Sunday 14th January 2018
Our Growth Group studies this week focus on Ephesians 2:11-22
There are other parts of the bible that have the same theme or illustrate the passage in some way.
Our daily readings therefore take some of these other passages to shed light
on the verses in Ephesians 2.
Vv 19-20 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
Ephesians 2:13 …. brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
The whole Bible story points to the climactic event of Jesus’ death on the cross. We link it with ‘God reconciled everything to himself’ and then ‘He made peace with everything’ and also we were ‘brought near to him’. Forgiveness, reconciliation, peace, acceptance, … everything of eternal significance links with Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross.
Paul speaks about it when he writes ‘when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense’ (1 Corinthians 1:23) What sort of man would allow himself to be crucified, seen as utterly powerless and God-forsaken, and yet be worshipped as God-in-the-flesh?
Yet it is no mystery, this is the nature of the Three-in-one God. He desires to be in a Father/Son relationship with his broken, flawed humanity. A redemption price has to be payed and he offers himself, standing in our place. The very thing we are powerless to do, reconcile ourselves to God, the Son achieves by becoming one of us, stepping into our shoes. His love knows no bounds – and so he says to us ‘If I love you so much, what can ever hold you back from loving one another?’ ‘ We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.’ (1 John 3:16)
A God-shaped church, modelled on the pattern of the Trinity, will be a self-sacrificing community, more intent on giving its life for others than selfishly hanging on to everything for its own benefit.