Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
At re:generation when we speak on stage, we usually start off by saying something like, “Hi, my name is Bob and I have a new life in Christ. I struggle with….” Then we go on from there and do whatever we’re supposed to talk about. We say and here, “I have a new life in Christ,” so often that, if we are not careful, it can tend to become a cliché. But having a new life in Christ is such a glorious thing that we must not take it lightly. I’d like to talk a little about that today.
There are two little words in the Bible that make all the difference for us as believers. One word is a conjunction and the other is a noun. When I thought about this, I wasn’t really sure what a conjunction was. So, I looked it up. It means: “a word used to connect clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause (e.g., and, but, if). A noun of course, is a word used to identify people, places or things. I’m sure by now that you are wondering what this is all about. So much for the English lesson for today.
Ephesians 2:1-10 is a great passage and the that talks about God’s people and the new life He gives us. Paul starts this passage off by giving us a review of our old life in verses 1-3. He says we were dead; that we followed Satan; that we lived to feed our own desires of our body and our mind; and that we were children marked for God’s wrath! How would we like that as our epitaph written on our gravestone! Basically, Paul says we had a predisposition to live in our sins. Actually, a better way to say it is that we were slaves to sin.
But then there is this great transition that comes in two small but powerful words. Those words: “But God.” These words form one of the most significant and beautiful transitional phrases in the whole Bible. The words “But God,” connects verses 1-3, our old life, with verses 4-10, which talks about our new life in Christ. The phrase ties in what we once were to what has taken place and it is truly glorious!
The rest of the passage talks a lot about God’s character and how we obtain this new life. First, God is full of mercy and love. He owes us nothing but wrath. But because of His mercy and love He chose to give us a new life. He did not have to do it, He chose to do it! Have you ever asked God why He chose you? it’s a fairly simple question to answer but I find it a hard it a hard one to believe. It was simply out of His mercy. He didn’t need us on His team. He is totally self-sufficient. But he chose us because He wanted to, and He did this while we were still dead in our sins! God doesn’t wait until we clean up or lives before He gives us new life. If that were the case, we would never become good enough. Instead, as soon as we truly humble ourselves before God, repent of our sins and admit our helplessness to save ourselves, He brings us into His family and we become His children.
One more point I just can’t pass up about salvation, even though it comes from another part of the book of Ephesians. Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose us in Christ before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. I don’t know about you, but I cannot fathom the depths of this verse. It brings back the question, why did you choose me, God? While I said above that it was because of his Mercy, I still cannot understand it. All I can do is accept it. God is so good!!
My final thought is this. God did not just save us FROM something; He saved us TO something. In verse 10 of chapter 2, God says we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. He further says that these works were picked out for us beforehand, that we should walk in them. In other words, God saved us for a purpose that He had already determined for us. He didn’t save us just so we could go on with our lives as we once did. We now have choices, whereas before salvation we had no choice at all. We were dead and we were going to follow Satan. But now, God has made it possible to make decisions toward righteousness. Try as I did before God saved me, I could do the right things even though I sometimes wanted to do so. Now, God gives us the power through His Holy Spirit to make and do right choices. I think for us in re:gen, that is something we need to realize. WE NEED TO STOP THINKING OF OURSELVES AS SINNERS! That may sound strange, but it is true! Do we sin? Absolutely!!! Are we Sinners? Not if we are truly saved by His mercy and grace. Yes, we may fall, and fall hard. But if we are truly saved, God will bring us back. We have an enemy who would keep us in bondage. But God has truly freed from that bondage. We need not fear. We need to follow.
It has taken me a lifetime to see some of these things. We complicate our lives so much by our decisions at times. But it doesn’t have to be that way. My take home from all this would actually be step 7 (I didn’t mean to do this, but it fits): We humbly ask God’s spirit to change our hearts and minds in order to follow Christ fully. May God give us the grace to choose Christ’s way over our own desires. Victory is found in Christ and Christ alone! Amen and Amen!!