Continuing to move through Ephesians in J.B. Phillips’ “translation”, here’s the first half of chapter 2…
2:1-3 – To you, who were spiritually dead all the time that you drifted along on the stream of this world’s ideas of living, and obeyed its unseen ruler (who is still operating in those who do not respond to the truth of God), to you Christ has given life! We all lived like that in the past, and followed the impulses and imaginations of our evil nature, being in fact under the wrath of God by nature, like everyone else.
2:4-10 – But even though we were dead in our sins God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, gave us life together with Christ – it is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved – and has lifted us right out of the old life to take our place with him in Christ in the Heavens. Thus he shows for all time the tremendous generosity of the grace and kindness he has expressed towards us in Christ Jesus. It was nothing you could or did achieve – it was God’s gift to you. No one can pride himself upon earning the love of God. The fact is that what we are we owe to the hand of God upon us. We are born afresh in Christ, and born to do those good deeds which God planned for us to do.
Spiritual deadness occurs naturally when we drift along with the world’s stream of ideas. Fed by that flow, we birth a life that’s no life at all–and we find ourselves faithfully serving an unseen ruler, who we never signed up to serve. But we did.
To us, to all of us whose weakness pushes us to live on the road of least resistance, and to all of us too foolish to learn this lesson the first time or the second time or the millionth time… Christ has given life!
And this life is imparted into those who are naturally bent towards following the impulses and imaginations of our evil natures. But Christ enters, takes over, and births in us new possibilities, which are built upon new affections and desires which he brings along and plants into our hearts.
Come, Lord. Move and dwell here, for my life is needy of what you alone bring.