“God's Gracious Initiative”
"But God..." These two words changed everything, quite literally. They were written by the apostle Paul to the Ephesian church about 2000 years ago. What makes this word-pair so powerful is the context in which it was used. Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians explaining God’s eternal plan that was coming to fruition in Jesus (Eph. 3:10-11).
In chapter 1, Paul pointed out both WHERE God is completing His plan (“in Christ”) and WHY God is completing His plan (“for the praise of His glory”). In chapter 2, he begins to answer HOW God is going about fulfilling His eternal purpose in Christ. God's work begins with regular people like you and me (“you” 2:1).
• Walking in sin
• Following the sinful course of the world
• Living in the passions of your flesh
• By nature children of wrath
• Separated from Christ
• Alienated from the commonwealth of Israel
• Strangers to the covenants of promise
• Without God
• Is rich in mercy
• Loved us with great love
• Made us alive together with Christ
• Saved us by His grace
• Raised us up with Christ
• Seated us with Christ in heavenly places
• Recreated us in Christ for good works
• Made us part of His eternal plan
• Is making us His spiritual masterpiece
• You have been brought near to God by Christ’s blood
• You have been given access to the Father’s grace
• You have been given access to the Father’s power
• You are a member of God’s household
• You are at peace with other Christians
• You are at peace with God
• You are being built into a holy temple for God’s glory
“But God...” These two words changed everything. Whoever you are, these words give you the right perspective. Wherever you are, they define your purpose. Whatever you face, they give you hope.
In Ephesians 2, Paul demonstrates our hopeless and lifeless situation to emphasize God’s unmerited initiative, favor, love and power toward those who believe. Because of “but God” we who were children of wrath are children of obedient faith. Because of “but God” we who were dead are now living in Him. Because of “but God” we who were languishing in the spiritual gutter are raised up with Christ to rule in heavenly places! You are now God’s masterpiece! You are called out of past ("you were") to live in view of God's future ("now") as His rescued and renewed person and God is the one who made it all possible.