavenly places. But the key to it all is in the last phrase of verse 6 – “in Christ Jesus. You see, what this is saying is that when god raised Christ up from the dead He raised us up with Him. And when He seated Him in heaven, He seated us there, too!

There is a more succinct statement of all of this in First Corinthians 12:22:

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (21) for since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection from the dead (22) For as in Adam all die even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that when God created Adam He “breathed into him the breath of “lives” (plural in Hebrew) So that, technically speaking, all the lives of the human race were within Adam (just as all of your children and grandchildren are within your genetic make-up.) And for this reason we were all born sinful, just as Adam was sinful – sin was a part of his genetic make-up –So what this means is that we have the same qualities in the sight of God that Jesus Christ has!  The Apostle John said it this way in his gospel. Look at John 4:17:

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as he is so are we in this world.

How do you think Jesus Christ looks to God? Does he have any sin? Does He need to “prove” Himself in some way?  Is there any question of His acceptability to the Father?

Now look at the last line of I John 4:17 again. “. . . as He is, so are we in this world.”

This is the provision that God has made for us in this new relationship. And it is all “together with” Jesus Christ!”

There is quite a contrast between our past condition – dead in trespasses and sins, living as though God did not exist, or did not matter, and seemingly couldn’t stop living that way, and our present condition – seated at the right hand of God, totally acceptable to God in Christ. It is hard to believe, but that is what the Word of God says in these verses.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior there is no better time than now to accept Him. Its as simple as this: over and over again the Bible says that God loves you and me in spite of our sin. He is not a merciless tyrant just waiting for you to “mess up” and then punish you for it. On the contrary, He created you so that He could love you and be a father to you. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world (including you) that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Prayer is simply a matter of Talking to God as if He were right there in the room with you (which, actually, He is.) Tell him that you know that you have sinned and that you believe that he sent His son into the world die as punishment for your sins. And the promise of God Himself is that you will be give eternal life, starting right now.

Lesson 20: An Appraisal of the Present

Ephesians 2:4-10

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (7) that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of your­selves, it is the gift of god (9) not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are His work­manship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

In any kind of progression it is interesting from time to time to stop and think about where we are at this point in our progress. In traveling it is helpful to have mileage signposts along the way (or a map for longer trips.) In flying, the Air Force has a whole group of professionals whose job it is to keep track of the navigation of the mission. In business we use a budget and monthly and yearly financial reports to show us where we are as compared to where we need to be financially.

And the same thing is true spiritually – it is always wise to keep track of “where we are” in our relationship to God. And that is the focus of Ephesians chapter 2. Verses 1 through 3 give us an assessment of the past, and verses 4 through 10 give us an appraisal of the present, and verses 11 through 22 put those two things in perspective by reminding us of an affirmation of the purpose of God in it all.

We have looked at Paul’s “assessment of the past” in our last two studies. We saw that before knowing Christ we were “dead in trespasses and sins.” And we were “dominatedby our peer group” (which Paul referred to as of the course of this world.”) And by “the prince of the power of the air.” (Satan). In short, our position was hopeless as far as having any kind of relationship with God was concerned.

But in the passage to which we come today we are going to see that our present condition is ama­zingly different from our past – if we have accepted Christ as our Savior. So let’s look now at the appraisal of the present which Paul makes in verses 4 through 10. And the first aspect of our present life is that we have a new relationship described in verses 4 through 6.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Out of the background of “death” and “domination” and hopelessness described in verses 1 through 3 comes this beautiful relationship. Look at verse six again.

(6) And raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

So the first thing we should notice here is the provider of the relationship in verse 4

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . .”

 

The provider of this new relationship is none other than God Himself! And no one other than God could do it. We could not do it for ourselves; we were “dead in trespasses and sins” Others could not do it for us; they were as dead as we were – remember the phrase from verse 3 “even as others.” Satan surely couldn’t do it (and wouldn’t do it if he could) – his whole purpose is to make us “children of disobedience.” But look at God’s description in verse 4 and you will see why He did it:

First, because He is “rich in mercy.” Webster’s dictionary defines mercy as “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown to an enemy, offender, or other person in one’s power.” Occasionally we hear about an isolated instance of a person showing mercy, but notice what this verse says: He is rich in mercy.

