02/03/14 "Free of the death sentence through JESUS!"

Ephesians 2:1-5 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 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.

The word that stuck out to me in this passage and in the message this week is not actually in the passage, but it is heavily implied and in Pastor’s notes, condemned.  In the natural all are condemned.  This reminded me of a documentary I saw that chronicled the last 90 days of several “death row” inmates.  For these men hope was pretty much non-existent, the date of their execution was set, and meetings with attorneys were very somber.  For the most part until the last hours of their lives the tried desperately not to deal with the inevitable.  They lived their last days casually acting as though their execution dates were not quickly approaching.  But the reality and burden of their condemnation was always there, never far from the surface.  You could see it in their eyes through the forced smiles and subdued laughter.  This is the dead I think Paul is describing in this passage, the condemned, the walking dead, a group in which we were former members.

But, by the love and grace of GOD, we have all received a full pardon and we are free of that death sentence.  Now we know the truth and live each day in the light and the love of ALMIGHTY GOD.  We still struggle.  It is not easy having lived among the dead especially when we have our own personal history there and when we know so many members.  But we are not the same.  It reminds me of the story of the father who after dropping his son off at grade school noticed he had forgotten his lunch in the car.  He parked and hurried into the school courtyard trying to catch his son when he heard a youngster loudly relaying a profanity laced joke to a group of other students.  He was stunned at the language but even more stunned when his eyes locked on his son who was the potty mouth joke teller.   The conversation that followed was not what you would expect.  The father did not take his son by the ear and escort him from the schoolyard screaming.  It was the son that reacted in embarrassment and remorse because what he saw in this father’s eyes was not fierce anger but bitter disappointment.

If we believe that GOD is always present and we love and respect him how could we every do anything dishonorable or disrespectful in his very presence.  That is no longer who we are.

HEAVENLY FATHER, thank YOU so much that YOU have paid the price and issued a full pardon freeing us from condemnation and the death sentence.  YOUR grace allows us to have peace in the middle of the storm because we know we are connected to LIFE itself in YOU.  Give is the strength and courage to enjoy this gift and live fully according to your will.


Jim L.