Now you can download Matthew J. Cochran’s Devotions for Disciples: Children of God for free on Noisetrade! This 1-month devotional covers Romans chapter 8 verse by verse and takes a close look at the mystery of being adopted into God’s family as His own children.
Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
If you hadn’t noticed, the Apostle Paul was particularly eager to point out to the Ephesian church in his letter that Christians had been made alive. Though we were once dead spiritually, the Father caused us to have life through the Son.
When something is mentioned this much in one letter, it must be worthy of paying attention to. Of all the blessings God gives, the one that’s most important is life in the Spirit. Without life there would be no other blessings. What good would it do to talk of God’s promises if we were not awakened spiritually to experience them?
The Lord gives many gifts, free of charge, but they begin with Him bringing us out of our spiritually dead status into a new life that allows us to see, hear, and feel Him at work. In His grace He saved us. He kept us from eternal death by making us alive.
Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
God loves you. You’ve heard that before, right? If you’re like me, you’ve heard that statement thousands of times over the course of your lifetime. But the thing is, many of us hear that God loves us and just let that pass over like it’s nothing. There may be nothing more significant, ever.
The Creator of all things LOVES you. He created you because He loves you. He shows you mercy because He loves you. He showers grace upon you because He loves you. The blessings never end.
When you and I were walking as dead men, He made us alive AND adopted us into His family through Christ Jesus. And He did that because of His great love. Don’t ever let that pass by you. Let it sink in. In fact, right here and right now, take some time to really meditate on that. GOD LOVES YOU.
Ephesians 2:3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
The people of this world, those haven’t yet been redeemed by adoption into God’s family, are just walking around like dead men. They have no more control over themselves than a newborn infant does. The are slaves to sin, led around by their own passions, unable to choose what’s right.
Those of us who have been made alive with Christ used to be like those lost souls. We were children of wrath, destined for destruction. That’s the bad part. The good part is that God rescued us and He’s willing to do it for them too. They’re all around us, sheep without a shepherd.
When Jesus looked out on the multitudes who were like sheep without a shepherd, He took pity on them (Matthew 9:36). This should be our response too. We can’t look past the people who surround us that are so in need of what we have. We have a Rescuer, a Redeemer, a Savior. We’ve been made alive even though we didn’t know we were dead. How can we not help the others who are lost find this life?
Ephesians 2:1-2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
What did you do to make yourself be born into the world? Most of us would not argue against the truth that we had nothing to do with our physical birth. It was as out of our control as anything can be. Why do so many of us, then, think that we had anything to do with our own spiritual birth?
When you’re dead, you’re just dead. There’s nothing that a dead thing can do to make itself come to life; that can only be done supernaturally. We were all once dead, even though we walked as someone who was living. We lived and breathed physical life, but spiritually we had no pulse. We could only follow the course of this world, led around by the rest of the walking dead. We were slaves to sin.
That is, until God made us alive. Yes, He made us alive together with Christ, that we might be His people. This is true if we’ve put our trust in Christ and we’ve been adopted into God’s family. Notice all the passive language. We’ve been made alive – passive. We’ve been adopted into the family of God – passive. We were chosen – again, passive.
The dead can’t raise themselves, physically or spiritually. We can no more choose to wake up from spiritual death than we can choose to be born from our mother’s womb. We have ever so much to be thankful for, and spiritual birth is among the greatest gifts we could ever receive. God’s grace is unfathomable.
Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;”
Philippians 2:8 “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
If we are honest with ourselves, being humble is sometimes the hardest thing God has asked us to do. Especially when it inconveniences us, disrupts our lives, and rips us out of our comfort zone. It becomes particularly difficult when God puts people in our lives that push us to our breaking point. It’s during these tough moments that we need to take a step back and look at an example of what it means to not only be humble, but to truly love one another (John 13:34). Who’s example you might say? The author of your salvation.
