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Ephesians

March 18, 2009

Part 2

Paul writes of a great and grand narrative which God is unfolding upon his creation. It is a story that moves us from death to life, from despair to hope, from apathy to love. He says in Ephesians 1:10 “God’s desire and design is to sum up all things in Christ, things in heaven, things on earth.” Here Paul is speaking of transformation and renewal of creation. So what does this mean for you and me? Well, Paul says, God is doing this very big thing by seeking a personal relationship with women,, men and children. God is reaching out after us-you and me- to save, to redeem, to liberate, to transfom, to give life. How does God do this? Paul says “By grace you are saved through faith, so that then you can do the good works which God has prepared for you beforehand to walk in.” It’s a makeover of the most profound sort. It’s NEW LIFE.

Paul goes on to say that God is creating a new humanity out of the old. A humanity that lives in the way of Jesus. This new community bears God’s image into the world so that the world can know who this God is. Paul calls this community the church. And it is the “good works which God has prepared for you beforehand to walk in” which witnesses to God’s work. In order, Paul says, “That through the church the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 3:10) In other words, Caesar, along with the spiritual, social and corporate powers behind the throne of Caesar, think they run the world. But we know Jesus runs the world and the sign for that is when the church is being the church.  He tells us in more detail what that looks like in Ephesians 4 and 5. Paul has in mind particularly the coming together of Jews and Gentiles (extend that out logically and it includes people of every ethnicity, race, tribe, color, region, class). As he says in Galatians “there is no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile, slave or free, male and female, all are one in Christ Jesus.” The unity of the church of which Paul speaks again and again, is a sign to the powers that be that their time is up. Our unity is the sign that Jesus is LORD. The church’s practice of unity is the anticipation of the suming up of all things in Christ. It characterizes the life of God’s new humanity.  And it provides a firm foundation for the church’s ministry and mission into the world.

 

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