I am putting our Psalm series on pause for a few weeks to write a short Lenten series for the sake of getting our minds on what happened over 2000 years ago, both at the cross in Jerusalem as well as at the tomb where Jesus rose from the dead! You can read what happened in each of the gospels in terms of the historical events.
- Matthew 26-28
- Mark 14-16
- Luke 22-24
- John 12-21
But I will be talking about what happened from a more theological perspective. Don’t be scared away by the word theological. I am no theologian. But I am a practical theologian in the sense that I ask myself a lot of so what? questions when it comes to many of the things I read about in the Bible.
I understand Jesus’ death and resurrection were huge events, but it took me a long, long time to understand the actual truth of what actually happened and how it affected my faith and the gospel. That is what many of these passages answer. They may not answer every single question you have, but they should answer a lot of them. If you have more questions, write in the comments.
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.
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:1-22 ESV
We were sons and daughters of disobedience, until our God who is rich in mercy and love intervened.
This passage discusses how hopelessly dead in sin we were on our own. One illustration used is our natural desire to disobey God’s laws. We are described as sons (and daughters) of disobedience who live according to our passions. But God who is rich in mercy because of His great love for us, in the middle of our sin, made us alive in Christ and raised us with Christ. It is a gift of pure grace so we won’t brag. We are Christ’s workmanship/masterpieces. God created us beforehand. He is continuing to work on us.
There is a lot in these few sentences. God’s mercy and grace toward us who were in a hopeless situation because of our sin and lostness. God providing a solution for our situation by sending Jesus to pay for our sin,. Jesus living a perfect life for 33 years as the God/man and being able to pay an infinite sacrifice for an infinite number of people, many of whom weren’t even alive that day. Then He rose from the dead to show He truly was triumphant over death and sin like He said,
We were outside of the Covenant of Promise until the dividing wall of hostility was broken down in the body of Christ, to pay for our sin. This brought reconciliation.
Another illustration of our lostness is calling us “the uncircumcision” or those outside of the Covenant of God and separated from the Promise…Gentiles. We had no hope and were without God. But now, in Christ Jesus, you have been brought near through Jesus’ blood that was shed to pay for your sin.The Law said that blood had to be shed to pay for sin. The picture was in animal sacrifices being made for sin. But it was only a picture of the real thing–when Jesus would come and die for us, shedding His blood for our sin on the cross. Was it gory? Yes! But that is what sin required. That is how heinous it is.
He is our peace because He has made us one and broken down in His body, the dividing wall of hostility between God and man. Thus, He brought reconciliation between God and mankind, killing the hostility. Christ made peace by taking on God’s anger against sin…in His body.
We were aliens, Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are brought near as Jesus preached peace and we became citizens with the saints of the household of God.
Another illustration for us before Christ, is aliens and strangers. It’s as if we are citizens of another country. He preached peace to those who were far off and those who were near. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, we strangers and aliens have become fellow citizens with the saints (all who have trusted Christ for their salvation.) Christ Jesus is the cornerstone, the One who holds the whole house together and grows it into a holy temple for the Lord. He is building us into a dwelling place for God by His Spirit.
Change Point: This chapter is very meaty, but describes for us what God has done for us by the death and resurrection of Christ. Think about it for awhile. Use some of the words of this chapter to pray through sections of it during times of meditation during this season as you thank God for what He has done for you.