Monday, March 7, 2011

We Need the "Before" of the "Before and After" (Ephesians 2:1-7)

It seems that we have slowly succeeded in distorting the Gospel message. It is not as though we set out to misinform people about the message God has entrusted us to share. Perhaps we have slowly begun to believe the half-truth of the lie we are sharing. In any case, we need to recover. Ephesians 1:1-7 is just one example of the missing aspect of the message of hope.

You see, we are really accomplished at selling the product we have developed. We have our prepared spiel. We train in the art of engaging people. We tell them all about the God of love. We emphasize the free gift that awaits people. What we do not do a terribly good job of is communicating the real cost, or the real need that people have for the message that we are offering.

Ephesians clarifies the second half of this missing information quite well. What is it that required God to send His Son to die for the world? Why should anyone care to hear this information? Because we are in very bad shape.

We are under the influence, not only of a very evil spiritual being, but of a system of culture across the world that drives us away from being the sort of people we were created to be. We are at the mercy of impulses that we cannot fight, even though we readily recognize that many of these impulses are harmful and destructive. In short, we have all actively earned the wrath of the Power that set up the universe and He is not just a God of love. He is a just and sovereign God who will not tolerate things the way they have become under our exercise of free will.

Thankfully, the message does include the fact that God is love. He has chosen, at great cost, to provide a way clear back into a relationship with Him so that His grace will be demonstrated in power in the days to come. However, the people who want to have that grace applied to them do need to understand that they desperately need it.

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