Think about this: Because God is the creator He sets the standards. Therefore everyone who sins offends God. (Incidentally, this is why the theory of evolution is so popular: it does away with a God who has a right to set standards) (And also incidentally, there is really no basis for deciding what sin is and what is not if there is not an ultimate “standard setter”) And yet God is willing to forgive anyone and everyone who turns to Him through faith in Christ. Now that is “rich” in mercy! (And by the way, “mercy” is mentioned 100 times in the Bible.

But not only is He rich in mercy, but the next statement in verse 4 gives an added dimension: “for His great love with which He loved us.” It is impossible to exercise legitimate mercy without love. Without love the best someone could do would be to say, “Just this once I’m going to let you off the hook – but you’d better never let it happen again!”  Or “You don’t deserve it, but for so- and-so’s sake I’m going to forgive you.” But God exercised unlimited mercy out of His great love. This great love sets our God apart from all of the false gods in the world. He is the only deity who expresses Himself as a loving God. The followers of other gods worship them out of fear and dread.

How long has it been since you have stopped to reflect on the love of God? (Or have you ever?)

You may be reading this today and thinking that no one in this world loves you. In the first place, you’re probably wrong about that, but even if you are right, let me assure you that God does love you. And He demonstrated it by forgiving your sins. And that leads to our next point:

Verse 5 goes even further in this description of God. Notice the depth of His love in verse 5a

Even when we were dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)

You see, not only does God love us, but He loved us “even when we were dead in trespasses and sins”

The best illustration of this point is the one that Paul himself gave in one of his other letters. In Romans 5:6-8. He says,

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would dare to die, (8) But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So that is the provider of this new relationship that we have. But in verse 5b and 6 we find a list of the provisions that are included in the relationship

 

Even when we were dead in trespasses[He]made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised us up together, and made us to sit together, in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Actually there are three provisions here, but they are all intertwined. First, “He made us alive” in verse 5b. Then in verse 6a He “raised us up” and then in verse 6b He “made us sit in heavenly places.” But there is a key element in these three without which we can’t really understand the basic point. And it is a very important point. In verse 5a notice the word “together” – He made us alive “together” with Christ. “Then the same thing is in verse 6 – “and raised us up together in the heavenly places. But the key to it all is in the last phrase of verse 6 – “in Christ Jesus. You see, what this is saying is that when god raised Christ up from the dead He raised us up with Him. And when He seated Him in heaven, He seated us there, too!

There is a more succinct statement of all of this in First Corinthians 12:22:

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (21) for since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection from the dead (22) For as in Adam all die even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that when God created Adam He “breathed into him the breath of “lives” (plural in Hebrew) So that, technically speaking, all the lives of the human race were within Adam (just as all of your children and grandchildren are within your genetic make-up.) And for this reason we were all born sinful, just as Adam was sinful – sin was a part of his genetic make-up –So what this means is that we have the same qualities in the sight of God that Jesus Christ has!  The Apostle John said it this way in his gospel. Look at John 4:17:

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as he is so are we in this world.

How do you think Jesus Christ looks to God? Does he have any sin? Does He need to “prove” Himself in some way?  Is there any question of His acceptability to the Father?

Now look at the last line of I John 4:17 again. “. . . as He is, so are we in this world.”

This is the provision that God has made for us in this new relationship. And it is all “together with” Jesus Christ!”

There is quite a contrast between our past condition – dead in trespasses and sins, living as though God did not exist, or did not matter, and seemingly couldn’t stop living that way, and our present condition – seated at the right hand of God, totally acceptable to God in Christ. It is hard to believe, but that is what the Word of God says in these verses.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior there is no better time than now to accept Him. Its as simple as this: over and over again the Bible says that God loves you and me in spite of our sin. He is not a merciless tyrant just waiting for you to “mess up” and then punish you for it. On the contrary, He created you so that He could love you and be a father to you. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world (including you) that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Prayer is simply a matter of Talking to God as if He were right there in the room with you (which, actually, He is.) Tell him that you know that you have sinned and that you believe that he sent His son into the world die as punishment for your sins. And the promise of God Himself is that you will be give eternal life, starting right now.

