The Crux • Chapter 4 • Grace
Have you ever lost something? How did you feel after you lost it? How did it make you appreciate in a whole new way what you had possessed before? Did you ever find the object? If so, what was your reaction?
The author of this passage is a man named St. Paul who wrote just after the time of Jesus. Early in his life, Paul, known as Saul, was a Jewish official who persecuted Christians. His conversion to Christianity came through a miraculous vision from Jesus (Acts 9:1-19). After his conversion, St. Paul went to several towns in the Roman Empire preaching the good news of Jesus Christ to others. Later, St. Paul would write letters to these communities who had accepted the good news.
The letter we will read today is written to Christians in the city of Ephesus (in the modern-day country of Turkey). In this section of the letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul is showing what people’s lives looks like before and after their conversion. While St. Paul was writing to a specific audience two thousand years ago, his message still has meaning for us today.
1 You were dead in your transgressions and sins 2 in which you once lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient. 3 All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so no one may boast.
- How do we see this manifested in our world or on our campus [or in our workplace]?
- Why do you think St. Paul paints such a vivid picture of life without Christ?
*Adapted from FOCUS