Hello Project Ezra! This week’s reading addresses one of life’s great questions: Why do we exist? Although many have asked and wondered about the answer, for the Christian, it is simple. We exist for the glory of God, and to live in fellowship with Him, and there is not greater privilege that that! Ephesians 1 deals with this issue strongly, repeatedly proclaiming that all God’s plans, from creation to salvation, are for His glory, and for our good. God has lavished us with blessings that are hard to comprehend, the greatest of all being His gift of grace, which was given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And for these things we should give thanks and sing God’s praises.
However, for those who do not know Christ, this will likely make no sense at all. For someone who does not understand the depth of their own sin and their true standing before God, the idea of someone dying on a cross 2000 years ago, and that having anything to do with them, may seem ridiculous. In fact, the Bible tells us this is the case. In 1 Corinthians 1 it says “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” It doesn’t make sense because the unsaved who don’t understand their sin, are spiritually blind to the goodness of God demonstrated in the cross of Christ.
But the word also says that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and it is the gospel we must preach. Although we should be careful in over-emphasizing God’s gifts as an incentive to draw people to salvation (since scripture never promises ease or prosperity here on earth), Ephesians 1 deals with the spiritual and salvific blessings given through salvation, and it is absolutely appropriate to deal with these, particularly in the context of dealing with sin, and the just punishment we deserve. So that will be the emphasis for this week’s reading. I pray it will be a blessing.
All for His glory,
INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND THE READING
READ EPHESIANS 1
This chapter gives us insight into one of the greatest questions of all time, why mankind exists.
Every one of us was created with a purpose. None of us exist by accident.
We were created for a purpose, and that purpose is to glorify God.
When we talk about glorifying God we are talking about bestowing honor, respect and admiration on Him, of singing His praises, both figuratively and literally, and of worshipping Him.
You may have no desire to glorify God. In fact, the idea of glorifying God may make absolutely no sense to you, or may seem absolutely foolish.
But as a Christian, I know that is what I was made for, and there is no greater joy in my life.
His word says that in Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.
We are more than servants or slaves to an all-powerful God. Those who trust in Him are adopted into His family, as His children.
Our purpose in Christ is a great blessing, and comes with great spiritual benefits.
God’s word says He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing
It talks of the riches of His grace, which He has lavished upon us.
And the greatest gift He has given us is the blessing of God’s grace, and redemption through His blood.
The good news is that we can be redeemed! But from what? What does redemption mean, and why does it matter?
The message of the cross may not make any sense to you, just as giving glory to God makes no sense to you. God’s word says “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
If this seems like foolishness, it is because you are perishing, you are dying outside God’s will. I pray you will stay and listen for a bit as I share how you can be made right with God.
Why are we perishing, and what do you need to be saved from?
The reason we need redemption is because of our sin, and because of our moral crimes against God, we need to be saved from His justice, and wrath.
God is holy. He is perfect, and pure, and totally without sin. And because of who He is, he cannot and will not allow sin in His presence.
Habakkuk 1 says, describing God, “You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
Exodus 34 says He will by no means clear the guilty.
In the gospel of John He tells us He will judge, and His judgment will be just.
This is our problem. God will judge justly, and we are lawbreakers.
If you doubt that you are a lawbreaker, take a moment to look at yourself in light of God’s moral law, the 10 Commandments. God gave us His law to show us what sin is, so we would see our true position before Him.
We need to recognize sin. It Is a deadly disease that will kill every one of us if we are outside God’s grace.
GO THROUGH THE LAW
FOR MORE ON THE USE OF THE LAW IN EVANGELSIM, GO HERE: How to Effectively Use the Law
Every one of us, including me, is a sinner and deserving of God’s justice
God tells us the punishment for rebellion against Him is an eternity in hell, a place of fire and torment which will last forever.
Hell is not a place where we can do and enjoy whatever we want, and it is not ruled by Satan
Satan is completely at God’s mercy, and he doesn’t want to be in hell any more than you should. Hell was created as a place of punishment for him and the other fallen angels.
It is a place of eternal fire and torment, separation forever from all of God’s goodness. We are here sharing with you because we don’t want to go there, and we don’t want you to go there!
But there is good news! God is a just judge, but He is also a loving Father, who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
God demonstrated that love in sending Jesus Christ, His only son, to humble Himself, walk the earth, and then die on a Roman cross as payment for our sins.
When Jesus Christ was on the cross, He was paying your debt. A legal transaction was taking place. Jesus Christ’s suffering and death paid the fine for sin.
As His word says, in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses
Jesus died so that we might live, and be set free from the bondage, and from the punishment, of sin.
Three days after Jesus died, He rose again from the dead, as He had prophesied He would, and we are told He is now “Seated at the right hand in heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come”, and that all things have been put under His feet
Through Jesus Christ, and because of God’s goodness and mercy, we can be saved from our sin, and saved from the punishment for sin, eternity in hell.
In that salvation, we see both God’s justice, shown through the punishment laid upon Jesus, and His love and mercy, demonstrated through Christ’s sacrifice for us. And through all of these truths, God is greatly glorified.
So today, we are praying that you will do as the Bible says, which is to repent, or turn from your sins, and put your trust in Christ alone.
It is only through Jesus Christ that you can be saved. Only through His sacrifice can your fine be paid.
So turn to Him today, while He has graciously given you time.