Lesson 20: An Appraisal of the Present

Ephesians 2:4-10

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (7) that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of your­selves, it is the gift of god (9) not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are His work­manship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

In any kind of progression it is interesting from time to time to stop and think about where we are at this point in our progress. In traveling it is helpful to have mileage signposts along the way (or a map for longer trips.) In flying, the Air Force has a whole group of professionals whose job it is to keep track of the navigation of the mission. In business we use a budget and monthly and yearly financial reports to show us where we are as compared to where we need to be financially.

And the same thing is true spiritually – it is always wise to keep track of “where we are” in our relationship to God. And that is the focus of Ephesians chapter 2. Verses 1 through 3 give us an assessment of the past, and verses 4 through 10 give us an appraisal of the present, and verses 11 through 22 put those two things in perspective by reminding us of an affirmation of the purpose of God in it all.

We have looked at Paul’s “assessment of the past” in our last two studies. We saw that before knowing Christ we were “dead in trespasses and sins.” And we were “dominatedby our peer group” (which Paul referred to as of the course of this world.”) And by “the prince of the power of the air.” (Satan). In short, our position was hopeless as far as having any kind of relationship with God was concerned.

But in the passage to which we come today we are going to see that our present condition is ama­zingly different from our past – if we have accepted Christ as our Savior. So let’s look now at the appraisal of the present which Paul makes in verses 4 through 10. And the first aspect of our present life is that we have a new relationship described in verses 4 through 6.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Out of the background of “death” and “domination” and hopelessness described in verses 1 through 3 comes this beautiful relationship. Look at verse six again.

(6) And raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

So the first thing we should notice here is the provider of the relationship in verse 4

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . .”

 

The provider of this new relationship is none other than God Himself! And no one other than God could do it. We could not do it for ourselves; we were “dead in trespasses and sins” Others could not do it for us; they were as dead as we were – remember the phrase from verse 3 “even as others.” Satan surely couldn’t do it (and wouldn’t do it if he could) – his whole purpose is to make us “children of disobedience.” But look at God’s description in verse 4 and you will see why He did it:

First, because He is “rich in mercy.” Webster’s dictionary defines mercy as “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown to an enemy, offender, or other person in one’s power.” Occasionally we hear about an isolated instance of a person showing mercy, but notice what this verse says: He is rich in mercy.

Think about this: Because God is the creator He sets the standards. Therefore everyone who sins offends God. (Incidentally, this is why the theory of evolution is so popular: it does away with a God who has a right to set standards) (And also incidentally, there is really no basis for deciding what sin is and what is not if there is not an ultimate “standard setter”) And yet God is willing to forgive anyone and everyone who turns to Him through faith in Christ. Now that is “rich” in mercy! (And by the way, “mercy” is mentioned 100 times in the Bible.

But not only is He rich in mercy, but the next statement in verse 4 gives an added dimension: “for His great love with which He loved us.” It is impossible to exercise legitimate mercy without love. Without love the best someone could do would be to say, “Just this once I’m going to let you off the hook – but you’d better never let it happen again!”  Or “You don’t deserve it, but for so- and-so’s sake I’m going to forgive you.” But God exercised unlimited mercy out of His great love. This great love sets our God apart from all of the false gods in the world. He is the only deity who expresses Himself as a loving God. The followers of other gods worship them out of fear and dread.

How long has it been since you have stopped to reflect on the love of God? (Or have you ever?)

You may be reading this today and thinking that no one in this world loves you. In the first place, you’re probably wrong about that, but even if you are right, let me assure you that God does love you. And He demonstrated it by forgiving your sins. And that leads to our next point:

Verse 5 goes even further in this description of God. Notice the depth of His love in verse 5a

Even when we were dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)

You see, not only does God love us, but He loved us “even when we were dead in trespasses and sins”

The best illustration of this point is the one that Paul himself gave in one of his other letters. In Romans 5:6-8. He says,

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would dare to die, (8) But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So that is the provider of this new relationship that we have. But in verse 5b and 6 we find a list of the provisions that are included in the relationship

 

Even when we were dead in trespasses[He]made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised us up together, and made us to sit together, in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Actually there are three provisions here, but they are all intertwined. First, “He made us alive” in verse 5b. Then in verse 6a He “raised us up” and then in verse 6b He “made us sit in heavenly places.” But there is a key element in these three without which we can’t really understand the basic point. And it is a very important point. In verse 5a notice the word “together” – He made us alive “together” with Christ. “Then the same thing is in verse 6 – “and raised us up together in the heavenly places. But the key to it all is in the last phrase of verse 6 – “in Christ Jesus. You see, what this is saying is that when god raised Christ up from the dead He raised us up with Him. And when He seated Him in heaven, He seated us there, too!

