Dear Hope Family,
We are making steady progress through Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church. In chapter 1, we have ventured into the depths of theological mysteries such as predestination and eternity and summited the heights of the absolute clarity of God’s determined love that seeks to create and grow an intimate family.
Chapter 2 presents us with an unsavory and often misunderstood non-negotiable of Christian faith: our sinfulness, our spiritual inability, our desperate need for rescue. In his book, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be, Neil Planting writes, “The awareness of sin used to be our shadow. Christians hated sin, feared it, fled from it, grieved over it. Some of our grandparents agonized over their sins. A man who lost his temper might wonder whether he could go to Holy Communion. A woman who for years envied her more attractive and intelligent sister might worry that this sin threatened her very salvation. But the shadow has dimmed. Nowadays, the accusation you have sinned is often said with a grin, and with a tone that signals an inside joke. At one time, this accusation still had the power to jolt people. Catholics lined up to confess their sins; Protestant preachers rose up to confess our sins. And they did it regularly . . . The word sin now finds its home mostly on dessert menus. ‘Peanut Butter Binge’ and ‘Chocolate Challenge’ are sinful; lying is not. The new measure for sin is caloric.”
For red-blooded Americans, educated, resourced professionals, and good, moral people, we can often, unwittingly, soft-pedal sin. We can reason that sinners are folks at a distance doing bad things – not us. The reality is that we all need. We all sin. We all long for and depend upon rescue from Christ.
In our passage for Sunday, Paul celebrates rescue for dead people – people dead in their sin. He reminds us that God’s grace is for everyone who will own their need and receive God’s limitless supply. John Gerstner used to say, “All you need is need. All you need is nothing.”
I pray that we can come up with more “nothing” so that we will make something out of grace over and over again.
Grace and peace,