Category Archives: Ephesians 2

Ephesians 2:21-22

Scripture: verse 21

In union with Him the whole building is held together, and it is growing into a holy temple in union with the Lord.

Observation: I mostly liked this one because of the whimsical growing building imagery – like the scene in The Magicians’s Nephew when they plant a toffee and it grows into a toffee-tree overnight.

The point is, Yeshua holds us together, and we (the body of believers) are growing and maturing into what God wants us to be.

Young’s Literal Translation uses “fitly framed together” in place of “union.”  We are carefully shaped and maneuvered into place, to make a structure that is strong and flexible and keeps out the rain.  And we are growing.  Some of our quirks God uses, some He changes, but our destination is right where He wants us to be.

Application: Don’t trash-talk yourself.  Don’t assume God needs to change you, that He doesn’t like who you are or that you won’t fit.  It takes time, but He has a place for everyone and He’s putting everyone in their place.

Prayer: Father, thank you for using me as I am.  Help me to trust you to make it happen.  Amen.

Advertisements

Ephesians 2:16-20

Scripture: verse 19

So then, you [Gentiles] are no longer foreigners and strangers.  On the contrary, you are fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s family.

Observation:  This one’s more straightforward.  It said earlier (verse 12) that before Yeshua’s death, the Gentiles were “without hope and without God.”  Yeshua’s death opens the door to the nations so that anyone can come to God.

There’s a number of ideas running around that all believers are secretly Jewish, somehow – often involving the ten tribes that were lost to Assyria.  Conspiracy theories are fun, I suppose, but the truth is that God’s plan is bigger than that.  Instead of resorting to twisted secrets to make all who come be suitable, God made a way for everyone to be welcome.

God crowdsourced His kingdom.  We’re all in.

Application:  The only response can be enthusiastic welcome, regardless of gender, skin color, mental capacity, or number of piercings.  We’re all welcome, and we all have a part to play.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for welcoming everyone.  Help me to do the same.  Amen.

Ephesians 2:11-15

Scripture: from verse 15

[Yeshua destroyed] in His own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances.

Observation:  I’m actually not certain what all this means, but I love the phrasing.

Obviously it’s a reference to His death and resurrection.  By His death, He conquered sin and reunited humans with God.  So far so good.

But.  Enmity in His body.  He saw all the tension, all the estrangement, all the sin that humans were (and are) swimming in.  He absorbed it all into Himself.  And then He died, so that the enmity died with Him.

I think it’s that image of Yeshua as a sponge that sticks out to me.  Drawing our pain and sin and confusion into Himself.  Soaking it up, so it’s all in one place and He can kill it.  Leaving us clean.

I don’t have analogies for this.  I can think of partial, distant parallels – Harry Potter comes to mind, and I read once that C. S. Lewis prayed to take his wife’s sickness into his own body, and so on – but nothing that actually fits.

[Later: There’s two parts to this: absorbing our filth, and dying.  Plenty of people have sacrificed their lives or their dignity for those they love, but it’s rare to see someone deliberately sacrificing both.  I think it’s the indignity of the act that strikes me, as much as the death.]

He drank the poison out of our veins so he could burn it away in Himself.  Nothing compares.

Application:  Wow.  Yeah, I got nothing.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for doing this.  Thank you for absorbing all my sin, all my pain – and not throwing it away for someone else to deal with, but dying yourself so it is gone entirely.  That’s amazing.  Thank you.

Ephesians 2:6-10

Scripture: from verse 10:

We are of God’s making, created…for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do.

Observation: I like the idea that God has picked out and planned good deeds for me to do.  I was thinking earlier today about street evangelism, which I am terrible at.  At least, I’m reasonably certain I would be, if I ever tried.  It’s all well and good to say it’s just a matter of striking up a friendly conversation and bringing up God when it seems appropriate, but that’s because you’ve never seen me try to strike up a friendly conversation.  I manage it occasionally, but usually by accident.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that I don’t have to spend a great deal of time and energy worrying about it.  God has prepared things for me to do.  I do my best to make myself open and available, and to act on opportunities as they come.  I’m not required to do anything else.

Application:  Relax.  If I’m supposed to do X, God will prepare me and create the opportunity.  If I’m not supposed to do X, God probably has someone else in mind for the role.  Rushing around trying to force the issue just wastes energy that could be spent doing something more productive.

Prayer: Father, thank you for planning good deeds for me to do.  Thank you for preparing me for them, for creating opportunities for me to learn and work and speak, for using me as I am and not as I think you wish I were.  Help me to listen when you tell me what my next step is.  Amen.

Ephesians 2:1-5

Scripture: from verse 3

In our natural condition we were headed for God’s wrath, just like everyone else.

Observation: I’m nothing special.  We’re nothing special.  We’re just like everyone else.

Salvation isn’t natural.  Of course, neither is air conditioning, but it’s hot outside and I’m awfully grateful for the air conditioning.  God gave us a way to change how we’re made, to change our destiny, and I’m grateful for it.

Really, it’s a story Hollywood loves.  Except with one key difference: we aren’t the ones doing the work.  God is, because we can’t do it.  It takes practice to accept that insult to our competence, but it’s still true.

Application: I’ve found in recent years that the more upfront I am about what I am willing and able to do, the happier  am about life.  Voicemail, for example, was a major issue for years, because I hate listening to it so much.  The fact that I’m a terrible auditory learner didn’t help anything.  Then some time ago I accepted that I’m never going to stay on top of my voicemail, so I changed my greeting to say that I don’t listen to it and they should text me.

Same deal with God.  If we struggle and strive to get it right, we only get tired.  If we give up and ask Him to do the work, He will.  Easy.  Humiliating, but easy.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for knowing that I can’t do anything on my own.  Thank you for letting me be just like everybody else.  Thank you for offering me help before I ever ask for it.  Amen.