There is a more succinct statement of all of this in First Corinthians 12:22:

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (21) for since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection from the dead (22) For as in Adam all die even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that when God created Adam He “breathed into him the breath of “lives” (plural in Hebrew) So that, technically speaking, all the lives of the human race were within Adam (just as all of your children and grandchildren are within your genetic make-up.) And for this reason we were all born sinful, just as Adam was sinful – sin was a part of his genetic make-up –So what this means is that we have the same qualities in the sight of God that Jesus Christ has!  The Apostle John said it this way in his gospel. Look at John 4:17:

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as he is so are we in this world.

How do you think Jesus Christ looks to God? Does he have any sin? Does He need to “prove” Himself in some way?  Is there any question of His acceptability to the Father?

Now look at the last line of I John 4:17 again. “. . . as He is, so are we in this world.”

This is the provision that God has made for us in this new relationship. And it is all “together with” Jesus Christ!”

There is quite a contrast between our past condition – dead in trespasses and sins, living as though God did not exist, or did not matter, and seemingly couldn’t stop living that way, and our present condition – seated at the right hand of God, totally acceptable to God in Christ. It is hard to believe, but that is what the Word of God says in these verses.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior there is no better time than now to accept Him. Its as simple as this: over and over again the Bible says that God loves you and me in spite of our sin. He is not a merciless tyrant just waiting for you to “mess up” and then punish you for it. On the contrary, He created you so that He could love you and be a father to you. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world (including you) that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Prayer is simply a matter of Talking to God as if He were right there in the room with you (which, actually, He is.) Tell him that you know that you have sinned and that you believe that he sent His son into the world die as punishment for your sins. And the promise of God Himself is that you will be give eternal life, starting right now.

Lesson 20: An Appraisal of the Present

Ephesians 2:4-10

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (7) that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of your­selves, it is the gift of god (9) not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are His work­manship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

In any kind of progression it is interesting from time to time to stop and think about where we are at this point in our progress. In traveling it is helpful to have mileage signposts along the way (or a map for longer trips.) In flying, the Air Force has a whole group of professionals whose job it is to keep track of the navigation of the mission. In business we use a budget and monthly and yearly financial reports to show us where we are as compared to where we need to be financially.

And the same thing is true spiritually – it is always wise to keep track of “where we are” in our relationship to God. And that is the focus of Ephesians chapter 2. Verses 1 through 3 give us an assessment of the past, and verses 4 through 10 give us an appraisal of the present, and verses 11 through 22 put those two things in perspective by reminding us of an affirmation of the purpose of God in it all.

We have looked at Paul’s “assessment of the past” in our last two studies. We saw that before knowing Christ we were “dead in trespasses and sins.” And we were “dominatedby our peer group” (which Paul referred to as of the course of this world.”) And by “the prince of the power of the air.” (Satan). In short, our position was hopeless as far as having any kind of relationship with God was concerned.

But in the passage to which we come today we are going to see that our present condition is ama­zingly different from our past – if we have accepted Christ as our Savior. So let’s look now at the appraisal of the present which Paul makes in verses 4 through 10. And the first aspect of our present life is that we have a new relationship described in verses 4 through 6.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Out of the background of “death” and “domination” and hopelessness described in verses 1 through 3 comes this beautiful relationship. Look at verse six again.

(6) And raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

So the first thing we should notice here is the provider of the relationship in verse 4

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . .”

 

The provider of this new relationship is none other than God Himself! And no one other than God could do it. We could not do it for ourselves; we were “dead in trespasses and sins” Others could not do it for us; they were as dead as we were – remember the phrase from verse 3 “even as others.” Satan surely couldn’t do it (and wouldn’t do it if he could) – his whole purpose is to make us “children of disobedience.” But look at God’s description in verse 4 and you will see why He did it:

First, because He is “rich in mercy.” Webster’s dictionary defines mercy as “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown to an enemy, offender, or other person in one’s power.” Occasionally we hear about an isolated instance of a person showing mercy, but notice what this verse says: He is rich in mercy.

