Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Read | Ephesians 2:1-10
Anyone who thinks of himself as a pretty good person ought to take a look at God’s assessment of humanity. He says we all come into the world spiritually dead and are ruled by Satan, his world system, and our own sin nature, or flesh. In the Lord’s eyes, we are children of wrath who deserve only punishment.
On the other hand, God is so pure and holy that He is totally separated from all sin and cannot look upon it with any favor or approval (Hab. 1:13). Everything He does is appropriate and beneficial; by comparison, even mankind’s righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). Yet even though we have nothing of value to offer Him, the Lord wants us for His own and has done everything necessary to draw us close.
Those of us who have placed faith in Jesus Christ have been made spiritually alive in Him, and all our sins have been forgiven. There’s a striking contrast between what we were and who we now are in the Lord. But this change has nothing to do with how good we’ve been. Even the faith with which we respond to the Savior comes from God. We can never make ourselves righteous; it’s all a gift from Him. And once He declares us justified, we will never be pronounced guilty again.
God has said that in the ages to come, He wants to show the “surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us” (Eph. 2:7). For all eternity, we will be showered with this awesome demonstration of His love. As great as our blessings are now, they’ll pale in comparison to what awaits us in heaven.
By Grace Through Faith
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Brought Near by His Blood
11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Christ Our Peace
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Christ Our Cornerstone
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.