Day 13 ~ I’m Not There, But so Many Are

by | Jan 13, 2014

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye 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:” Ephesians 2:11-12

Well, no one picked these verses, and as I was trying to pawn them off on someone, I was reminded of how much they had meant to me, and so I decided to take it for myself, even though I got to write already. (That’s also why it’s posting so late. 🙂

 As I was thinking it over, I realized that there are two aspects of these two verses that are really powerful for me. The first is the more obvious of the two, and it’s what got to me way back when I started getting into this chapter. It’s the simple picture these verses paint, of where I was when Jesus came. Chained Door I was an outcast, I was an alien, one who was shut out from the blessings of being in Christ. In Strongs, that word “commonwealth” means: “freedom, citizenship, the rights of a citizen.”
I was blocked from freedom itself, I didn’t belong, I had no rights as a citizen. I was a stranger from the covenants of promise, meaning I didn’t even know about them. The concept of God, making a binding agreement which promised good, and blessings, was foreign and unknown to me. I had no hope; that word, according to Strongs, means: “expectation of good, or joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.” It didn’t exist for me, nothing to look forward to, no good to expect. I was without Christ.

 That is a bleak picture! But we already know how the painting was made beautiful from all the other verses we’ve been talking about. When I was in that state, an alien, a stranger, a gentile, hopeless, and without the Giver of Life, God stepped in with His exceedingly rich grace, His mercy, His salvation, and He quickened me. He brought me into His presence and seated me next to Christ.  That is cause for so much awe. That’s why I love these verses, they remind me of how far God brought me, of where I was without Him, and what I now have in Him.

But the other part that I was thinking about, had a more serious tone, and a more convicting effect on me. Lonely, Sad, and HurtingThese verses are beautiful to me because they describe where I was not where I am; but what I forget, is that there are people all around me, who are still back there. I know that seems obvious, but it struck me. Do I feel the same pity and longing for them to be freed from hopelessness and despair as I felt for myself while I was there in darkness aching for more? Do I yearn to see them enter into citizenship and the covenant of promise that could fill their life with the blessings of God?
I really want to say “Yes!” and sometimes maybe I do, but there are many times when I act out verse 11 instead. I, as one in the promise, look at those outside and pronounce them “Gentiles; uncircumcised.” Then I turn my back, and enjoy my rights as a citizen in God’s kingdom.

Someone showed me a video clip one time. It was about a young woman who was living life, but in sadness, and devastating choices. She would see Christians at church laughing and talking, but they never paid attention to her. Cold LookShe lived her life making mistake after mistake, desiring to be loved and cherished but never finding what she sought. After yet another failed attempt at finding joy, she decided to go to church one day. As she pulled in and got out of her car, (not necessarily attired for church) a member came out with her little girl. As the member walked by she glanced at the stranger giving her the “up and down” once over, then she pulled her little girl closer to her side, and with a look that spoke a thousand words of disapproval, she walked silently and coldly by. The young woman didn’t go to church that day.

At that point, I was already feeling convicted, but it went on. The girl fell deeper into sin and despair, and every time she came in contact with Christians they ignored her, or looked down on her. Finally, as she was waiting on tables, she saw several of them there. As they got up and left, again, they ignored her. She went to the table where they had left a $1 tip, and she found a tract, which she immediately crumpled up and threw on the table….. she sat with a look of anger, and yet great sadness on her face, and at that moment I was FURIOUS! I couldn’t believe it! How could there be such coldness and disregard in God’s own people?? We were put here to show His love! Tract and tipWe were left on this earth to demonstrate His grace, and the life that He died to give us! And here these people couldn’t even leave a decent tip along with their attempt to give the awesome Gospel of Jesus! But….. I knew I was one of them all too often.
The clip ended with one of the church members coming back in to get something, and seeing the look of hopelessness on the girls face, they almost left again, but finally sat down and began talking with her.
Yay! Happy ending….. but really, not so much. I’m not trying to be depressing, but I am trying to highlight something that is so very important. We’ve spent the last 12 days hearing about the incredible goodness of God towards us. It is unfathomable, the grace and love that He has poured out. But sometimes we don’t believe it, or we take it for granted; either way, the lives that many of us live, do not show a dying world the peace and overwhelming joy that can be found in Christ. The world doesn’t see the citizens of heaven rejoicing in the benevolence of the King to whose Kingdom they belong. They don’t see believers, who were once as blind as they are, overcome with gratefulness at the goodness of a God who binds Himself by covenant to bless such undeserving wretches as you and I. They don’t see hope in us.

I’m not trying to convict you with all of this in order to get you to give a tract to every person you meet. What I’m hoping, is that you will take a moment, like I had to, and consider: when I am with the unsaved, do I distance myself because they are unclean? Because they are gentiles, they are not of the circumcision, they are sinful…. Or, does my heart overflow with all that God has done for me, and cry out with a yearning to see them no longer shut out from the freedom found in being a citizen of Christ? Do I long to see them know the joy of being in covenant with a God of goodness and blessing? Do I care to see a glimmer of hope kindled in their dark eyes? Do I want them to know my Christ?

ephesians2 I think, that the more I am overwhelmed with the goodness of my God, the more I want others to have what I have been given. So as I go through this chapter, and think again on all He has done for me, my prayer is that He would find a dwelling place within me that would give those I come in contact with a picture of what the grace of God can do. I pray the Holy Spirit would be able to use this vessel to kindle the light of hope in those tired, darkened eyes.

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye 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:” Ephesians 2:11-12

 ~Laura

4 Comments

  1. Charity Morrison

    Wow, great post, Laura! Very challenging!

    Reply
  2. Daniel

    Hmmmmm, this has changed my perspective on life. How can I forget so easily what life was like “without Christ”?? Thank you Laura for bringing out a whole new dimension to this passage I’d never seen before.

    Reply
  3. Esther

    Thank you for this perspective on the precious people around us. Everyone has a story.

    Reply
  4. Sam

    Thanks La. Good stuff that. 🙂

    Reply

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