Think about this: Because God is the creator He sets the standards. Therefore everyone who sins offends God. (Incidentally, this is why the theory of evolution is so popular: it does away with a God who has a right to set standards) (And also incidentally, there is really no basis for deciding what sin is and what is not if there is not an ultimate “standard setter”) And yet God is willing to forgive anyone and everyone who turns to Him through faith in Christ. Now that is “rich” in mercy! (And by the way, “mercy” is mentioned 100 times in the Bible.

But not only is He rich in mercy, but the next statement in verse 4 gives an added dimension: “for His great love with which He loved us.” It is impossible to exercise legitimate mercy without love. Without love the best someone could do would be to say, “Just this once I’m going to let you off the hook – but you’d better never let it happen again!”  Or “You don’t deserve it, but for so- and-so’s sake I’m going to forgive you.” But God exercised unlimited mercy out of His great love. This great love sets our God apart from all of the false gods in the world. He is the only deity who expresses Himself as a loving God. The followers of other gods worship them out of fear and dread.

How long has it been since you have stopped to reflect on the love of God? (Or have you ever?)

You may be reading this today and thinking that no one in this world loves you. In the first place, you’re probably wrong about that, but even if you are right, let me assure you that God does love you. And He demonstrated it by forgiving your sins. And that leads to our next point:

Verse 5 goes even further in this description of God. Notice the depth of His love in verse 5a

Even when we were dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)

You see, not only does God love us, but He loved us “even when we were dead in trespasses and sins”

The best illustration of this point is the one that Paul himself gave in one of his other letters. In Romans 5:6-8. He says,

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would dare to die, (8) But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So that is the provider of this new relationship that we have. But in verse 5b and 6 we find a list of the provisions that are included in the relationship

 

Even when we were dead in trespasses[He]made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised us up together, and made us to sit together, in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Actually there are three provisions here, but they are all intertwined. First, “He made us alive” in verse 5b. Then in verse 6a He “raised us up” and then in verse 6b He “made us sit in heavenly places.” But there is a key element in these three without which we can’t really understand the basic point. And it is a very important point. In verse 5a notice the word “together” – He made us alive “together” with Christ. “Then the same thing is in verse 6 – “and raised us up together in the heavenly places. But the key to it all is in the last phrase of verse 6 – “in Christ Jesus. You see, what this is saying is that when god raised Christ up from the dead He raised us up with Him. And when He seated Him in heaven, He seated us there, too!

There is a more succinct statement of all of this in First Corinthians 12:22:

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (21) for since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection from the dead (22) For as in Adam all die even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that when God created Adam He “breathed into him the breath of “lives” (plural in Hebrew) So that, technically speaking, all the lives of the human race were within Adam (just as all of your children and grandchildren are within your genetic make-up.) And for this reason we were all born sinful, just as Adam was sinful – sin was a part of his genetic make-up –So what this means is that we have the same qualities in the sight of God that Jesus Christ has!  The Apostle John said it this way in his gospel. Look at John 4:17:

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as he is so are we in this world.

How do you think Jesus Christ looks to God? Does he have any sin? Does He need to “prove” Himself in some way?  Is there any question of His acceptability to the Father?

Now look at the last line of I John 4:17 again. “. . . as He is, so are we in this world.”

This is the provision that God has made for us in this new relationship. And it is all “together with” Jesus Christ!”

There is quite a contrast between our past condition – dead in trespasses and sins, living as though God did not exist, or did not matter, and seemingly couldn’t stop living that way, and our present condition – seated at the right hand of God, totally acceptable to God in Christ. It is hard to believe, but that is what the Word of God says in these verses.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior there is no better time than now to accept Him. Its as simple as this: over and over again the Bible says that God loves you and me in spite of our sin. He is not a merciless tyrant just waiting for you to “mess up” and then punish you for it. On the contrary, He created you so that He could love you and be a father to you. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world (including you) that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Prayer is simply a matter of Talking to God as if He were right there in the room with you (which, actually, He is.) Tell him that you know that you have sinned and that you believe that he sent His son into the world die as punishment for your sins. And the promise of God Himself is that you will be give eternal life, starting right now.

