During Fall 2017, I taught Calvary Monterey the book of Ephesians. During the series, I also wrote about Ephesians in sixty-plus short, devotionally styled posts. Each Thursday, through 2018, I will release a post. I hope you enjoy. For the entire series, please visit nateholdridge.com/united-for-unity-posts.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4–7).
Up to this point in our passage, Paul has explained to us the utter lostness of humanity (see Ephesians 2:1-3). We were dead. We were followers. We were children of wrath. Without the cross of Jesus Christ, this would have been the end of the human story. Paul writes those beloved words, “But God"—sweet medicine for humanity! Destruction was ours, but God intervened. The story does not turn because of man — as in “but man” — but with God. He interjects Himself into our condition, our brokenness.
Before looking at what God did to intervene, let us look first at why He did it. Paul gives us three major reasons.
First, God worked for humanity because He is “rich in mercy.”
Wrath exists, but so does God’s compassion, and He is steeped in that compassion. When translating the Old Testament Hebrew into Greek, the Greek word used for God’s covenant love is the word used here — mercy. God is committed to human beings. With compassion, He was driven to move.
Second, God worked for humanity “because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses.”
The love of God did not originate with our loveliness, for we were dead in our trespasses and sins. No, it originated from within God. This is good news for our souls, for all of us have moments were aren’t proud of, moments we feel unlovable. Fortunately, God’s love was not a reaction to us, a reaction to our actions, but a reaction to Himself. He is love, so when He looked upon us He was driven and motivated by love. The reason for the cross of Christ is the love of God.
Third, God worked for humanity “so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Believers look forward to the eternal state. We look forward to reunification with those who’ve gone before us. We look forward to being unencumbered by sin. We look forward to perpetual health and the absence of all pain. But — it must be asked — to what does God look forward? He looks forward to pouring out waves of His immeasurable riches of grace in kindness on us eternally. He is looking forward to the day He can unleash His blessings upon us. Think of a moment in your life you sensed the presence of the Spirit strongly. Perhaps it moved you to tears. That moment is but a glimmer of the waves of His kindness and grace we’ll feel eternally in His presence.
Without the mercy and love of God we would still be lost, stuck in our sins. Without God, there is no rescue from our spiritual deadness, our blind following of the world system, and our state as children of wrath. But in Christ we find rescue, for God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son.