Though Jesus was a man, He was fully God, yet He chose to humble Himself as a servant and give His life as a ransom for many(Matthew 20:28). Though none of us deserve it, Christ took on our sins and died with them on the cross. No amount of pride, self-ambition, or even fear was going to keep Him from being obedient to this task. Why? Because He loves you more than you will ever know.
Jesus gave us the perfect example of what it means to be humble and what it means to truly love. As you have probably figured out in your own life, you’re not perfect. We’re all going to fall way short of Christ’s example, but that doesn’t mean we don’t push towards it. How do we do that? We fall on our face before The Lord. We ask Him to break our hearts for those who test us. We ask Him to put our pride to death, even when it hurts. We ask Him for the strength to step outside our comfy little worlds and into places where we are vulnerable. Most importantly, we ask Him to help us focus on our selfs less, and others more.
Ephesians 1:22-23 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Who’s your king? Is it some person on this earth who is in authority over others? Is it a President or a CEO? While these people may have power and may lord it over you, there is One who is truly over all things and He doesn’t exist to oppress you. He loves you.
Jesus Christ was placed in specific authority over the Church, even though He rules over all. The Church, that’s all of us who believe, serves as the body of Christ, living out His mission on this earth. His authority over us is not to control us or to hurt us, but to empower us and strengthen us. We’re better with Him in authority than we’d be without Him.
What about you personally? Is Christ head over you? Have you placed yourself under His authority? Are you living for Him or for your own agenda? It is a far better thing to submit to the King of Kings than to chase after our own desires and live as our own gods.
Ephesians 1:21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
Who is the most powerful person you’ve ever known? Think of the most authoritative and influential person you think has ever lived – now multiply that times infinity and you might start to get the picture of just how much higher Jesus is than any other human being.
He’s above all rule, above all authority, above all power, above every dominion on this earth, and He is above every name that is named. Forever. There will never be another person to walk this earth who compares to the God-man. His is the name by which we can/must be saved (Acts 4:12). His name is greater than all others and it is to Him that every knee will bow, on heaven, on earth, and below the earth (Philippians 2:9-10).
This is the one who we have on our side. What could ever oppose us that He can’t handle, that He doesn’t have dominion over? Simple: nothing. He holds all things together (Colossians 1:17), surely He has your life within His sight and He’s capable of taking care of you. Put your trust in Him. He’s the only one worthy of it.
Ephesians 1:20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places
When Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, He eventually went back to His rightful place – seated at the right hand of God the Father. Why does this detail matter to your life or mine though?
The Bible is full of symbolism and not one single symbol goes by without deep meaning. It is significant that Jesus was seated on the right hand of the heavenly Father. It shows that He is equal to the Father – He is God. It shows that He is active, and not passive, in ruling. It shows that all power and authority belonging to God is Christ’s. Still, why does that matter for us?
The thing is, if Jesus had only died for our sins, then we’d still be forgiven, but He didn’t end His work by dying. He rose from death and conquered sin and death. He went back to His place in heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come to dwell in His followers (John 16:7), giving us power and authority (Acts 1:8). He went to be seated on the right hand of the Father to mediate on behalf of you and me (1 Timothy 2:5), acting as our advocate. It matters where Jesus is and what He’s doing right now!
Ephesians 1:19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
What does God’s power mean for you and me as His followers? Does it mean that we should be afraid of Him because He has the power to strike us down? That we should revere Him because He has the power to command even the wind and seas? That we should ask for seemingly impossible things because He is capable of doing them?
The immeasurable greatness of God’s power has many implications for those of us who believe. His endless power guarantees our protection from anything that could possible come against us (Romans 8:31-39). It changes us, from the inside out. It means there is no more death to condemn us because sin and death were conquered by Christ’s work on the cross.
It also means that you and I are capable of far more than we would be on our own, for the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:20-21). We will never be able to fathom the depth of the power of God in this lifetime. He is so incredibly powerful and able that we should simply trust Him with all things. Why do we ever even try to do things on our own when our Father is so powerful?