Lesson 20: An Appraisal of the Present

Ephesians 2:4-10

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (7) that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of your­selves, it is the gift of god (9) not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are His work­manship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

In any kind of progression it is interesting from time to time to stop and think about where we are at this point in our progress. In traveling it is helpful to have mileage signposts along the way (or a map for longer trips.) In flying, the Air Force has a whole group of professionals whose job it is to keep track of the navigation of the mission. In business we use a budget and monthly and yearly financial reports to show us where we are as compared to where we need to be financially.

And the same thing is true spiritually – it is always wise to keep track of “where we are” in our relationship to God. And that is the focus of Ephesians chapter 2. Verses 1 through 3 give us an assessment of the past, and verses 4 through 10 give us an appraisal of the present, and verses 11 through 22 put those two things in perspective by reminding us of an affirmation of the purpose of God in it all.

We have looked at Paul’s “assessment of the past” in our last two studies. We saw that before knowing Christ we were “dead in trespasses and sins.” And we were “dominatedby our peer group” (which Paul referred to as of the course of this world.”) And by “the prince of the power of the air.” (Satan). In short, our position was hopeless as far as having any kind of relationship with God was concerned.

But in the passage to which we come today we are going to see that our present condition is ama­zingly different from our past – if we have accepted Christ as our Savior. So let’s look now at the appraisal of the present which Paul makes in verses 4 through 10. And the first aspect of our present life is that we have a new relationship described in verses 4 through 6.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Out of the background of “death” and “domination” and hopelessness described in verses 1 through 3 comes this beautiful relationship. Look at verse six again.

(6) And raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

So the first thing we should notice here is the provider of the relationship in verse 4

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . .”

 

The provider of this new relationship is none other than God Himself! And no one other than God could do it. We could not do it for ourselves; we were “dead in trespasses and sins” Others could not do it for us; they were as dead as we were – remember the phrase from verse 3 “even as others.” Satan surely couldn’t do it (and wouldn’t do it if he could) – his whole purpose is to make us “children of disobedience.” But look at God’s description in verse 4 and you will see why He did it:

First, because He is “rich in mercy.” Webster’s dictionary defines mercy as “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown to an enemy, offender, or other person in one’s power.” Occasionally we hear about an isolated instance of a person showing mercy, but notice what this verse says: He is rich in mercy.

Think about this: Because God is the creator He sets the standards. Therefore everyone who sins offends God. (Incidentally, this is why the theory of evolution is so popular: it does away with a God who has a right to set standards) (And also incidentally, there is really no basis for deciding what sin is and what is not if there is not an ultimate “standard setter”) And yet God is willing to forgive anyone and everyone who turns to Him through faith in Christ. Now that is “rich” in mercy! (And by the way, “mercy” is mentioned 100 times in the Bible.

But not only is He rich in mercy, but the next statement in verse 4 gives an added dimension: “for His great love with which He loved us.” It is impossible to exercise legitimate mercy without love. Without love the best someone could do would be to say, “Just this once I’m going to let you off the hook – but you’d better never let it happen again!”  Or “You don’t deserve it, but for so- and-so’s sake I’m going to forgive you.” But God exercised unlimited mercy out of His great love. This great love sets our God apart from all of the false gods in the world. He is the only deity who expresses Himself as a loving God. The followers of other gods worship them out of fear and dread.

How long has it been since you have stopped to reflect on the love of God? (Or have you ever?)

You may be reading this today and thinking that no one in this world loves you. In the first place, you’re probably wrong about that, but even if you are right, let me assure you that God does love you. And He demonstrated it by forgiving your sins. And that leads to our next point:

Verse 5 goes even further in this description of God. Notice the depth of His love in verse 5a

Even when we were dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)

You see, not only does God love us, but He loved us “even when we were dead in trespasses and sins”

The best illustration of this point is the one that Paul himself gave in one of his other letters. In Romans 5:6-8. He says,

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would dare to die, (8) But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So that is the provider of this new relationship that we have. But in verse 5b and 6 we find a list of the provisions that are included in the relationship

 

Even when we were dead in trespasses[He]made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised us up together, and made us to sit together, in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Actually there are three provisions here, but they are all intertwined. First, “He made us alive” in verse 5b. Then in verse 6a He “raised us up” and then in verse 6b He “made us sit in heavenly places.” But there is a key element in these three without which we can’t really understand the basic point. And it is a very important point. In verse 5a notice the word “together” – He made us alive “together” with Christ. “Then the same thing is in verse 6 – “and raised us up together in the heavenly places. But the key to it all is in the last phrase of verse 6 – “in Christ Jesus. You see, what this is saying is that when god raised Christ up from the dead He raised us up with Him. And when He seated Him in heaven, He seated us there, too!

