Made Alive in Christ

We are here.  The question is, "Why?"  Isn't that the ultimate question of human existence?

To explore that fundamental question, let's consider a simple object: a work glove.

Designed particularly for a human hand, it has multiple uses, of course!  But unless it is filled with something that is alive, it does nothing on its own.  Our fundamental purpose can be found in God's intention for us to be made alive in and by Christ, animated to function the way we were designed to function.  

In Ephesus during Paul's life, the goddess Artemis was of prime importance.  The temple of Artemis was so huge and grandiose that it was one of the seven wonders of the world!  People made pilgrimage from all over the known world to make sacrifices and and worship, believing that Artemis would protect them from harmful spirits.  "Spiritual thinking" was predominant.  

Into this context came Paul, with other apostles and Christ-followers, to proclaim the lordship of Jesus, a Jewish "God-man" who represented only one God (vis-a-vis the many of the ancient pagan world) who had complete sovereignty over the cosmos, including the spiritual powers that Artemis was said to have been protecting people from.  "Tourism" began to decline in Ephesus because devotion to Artemis began to decline.  Moreover, as the Church in Ephesus matured, they began to experience division amongst their own ranks, especially between Gentile and Jewish Christ-followers.  Can you imagine the social and spiritual complexity of Paul's and the early Christians' situation?  (And we think mask-wearing is controversial.)

With that in mind, consider Paul's words in Ephesians 2:1-10.

There's a reality that none of us really enjoy talking about -- our lifetime is limited.  Death is inevitable.  But Paul says there's also a kind of death that comes from the pursuit of anything that cannot give life.  Like trying to fill a work glove with anything besides what it was designed to be filled with.  Like filling it with...relationships, possessions, money, sex, substances, etc.  None of these things are necessarily "bad" in and of themselves.  But none are able to give the life that only God can give.

The entryway to that life is mercy.  Mercy is God's choice to withhold the just consequences of our actions and of the inherent brokenness of our world.  God, who is rich in mercy, makes us alive in Christ.  

Unfortunately, so many people either don't know God's mercy or don't want it.  Can you imagine preparing a feast for your children only to have them insist on eating crumbs from the floor?  

Reflect:
- Have you ever tried to fill your life with things that don't lead to life?  If you have, name those things as a confession.  You can do this one-on-one with God, or in a fellowship of other believers you trust.
- Have you ever experience God's mercy?  Tell that story in your journal or to someone you know.
- Do you need to experience the mercy God wants to give you?  Jesus said that anyone who asks, receives.  Make some time this week to ask God to show mercy to you, and respond with a new commitment to follow Jesus in community with the Church, and in private through prayer and scripture.  If you need help with this, please be in touch with Pastor Aaron or Pastor Mike, whom you'll find at https://uppc.org/staff.

Grace and Peace to you!

No Comments


Recent

Archive

 2020

Categories

no categories

Tags