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Understanding our Standing in Christ

posted Sep 19, 2010, 2:58 PM by Website Administrator   [ updated Jan 9, 2014, 5:22 PM ]

September 19, 2010                

Key Passage: Ephesians 2:1-10 

      "Understanding Our Standing in Christ"

I'm afraid I have some bad news...the reason Christians fall into the trap of "relative truth" is because, as Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men, we can't handle the Truth.  Today's passage in Ephesians contains the ugly truth about us, and few are willing to accept it, so we make it "relative."  Here's a great example – almost 80% of Christians believe "good works" play a role in their salvation; heck, even 40% of "born-again" Christians believe this.  Wow…that continually blows my mind; however, when all is said and done, there's "Good News."  But what is the ultimate good in the Good News?  It all ends in one thing: God himself – and nothing from us! All the words of the gospel lead to him, or they aren’t the gospel. For example – salvation isn't good news if it only saves from hell and not for God.  Forgiveness isn’t good news if it only gives relief from guiltand doesn’t open the way to God.  Justification isn’t good news if it only makes us legally acceptable to God but doesn’t bring fellowship with Him.  Finally, adoption isn’t good news if it only puts us in the Father’s family but not in his arms.  If you’re like me, maybe you’re worn out because you’ve sought the hand of God (salvation, forgiveness, justification, adoption) rather than the face of God.  We’re more interested in the benefits of the relationship rather than the relationship itself.  That’s bad news….the good news is…..God himself.

Ephesians 2:1-3  The Bad News…Our Condition

Virtually no one, outside of a fairly small group of evangelical Christians, seriously believes: 

    • That without a Savior all people are dead in sin and incapable of any spiritual good
    • That without a Savior all people are captured and blinded by an evil entity named Satan
    • That without a Savior all people are under the wrath of God and doomed to hell

Ephesians 2:4-7  The Good News…God's Remedy

"But…God…"  Frankly, these are the two greatest words in the Bible – "But God…has made us alive in Christ, even when we were dead in our transgressions."   What blows me away is why he did it…notice it has absolutely nothing to do with us!  It's entirely prompted by God's character – his grace and his mercy.

Ephesians 2:8-10 The Good News…Gets Even Better!

We're saved by grace through faith apart from works (that'll do it for the 80% who believe "works" play a part in salvation), but the faith that saves always results in good works.  Because he reached down and rescued me when I was spiritually and eternally dead, I should be fired up about glorifying him through my words and works.

Q:  How can we impress on the unsaved the serious place they're in before God without alienating them with a message of "hellfire and damnation?"

Q:  Why does Paul state that God prepared our good works beforehand?  What's his practical aim?

Bottom Line: It’s unfortunate that people often stereotype Christians as those who think they’re better than others.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The truth is, to be a true Christian you have to admit that you’re a person addicted to sin.  The church is like an AA meeting.  We must never forget the blessings of salvation and new life are not ours because we have earned them.  They’re ours because of God’s grace and mercy.  We should be the most humble and grateful people around.  Is that what others see in us?