One of the things we’ve had to learn in the dawn of the digital age is how to protect against identity theft. It’s certainly something that requires diligence on our part; changing passwords, identifying stop signs to prove we aren’t robots, all sorts of measures are taken to protect our identities.
In our passage this Sunday, Paul is going to reflect on our Christian identities, and he’s going to reinforce some important truths about who we are in Christ. We’ll be reading Ephesians ch 2.
The chapter seems to flow naturally from what Paul was writing about at the end of chapter 1, where he talked about what it meant to our lives to be adapted as God’s children. In ch 2, we’ll be reading a lot of fairly dense theological propositions about the nature of our salvation and the new humanity that we have become in Christ.
There is an emphasized “then” and “now” flow to what Paul writes. What are some of the ways he describes our old lives, the way we were? What are the contrasts, how does he see us now? What do you suppose being dead in sin means? How do you understand who the ruler of unseen powers is? In what way does this inform you about your nature as a believer in Jesus? Does it expand your sense of self?
V 8-10 is considered Paul’s great manifesto on salvation by grace alone. Grace is a free gift, something we certainly didn’t earn. Since good works don’t earn us a place with God, what do you think Paul is getting at in v10 where he talks about the good works we’re ordained for?
In the rest of the chapter, v11-22, Paul describes the inclusion of the gentile people into God’s big plan to redeem the world. Twice he talks about God making a new person (or we could say human) out of the two divided people of Jews and gentiles. This happened when the dividing wall, or barrier of the commands of the Law of Moses were fulfilled in Christ and therefore nullified. If there is no longer any external marker for inclusion in God’s family – what might that mean about the makeup of God’s community, the church? In what ways can we learn to join together as a single temple of God?
This will be a deep, but I believe enlightening study. I hope you can join us!