There is a more succinct statement of all of this in First Corinthians 12:22:

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (21) for since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection from the dead (22) For as in Adam all die even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that when God created Adam He “breathed into him the breath of “lives” (plural in Hebrew) So that, technically speaking, all the lives of the human race were within Adam (just as all of your children and grandchildren are within your genetic make-up.) And for this reason we were all born sinful, just as Adam was sinful – sin was a part of his genetic make-up –So what this means is that we have the same qualities in the sight of God that Jesus Christ has!  The Apostle John said it this way in his gospel. Look at John 4:17:

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as he is so are we in this world.

How do you think Jesus Christ looks to God? Does he have any sin? Does He need to “prove” Himself in some way?  Is there any question of His acceptability to the Father?

Now look at the last line of I John 4:17 again. “. . . as He is, so are we in this world.”

This is the provision that God has made for us in this new relationship. And it is all “together with” Jesus Christ!”

There is quite a contrast between our past condition – dead in trespasses and sins, living as though God did not exist, or did not matter, and seemingly couldn’t stop living that way, and our present condition – seated at the right hand of God, totally acceptable to God in Christ. It is hard to believe, but that is what the Word of God says in these verses.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior there is no better time than now to accept Him. Its as simple as this: over and over again the Bible says that God loves you and me in spite of our sin. He is not a merciless tyrant just waiting for you to “mess up” and then punish you for it. On the contrary, He created you so that He could love you and be a father to you. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world (including you) that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Prayer is simply a matter of Talking to God as if He were right there in the room with you (which, actually, He is.) Tell him that you know that you have sinned and that you believe that he sent His son into the world die as punishment for your sins. And the promise of God Himself is that you will be give eternal life, starting right now.

Lesson 20: An Appraisal of the Present

Ephesians 2:4-10

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (7) that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of your­selves, it is the gift of god (9) not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are His work­manship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

In any kind of progression it is interesting from time to time to stop and think about where we are at this point in our progress. In traveling it is helpful to have mileage signposts along the way (or a map for longer trips.) In flying, the Air Force has a whole group of professionals whose job it is to keep track of the navigation of the mission. In business we use a budget and monthly and yearly financial reports to show us where we are as compared to where we need to be financially.

And the same thing is true spiritually – it is always wise to keep track of “where we are” in our relationship to God. And that is the focus of Ephesians chapter 2. Verses 1 through 3 give us an assessment of the past, and verses 4 through 10 give us an appraisal of the present, and verses 11 through 22 put those two things in perspective by reminding us of an affirmation of the purpose of God in it all.

We have looked at Paul’s “assessment of the past” in our last two studies. We saw that before knowing Christ we were “dead in trespasses and sins.” And we were “dominatedby our peer group” (which Paul referred to as of the course of this world.”) And by “the prince of the power of the air.” (Satan). In short, our position was hopeless as far as having any kind of relationship with God was concerned.

But in the passage to which we come today we are going to see that our present condition is ama­zingly different from our past – if we have accepted Christ as our Savior. So let’s look now at the appraisal of the present which Paul makes in verses 4 through 10. And the first aspect of our present life is that we have a new relationship described in verses 4 through 6.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Out of the background of “death” and “domination” and hopelessness described in verses 1 through 3 comes this beautiful relationship. Look at verse six again.

(6) And raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

So the first thing we should notice here is the provider of the relationship in verse 4

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . .”

 

The provider of this new relationship is none other than God Himself! And no one other than God could do it. We could not do it for ourselves; we were “dead in trespasses and sins” Others could not do it for us; they were as dead as we were – remember the phrase from verse 3 “even as others.” Satan surely couldn’t do it (and wouldn’t do it if he could) – his whole purpose is to make us “children of disobedience.” But look at God’s description in verse 4 and you will see why He did it:

First, because He is “rich in mercy.” Webster’s dictionary defines mercy as “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown to an enemy, offender, or other person in one’s power.” Occasionally we hear about an isolated instance of a person showing mercy, but notice what this verse says: He is rich in mercy.

