It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
The words above paint the picture for every one of us who have experienced the indescribable transfer of our heart from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light when we were born again into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Those words are from one of my all-time favorite passages out of the Message Bible. I know I say favorite a lot when speaking of scripture but you know how that goes.
When doing my own Bible studies, I often times write out scriptures in my journal in many different translations. This helps me get it. It is a way to meditate on the words, the spirit of the content, the meaning... as I linger in the Word and in prayer it renews my mind and connects me with the very heart of God. Here, I've included several translations of Ephesians 2:4-5. Take a moment to read through them all at once, personalize them and experience your heart moving toward God as you think on His great mercy and love.
(NAS) But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved
(NIV) But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved.
(NLT )But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)
(Amplified) But God--so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation).
The two words “But, God” used here in most translations ring in my heart with fresh joy to think of the destructive path my life was on when God’s great love pulled me out my transgressions and sat me down beside Jesus and essentially said to me, “Finally, you're home. I've been waiting so long for you. This is where you belong. Sit here with Jesus in heavenly places and I’ll keep you in the palm of my hand forever. Nothing from now on will ever separate you from my love. Rest here. Be refreshed here. Be completely restored. I’ll clean you up and give you a new heart. One that is soft and pliable and hears MY Spirit. I’ll shower you with favor and heal your body. I’ll place your feet on solid ground. You are my precious child. You are important and valuable and I have a purpose and plan for you better than anything you could dream or hope.”
My heart is full of overwhelming thankfulness today as I remind myself where I was when I heard the call of my Savior, I responded to the call and He rescued me out of the mire of what was my life. He was waiting there for me in His rich mercy.
The truth is God did all this long before I responded. He made the way through Jesus Christ when He was resurrected from the dead.
God has done the same for every breathing soul past and present. No matter your situation you can say, But God. He has already done the work. All you have to do is let him in.
I hope for every reader a very Happy Resurrection Day celebration!