THOUGHTS FROM EPHESIANS

THE REASON AND THE RESULT OF EASTER

A meditation on Ephesians 2:1-7

 

We have been looking at the power of God that raised Jesus Christ from death to life. We have seen the significance of that death and resurrection. Now Paul focuses on the spiritual reasons and result of that death and resurrection.

At one level we could say that Jesus died because of the hatred of men, and we would be right. But at a deeper level, the real level in which God was working out his eternal purpose, Jesus died because of our sin and spiritual death. We, were 'dead in … transgressions and sins' [2:1,5]. We, who were created to live in a positive relationship with God in which we fully reflected his glory [Genesis 1:27], 'followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air' [2:2]. Because of this disobedience [2:2], God's wrath was upon us [2:3].

This is the necessitating reason for the death of Jesus Christ: that we, the sinners, are cut off from God – we are spiritually dead, and are the objects of God's wrath. In this lost state we were under the rule and controlling influence of Satan.

But there is another, deeper reason for the death of Christ, which Paul identifies: God is 'rich in mercy' [2:5]. In strict justice God could rightly have left us to our just judgement and allowed us to remain separated from him and under his wrath for ever. That is what we all deserved. The 'death' in which we all existed, and the eternal 'death' to which we were all headed, are the legal and stated outcome of rejection of God and his command [Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23].

But God is 'rich in mercy'. He does for us exactly the opposite of what we deserve: instead of death he gives us life; instead of wrath he gives us love; instead of eternal separation from him he gives us permanent, present and uninhibited access into his presence [2:6].

Because his Son, Jesus Christ, the sinless One, has fully and perfectly paid our sin's penalty by dying as our substitute, God raises us, along with him, up out of death and judgement, and into a life in his presence where his judgement can never again touch us.

This salvation by which we are released from wrath, judgement and death, and seated with Christ in the presence of God cannot be overcome or undone. This salvation we have in Christ is totally secure because it depends not on our own power, not on our own perfection, not on our own paying sin's penalty, but on the power of God evident and active for us in the death and resurrection of his Son, solely because of the incomparable riches of God's grace [2:7].

This day, this day on which Christ died, this day on which Christ rose from death, this day of grace and mercy, this day of our salvation, is the day the Lord has made, the day that he had planned before the creation of the world [Rev 13:8]. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2011.