Think about this: Because God is the creator He sets the standards. Therefore everyone who sins offends God. (Incidentally, this is why the theory of evolution is so popular: it does away with a God who has a right to set standards) (And also incidentally, there is really no basis for deciding what sin is and what is not if there is not an ultimate “standard setter”) And yet God is willing to forgive anyone and everyone who turns to Him through faith in Christ. Now that is “rich” in mercy! (And by the way, “mercy” is mentioned 100 times in the Bible.

But not only is He rich in mercy, but the next statement in verse 4 gives an added dimension: “for His great love with which He loved us.” It is impossible to exercise legitimate mercy without love. Without love the best someone could do would be to say, “Just this once I’m going to let you off the hook – but you’d better never let it happen again!”  Or “You don’t deserve it, but for so- and-so’s sake I’m going to forgive you.” But God exercised unlimited mercy out of His great love. This great love sets our God apart from all of the false gods in the world. He is the only deity who expresses Himself as a loving God. The followers of other gods worship them out of fear and dread.

How long has it been since you have stopped to reflect on the love of God? (Or have you ever?)

You may be reading this today and thinking that no one in this world loves you. In the first place, you’re probably wrong about that, but even if you are right, let me assure you that God does love you. And He demonstrated it by forgiving your sins. And that leads to our next point:

Verse 5 goes even further in this description of God. Notice the depth of His love in verse 5a

Even when we were dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)

You see, not only does God love us, but He loved us “even when we were dead in trespasses and sins”

The best illustration of this point is the one that Paul himself gave in one of his other letters. In Romans 5:6-8. He says,

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would dare to die, (8) But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So that is the provider of this new relationship that we have. But in verse 5b and 6 we find a list of the provisions that are included in the relationship

 

Even when we were dead in trespasses[He]made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised us up together, and made us to sit together, in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Actually there are three provisions here, but they are all intertwined. First, “He made us alive” in verse 5b. Then in verse 6a He “raised us up” and then in verse 6b He “made us sit in heavenly places.” But there is a key element in these three without which we can’t really understand the basic point. And it is a very important point. In verse 5a notice the word “together” – He made us alive “together” with Christ. “Then the same thing is in verse 6 – “and raised us up together in the heavenly places. But the key to it all is in the last phrase of verse 6 – “in Christ Jesus. You see, what this is saying is that when god raised Christ up from the dead He raised us up with Him. And when He seated Him in heaven, He seated us there, too!

There is a more succinct statement of all of this in First Corinthians 12:22:

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (21) for since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection from the dead (22) For as in Adam all die even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that when God created Adam He “breathed into him the breath of “lives” (plural in Hebrew) So that, technically speaking, all the lives of the human race were within Adam (just as all of your children and grandchildren are within your genetic make-up.) And for this reason we were all born sinful, just as Adam was sinful – sin was a part of his genetic make-up –So what this means is that we have the same qualities in the sight of God that Jesus Christ has!  The Apostle John said it this way in his gospel. Look at John 4:17:

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as he is so are we in this world.

How do you think Jesus Christ looks to God? Does he have any sin? Does He need to “prove” Himself in some way?  Is there any question of His acceptability to the Father?

Now look at the last line of I John 4:17 again. “. . . as He is, so are we in this world.”

This is the provision that God has made for us in this new relationship. And it is all “together with” Jesus Christ!”

There is quite a contrast between our past condition – dead in trespasses and sins, living as though God did not exist, or did not matter, and seemingly couldn’t stop living that way, and our present condition – seated at the right hand of God, totally acceptable to God in Christ. It is hard to believe, but that is what the Word of God says in these verses.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior there is no better time than now to accept Him. Its as simple as this: over and over again the Bible says that God loves you and me in spite of our sin. He is not a merciless tyrant just waiting for you to “mess up” and then punish you for it. On the contrary, He created you so that He could love you and be a father to you. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world (including you) that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Prayer is simply a matter of Talking to God as if He were right there in the room with you (which, actually, He is.) Tell him that you know that you have sinned and that you believe that he sent His son into the world die as punishment for your sins. And the promise of God Himself is that you will be give eternal life, starting right now.

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