Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Can You Believe All He's Done For Us? Ephesians 2:11-18

"Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope." (Ephesians 2:11-12)

Can you imagine a life without God? Because I most certainly cannot. I think back on all of the things that I have been through in my life- and believe me, I have a fair few interesting moments in my past that I never could have gotten through without Jesus by my side. When I imagine God, I also imagine hope unending. Without him, just as the verse above says, I would be hopeless. And so would the rest of the world.

But there's good news:

"But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ." (2:13)

We are not, thankfully, separate from God. We don't have to do this life without him. If you have accepted the gift that Jesus has given you by dying on the cross for ALL of our sins, then you are already filled with his love and hope.

If you have not accepted that gift, now is a great time to do it. You don't have to do anything super special or go through any kind of ritual to have God by your side. Just talk to him right here and right now. Tell him that you want him in your life. Tell him that you've tried it your way and you know it isn't working. Tell him that you need his unending gift of grace and love in your life. Ask him to join you in your life. Tell him you want him to do life with you and that you freely accept the gift of his son dying on the cross for your sins.

There is nothing that you have in your past that would keep you from him. It doesn't matter what you've done or are currently doing in your life. He wants to be a part of it! He wants you to join his family and be his son or daughter. So what are you waiting for? Look at all he has done for us:

"For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us." (2:14-18)

Jesus brought us peace. And not just any peace. Not the temporary silence of a crying baby falling asleep. Not the quiet of a loud and demanding boss on vacation. Not the silence of the house as you take in your new life as a divorced spouse.

Jesus brought perfect peace to us. It's a peace that transcends all understanding. It's the calm you feel despite the crazy all around you. It's the knowledge of knowing that you don't have to do life alone anymore. It's the hope that someone bigger and stronger than you is taking on the tough stuff in your life. It's that light at the end of the tunnel.

In these verses, Paul talks about Jesus bringing together Jews and Gentiles. We can apply that to the here and now too. Jesus is fully able and willing to bring together fighting spouses, lost children running from parents, friends who can't seem to agree on anything, enemies who hate each other. Everyone. We are all joined together as one body in Christ. Isn't that an amazing thought?

Look at verse 18 again with me:

"Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us."

I love this. We don't have to wait in line. We don't have to compete for the affection of our heavenly Father. We can all come at the same time. We can lay our junk at his feet and rest in his arms knowing that he is taking care of us. We are safe and secure in his arms no matter what happens here on Earth. I find this verse incredibly reassuring.

When I read it, I can't help but imagine my children coming around their dad on the weekends. There are times that the younger two fight for his affection. They both want to sit beside him. They both have ideas of things that they want to do with him and they compete for his attention. Shaun does his best but he is only human. He can't possibly be two places at the same time. But God can. God can do what our earthly fathers never could. And I am so thankful for that.

I pray today that if anyone reading this doesn't yet know Jesus, that they choose today to take that step! I promise that if you really get to know him, you will love him!

Be blessed today and don't forget to be a blessing.  

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