Ephesians 2:1-7. And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
BEFORE: Dead in sin, following the world and Satan, pursuing selfish desires, a child of wrath.
AFTER: Alive in Christ, raised up and seated with Christ, receiving the glorious riches of his grace in kindness forever.
The AFTER is where we live.
I get it. Life often feels like the BEFORE. Still sinning. Still worrying. Still frenzied. Still doubting. Still selfish most of the time. All this makes the AFTER hard to believe.
But the AFTER is no mythology. It’s no fantasy. It’s not something that will happen someday. It is today. The AFTER is NOW. How? Because we are IN CHRIST. Now. Today. And forever.
And our AFTER changes everything. Most importantly it fundamentally changes WHY we do what we do.
BEFORE we did good works to earn. To earn God’s salvation or our own. To earn a feeling of belonging. To earn the removal of our shame. To earn our right to exist on this earth. To earn righteousness.
But to earn righteousness always just leads to self-righteousness… And death. And following the course of this world and the prince of the power of the air. And living in the passions of our flesh and carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.
But now that it is by grace that we have been saved through faith, we have a whole new WHY.
Why do we do what we do?
It’s not to earn. It’s not to achieve. It’s not to perform. It’s not to get it right…finally. It’s not to appease or pay back God. Not to buy our way into life and out of death. Not to get more or avoid less.
Our WHY becomes the same as God’s WHY. But what is God’s WHY? Why did he do it? Why did he BUT GOD?
because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, [he] made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved
He loves us because he loves us. He is gracious to us because he is gracious. He did what he did, he BUT GOD(ed) us simply because it pleased him. He didn’t have to, but he wanted to.
Why do we do what we do AFTER we have experienced BUT GOD?
Same. We want to. It pleases us. We love because we love. We give grace because we have entered into grace.
A little glimpse of the Before and After with some grace in the middle. (But Simon?)
Our AFTER not only changes our WHY it also changes our WHAT. What do we do now that we are raised and seated with Christ?
Ephesians 2;10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We do good works. We walk in the good works which God has prepared for us.
In Genesis when Abraham was shown the promised land God told him to walk all around throughout it. Explore it. Experience it. Enjoy it.
Genesis 13:17. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.
Now that we have been fully freed from having to do good works in order to earn a place with God, we can graciously be given the honor, privilege, and promise of a life of good works. We can arise and walk in good works as the dwelling place that God has prepared for us as his workmanship. His “masterpiece.” His “poem.” Like a great work of art, our lives display God in all of his glory, grace, and beauty. Our lives are the framing of God’s work of grace for all the world to see. As we simply live lives of love and grace people see God on display. They read his epic. They hear his song.
“To live is Christ” creates in us a glorious AFTER. From chasing the world, the flesh, and the Devil in an attempt to earn my right to live, to simply living as the masterpiece of God propped up on display for all the world to see. Not our beauty, but Christ’s. Not our story, BUT GOD’S. His poem written on us. Made readable in our good works that flow from faith in the grace of God for us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Stay for the chorus…Ephesians 2:10. Feel free to sing along.