Ephesians 2:3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
This brings to mind a brief video clip from the Internet that my wife called my attention to a few days ago. A young man gave a very perceptive and theologically sound answer to the often-heard question of why God sends people to hell. He said, “God doesn’t send anybody to hell; we’re headed there on our own anyway. God in His mercy gives us a way out so that we don’t have to go to hell.” That’s a superb answer, and it meshes perfectly with these first ten verses of Ephesians 2. This verse makes that exact point. Too many people think they’re entitled to heaven, when their own actions have more than earned them a place in hell. None of us deserve heaven, being transformed into the likeness of Christ and spending eternity in perfect fellowship with Him, but God in His amazing grace, mercy and love has opened the way for us. And there is indeed only one way, as Jesus Himself said. (John 14:6) Repentance and faith are the necessary keys, and the Holy Spirit is the “GPS” to keep us on the path. One reason the world hates Christians is that they want what we have but don’t want to give up the sin they cling to, so they accuse us of “elitism.” It doesn’t matter that we’re begging them to receive the same grace we have, they just want to justify themselves in their rejection of what God is offering them through us. Yesterday I read the tragic news of a former Miss America who committed suicide, apparently influenced by online bullying. I’m sure the devil had plenty of material to accuse her of, but those who were his agents are certainly guilty of greater sin. She didn’t have the foundation of faith to see herself as a child of God, so she followed the course her flesh laid out. That should be an object lesson to us that no amount of the world’s acclaim can equal God’s approval, and no amount of the world’s rejection can overcome God’s acceptance. As verses 8 and 9 famously proclaim, we have no room for pride, but every reason for overwhelming gratitude.
I too am by nature an object of wrath, just as Paul says here. My mind goes in all sorts of devious paths. I too need to be “transformed by the renewing of my mind.” (Romans 12:2) I sometimes do things I shouldn’t, and I certainly fail to do things I should. I shouldn’t need to be on a physical “death row” to realize that would be my rightful place apart from the grace of God. Only when I recognize my own “natural condition” am I able to reach out effectively to others to draw them from death to life. Frankly, so far I’ve not been terribly effective at that, which probably reflects on a failure to be appropriately grateful for God’s mercy and grace toward me. I need to let the Holy Spirit work in me fully, washing out old thinking and attitudes so that I will express the love of God without distortion, drawing many into His family for their salvation and His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You also for that video, and for the very clear word You spoke through that young man. May I like him be fully available for You to express Your truth through me, so that many will be set free to repent and believe for their salvation. Thank You. Praise God!