(Part 47)


October 17, 2016

Today’s readings:

Ephesians 2:1-10

Psalm 100:2-5

Luke 12:13-21

We are almost at the end of the Year of Mercy, and the scriptures today bring us to our theme verse for 2016. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ” (Eph 2:4-5a). We are a people who have been saved, brought from death to life. This is such amazing work in our lives, a radical overturning and transformation. We must know where we came from and what we have become by God’s mercy.

* From death to life. “You were dead in your transgressions and sins” (Eph 2:1). But God, “even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ” (Eph 2:5a).

* From following the world and the evil one to following Christ. As “you once lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2a).

* From disobedience to obedience. You followed “the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.” (Eph 2:2b).

* From the flesh to the Spirit. “All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses” (Eph 2:3a).

* From being children of wrath to children of God. As “we were by nature children of wrath” (Eph 2:3b).

God overturned all the darkness and “raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). God did that, first, for our own sakes, but second, to use us as His instruments to do good. “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” (Eph 2:10).

Since “the Lord is God, he made us, we belong to him, we are his people, the flock he shepherds” (Ps 100:3), then we are “to serve the Lord with gladness” (Ps 100:2a). We serve God with our time, talent and treasure. As God has been overly generous to us, so too must we be generous to Him. It would be a big mistake to be selfish, and even greedy, a return to the flesh. “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” (Lk 12:15).

As God blesses us through His mercy, we are not to be lured back to the world. We are not to use up our blessings just for ourselves and just “rest, eat, drink, be merry!” (Lk 12:19b). That would be reinvesting in the world. What does God call such a man? “You fool” (Lk 12:20a). Such a one invests in this world, which he cannot take with him to the afterlife. “Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” (Lk 12:21).

And what matters to God? What is He rich in? He is “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4a). And “His mercy endures forever” (Ps 100:5a).

*     *     *