I opened my bible for devotion this morning and it fell to Isaiah 12. I normally have a plan for my devotion time, and it doesn’t typically involve letting the pages fall where they may. This morning, however, I decided to just read and meditate on the first passage I saw. Isaiah 12 reads, “On that day you will say: ‘I will give thanks to the You, Lord, although You were angry with me. Your anger has turned away, and You have comforted me. Indeed, God is my salvation; I will trust Him and not be afraid, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation.’”
When I read Ephesians 2, those words from Isaiah 12 resound in my ears; God is my salvation. I know a pastor who preached from Ephesians 2, and his sermon was titled, “All the buts of the Bible.” The main idea was that the conjunction but, that three letter word, was the most important three letter word in the Bible. There is hardly a more important three letter word in scripture than the “but” found in Ephesians 2:4. Ok, maybe God is a more important three letter word, but who wants to nit pick. (That was an attempt at sarcastic humor for those of you who don’t know me.)
When we come to Ephesians 2, we see the most glaring contrast of who we were before Christ and who we are now. Who were we before Christ? We were dead. We were toe tagged, heart stopped, flat lined dead. Paul uses a very technical Greek word here for the state we were in before Christ. That Greek word means DEAD and without life.
We often use the term lost to describe those who are without Christ, but Paul uses the term dead. His word choice is very important here in conveying the message of the gospel. If he had chosen to use the word lost, then we could reasonably assume that we could find our own way back. There are numerous stories of lost people who found there way back to where they were supposed to be. The word dead is a more accurate description. We cannot find our way back from the grave. We cannot find our way back from the condition we were in before God called us back to life. We cannot resuscitate ourselves. That would be a pretty neat trick if you could do it.
This seems simple. I know we were dead before Christ. I’ve known we were dead before Christ since I was eleven years old. I often forget this simple truth. I act as though I have always been alive. I see others who are dead in their sins and I shun them aside as though I’ve never been in their condition. I want God to give me a heart for the deadness that surrounds me.
This spiritual deadness, in my ministry context is the most difficult truth for the dead person to accept. David Platt once said that he prefers to spend 80% or more of his time while he’s sharing the gospel on sin and our condition before Christ.
Then we get to verse four. This is the part that makes me want to shout like Isaiah chapter 12. We encounter the two greatest three letter words in all of scripture, but God.
He made us alive. He made us the exact opposite of who we were before Christ. He not only made us alive, but He made us alive with Christ so He could bless us some more. He made us alive for good works. I’m sensing a pattern here. He made us alive for so much more than we realize.
We preachers fall into this trap of knowing more scripture than we practice, but God made us alive in Christ Jesus to live out His word. We live out our ministries, but how are we doing at living out His word? How are we doing at living out those good works for which we were created in Christ Jesus?
These posts are supposed to be devotional in nature, and I’ve enjoyed reading what the other contributors have written as we’ve been walking through Ephesians. My task was to write a devotional overview of Ephesians 2, so I’ll leave the technical details and word studies to the other writers.
I want you to be encouraged because this chapter is one of the most important chapters in scripture with the two most important three letter words in the Bible; but God. You were dead and now you are alive in Christ. Now let that precious promise percolate in your heart and soul.
The end of Isaiah 12 reads, “Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things. Let this be known throughout the earth. Cry out and sing, citizen of Zion, for the Holy One of Israel is among you in His greatness.” Ephesians 2 makes me want to cry out and sing to the Lord, and I implore you to contemplate His grace, and meditate on His goodness today and every day. May God bless you real good today.