Anthem Denver is part a family of churches. The Anthem family of churches is united around shared mission, vision, values, and submission to the Lordship of King Jesus.
The writings of Paul in Ephesians 2 have been very life giving to me this week. I saw a common flow within this chapter in which Paul states a worldly realization or fact, and then follows it up with how God has intervened on our behalf. These interventions demonstrate God’s remarkable love and care for us.
The first realization that struck me is that “we were by nature objects of wrath . . . gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature.” And then Paul follows this statement with, “But because of his great love for us . . . he made us alive with Christ.” Before Christ, we were objects of wrath, following sin around as if it owned us. I love how Paul worded this phrase in the past tense: “we were by nature objects of wrath.” But then God gave us life, ending our enslavement to our own sin. God wasn’t content. God wasn’t done with us. God stepped in to free us.
The second worldly realization is regarding the Gentiles (those who aren’t Jewish). Paul calls out the uncircumcised Gentiles and says, “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” I can’t imagine life without God—how lost I would feel. I am not Jewish, so hearing this got my mind spinning on how fortunate I am to be living now. Most non-Jewish people were without hope, without access to all of who God is (provider, comforter, good father, strong warrior, etc.). Then God intervened: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” God’s message to these Gentiles was that they are no longer aliens, “But fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” Once again, God interrupted and tore the curtain dividing us from him. Two thousand years ago, God changed things permanently to allow me access to him in a deep and intimate way. It is a demonstration of God’s love for us that he did not just break down the barrier between us, he called us to be with him. God took action to invite us in as his children.
Ephesians 2 displays God’s intention for us. God gives us titles/identities within this chapter that shouldn’t be missed. He doesn’t just write on top of our identity, adding on to what was there. He scrapes off every speck of our false identity to display us as saved and brought near as children of God.
God is teaching me to absorb and adopt the identities that he has given me. I still struggle to comprehend the generosity of God. I don’t deserve being saved or loved, let alone being part of his family, but he chose me and wants me. He erased my previous identities of sinful, broken, and prideful, and replaced them. There is no going back to my old identities for he has rid me of them. God has intervened on my behalf to call me redeemed and loved.