Past vs Present

Years ago I read the story of a man who preached and taught on the book of Ephesians in a way that struck one of his listeners. Later, when the chance arose, the preacher was asked how he knew the book so well. The preacher explained that he had read the short epistle over, and over, and over, and over again. Until he realized he had not got a hold of the book, the book had got a hold of him!

I cannot claim to know Ephesians the way he did, but I certainly understand what it is like to revisit this epistle time and again and always find it fresh, new, alive!

Ephesians is one of my favorite books to read and preach from. In chapter 2 I love the contrast Paul draws between the Christian’s past and our present and future. 

In the past we were dead (1), we walked according to this world (2), fulfilling the lusts of the flesh defined our way of life in that time now past (3). 

In verse 4 there is a turning point with the two powerful words, “but God…” 

We charged toward suffering and destruction, “but God” showed mercy and saved us!

Then Paul moves into the present. He describes us as quickened/made alive (5), raised to sit in heavenly places (6), saved (8), reunited with God (13), fellow-citizens and of the household of God (19), and built upon the foundation of the truth of Jesus Christ (20)! 

Nowhere in this passage is there any indication of spiritual time travel. We cannot revert to our old state. Once alive, we cannot be spiritually dead any more. Once raised to sit in the heavenly places with Christ, we cannot be cast down to be an associate of the Evil One as in times past. Once Jesus has saved us, He will not unsave us. Those He has found, He never loses!

The repeated phrase throughout Ephesians, “In Christ” explains how all this is possible. “In Christ” we receive all the promises and blessings of God.

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