“In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.” Ephesians 2:12 (NLT)
Do you remember what it was like to live apart from Christ? To be excluded from his family. Do you remember a time before you knew God and his promises? When you live without hope? Do you remember a time before you know Jesus, the one who “is our peace?” A time before you could claim the name “Christian?” For me, that was a very long time ago for me. For that I am very thankful.
How long ago was that for you? When did you learn the truth? Some of you remember the time before clearly. You don’t need to be reminded about those days, in fact, those days may still plague you with feelings of guilt and regret. I pray that God grants you healing and the continual experience of his grace, but at the same time, I also hope that you never forget that this is who you were. Others of you may not remember
a time before knowing Jesus because you trusted him at such an early age. That is a blessing of God’s grace that you should always be thankful for, but (and this is often harder) you need to realize that you too were once lost. It is good to remember that if you didn’t grow up where you did, if you didn’t have the parents you had, if you didn’t have the church or friends that you had, you could have a very different life.
This memory or realization is crucial for how we see ourselves and how we see other people. First, it changes the way we see ourselves. We are not what we used to be. You have been
made new. You were lost, but you no longer are. Second, it changes the way we see others. No matter who you encounter in this world, no matter how lost they might seem, they are a person for whom Christ died. What Ephesians 2 is telling us is that we are now be agents of God’s peace so that we can become “joined together” (v. 21) with those who now seem far off. The reason that we have hope for others is the fact that we were once where they are. If God’s grace can be received by me, it can be received by anyone.
Today, be thankful for the reminder of who you once were. Then go and be an agent of God’s peace by giving grace away.
Pastor of Adult Ministries