This weekend is Easter, which means that my sermon preparation has been focused on what Easter means for us. After doing a quick word-search, I ended up with a list of verses to consider, and started plowing through. About halfway down the list I came to Ephesians 2:4-8, which tells us, "But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”
This passage is one of my favorites because of the simple description the Apostle Paul gives of not only what God did for Jesus, but of what He does for us as well. Here's what I mean: God raised Jesus from the dead and restored Him to His rightful place in heaven. As a result, Jesus was given all the power and authority that belong to the Son of God. But that's not all, because what Paul tells us is that God has done the same thing for us. We've been "raised up" out of our sin, brought into God's family, and made citizens of heaven.
It’s sort of mind-blowing stuff if we really think about it – and for me, one of the first questions that comes to my mind is, "Why?" Why would God do such a thing for someone who was “dead in his sin”? For someone like me? Fortunately, Paul gives us an answer in verse 7, where he explains that God did this, "so (God) can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of His favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us through Christ Jesus." God does all of this to show the world His mercy, grace, power, and authority. In other words, God saved us SO THAT the world would know what He’s like.
Which brings me to perhaps the most important question we can ask ourselves in all of this: when people look at us, do they see what God wants them to see? Do they see the “incredible wealth of His favor and kindness”? Do they see lives focused on God, or do they see lives focused on our own plans and desires? In other words, do they see God – or do they see us? When we say that we’re God’s children, then people should be able to see God in us. They should see His goodness and grace and mercy and patience and kindness and forgiveness and purity and holiness. They should see things that will cause them to want to be a part of God’s family as well.
So today, let's thank God for all He's done for us. Then let's ask Him to help us live as a good reflection of what He's done, and who He is. Let's remember God's grace and mercy to us, and then let's allow that grace and mercy to flow through us to others - so that the world will truly know the One who is the source of all good and beautiful things.