Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ephesians 2: Before and After Christ


Eph 2:1-10 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—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. 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. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

In this chapter, Paul describes clearly the "before" and "after" spiritual status of believers. So what were our spiritual conditions and status before and after knowing Christ?

Paul lists the "BEFORE" in verses 1-3:
  • Death (v.1, "dead in the trespasses and sins"): It is God through His Spirit that gives life. God created Adam by breathing into the body of dust the "breath of life" (Gen. 2:7), and Adam became an functioning and animated being - a living person. But the power that sustains the life is the "breath of life" infused into the physical body, also known as the "spirit". When Adam and Eve sinned, their spirits became disconnected from their source--viz., God himself. It's like our smartphone being unplugged from its power source, In no time, the phone dies as its battery (spirit) dies. Until the phone is plugged into the power source (reconciled and rejoined to God), we are in a state of "death" -- we are dying from the day we were born. 
  • Defiled (v.2a, "following the course of this world): Being unplugged from God, humans are now plugged into "the course of this world", which means moral and spiritual defilement. So, sin not only produces death; it is also produces defilement of the human persons, undermining the image of God within every human person.
  • Demonized (v. 2b, "following the prince of the power of the air"): But that is not the end of the sorry story. Unplugged humans have also become aligned with the spiritual forces of wickedness: "following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience" (v.2). Sinful humans are now plugged into demonic powers, coming under their control.
  • Depraved (v.3): "lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind." Not only is unplugged humans unable to receive God's life, it becomes overwhelmed by its own sinful nature, the "flesh". They are under bondage to their own sinful passions, "carrying out the desires of the body and mind". 
That completes the picture of humans unplugged from God: they have become slaves to the world, the devil and the flesh. 

But the Good News is that through Christ, we can be re-plugged into God's life to reverse these deteriorations and repair the image of God within us. As we put our faith in Christ, the life of God is infused into the human persons through the "new spirit" via the indwelling Spirit: 
  • Ezek 36:26-27 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
So Paul lists the AFTER in verses 5-6:
  • Alive (v.5, "made us alive together with Christ"): Once we have received the "new spirit", we are plugged into God and made alive in Christ. The Spirit of God indwells every believer and puts God's uncreated and eternal life within the believer. 
  • Arisen (v.5, "raised up with him"): Having been made alive, we are also "raised up with him". In other words, we are not just alive, but we have been raised with Jesus' resurrection power to live and work, just as Jesus did when he was in the days of his flesh. Jesus' earthly life becomes our model of moral and spiritual excellence. Jesus didn't just live the righteous life for us; he showed us how we can now also live the same righteous life in the same power of the Spirit.
  • Ascended (v.6, "seated us with him in the heavenly places"): But the best part of it is that we are already seated with Christ in the heavenly places. So far as the spiritual realm of angelic and demonic hosts are concerned, we share the same authority as Jesus Christ. We are co-reigning with him now. Paul didn't say we will one day be seated with Christ. He used the past tense to indicate that we are already "seated with him in the heavenly places." So, we should live out our victory in Christ in this life, not in the afterlife.
So, that is the before and after Christ status for all believers. To God be the glory! Great things He has done!

Father, thank You that in Christ, You have rescued us from the kingdom of darkness where death, depravity, diseases and demonization reign into the kingdom of light where life, power and authority reign. Amen.


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