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But God

pexels-piotr-twardowski-5560839Advent Devotional on Ephesians 2:1-10

Make-over TV programs always show a before and after picture. In one snapshot the living room looks like a bomb exploded. In the next photo you see how the experts turned it into a crisp and organized space. We see what it was and what it became.

Paul does the same thing in our passage. He paints a before and after picture of believers. His intent is not to rub our noses in how bad we were. He wants us to see the beauty of God’s grace in saving us through His Son.

We suffered from a spiritual disease, of such magnitude that all hope seemed lost. And what was worse, we did not realize the bleakness of our situation, like a person who does not know he is terminally ill.

The world, the devil, and our own sinful nature held us in a headlock (vs.2,3). They kept us from seeing the raw truth about ourselves and turned Jesus into anything but the divine Savior we desperately needed.

“But God” (v.4). Our eternal future hinges on these two simple but glorious words. It is like Paul turns on an industrial size light in a pitch-black room. We were dead in our sins (v.1), but God. You and I were children of wrath (v.3), but God. God’s mercy is abounding and His love vast as the ocean (v.4). He saved us, raised us up with Christ, and seated us with Him in heaven (v.5). It is almost too much to take in.

You and I did not jump start our rescue from sin and death. We did not lend God a hand by adding a little bit of our good works. Salvation is a gift, born from grace (vs.5,8). None of me, all of Him.