October 25 – Prison Letters – Dead vs Alive, Seperated vs United

Read Ephesians 2:1-22

If you are a true follower of Jesus, you have a “before and after” story.  Even if your conversion to Christ occurred at a young age, something significant happened when you embraced Christ.  There were changes.  Some of them were immediate and final.  Others were gradual and progressive.  Some of the changes are visible, while others were perhaps less obvious but just as real.

In describing the “before and after” story to those in the church in Ephesus, Paul uses a couple of key adjectives in this second chapter of his letter to them.  Those key adjectives are “dead” and “separated.”

You see, before anyone encounters Christ they are “dead.”  Oh, it’s true that the heart beats, the blood pumps, and the brain generates waves.  This death is not a physical one; it is spiritual.  There is no spiritual life present.  God, however, at salvation, infuses spiritual life into the previously dead soul.  At conversion, the believer is made alive.  Even more, he/she is positionally raised up with Christ and seated with Him in the heavenly places, where he/she will no longer be a victim to the satanic and demonic forces of this world.  That is quite a “before and after” story.

But that’s not all!  The believer was also at one point “separated.”  He/she was not only separated from God but also, as a Gentile, separated from Israel, its promises, and its hope.  Once again, however, the “after” is an incredible part of the story.  Those once separated have been brought near.  They have been brought near to God and have become fellow citizens with Jews who have embraced Jesus.  Together with all believers in Jesus, God has moved us from spectators in the stands to players at center court in what He is doing.

Those “once dead, now alive” and “formerly separated, now united” aspects of our story are not ones that we necessarily “felt” at the time of our conversion.  They are, however, no less real.  And understanding them deepens our appreciation for the God who cares infinitely for us!

Steve Kern

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