Devotional: May 12, 2020
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—
Ephesians 2: 4-8
The message and meaning of Easter are woven throughout the New Testament. In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul reminds the Ephesians of several important truths. Among them are the following:
-God loves us with a “great love”
-When we were dead in our sins, we were made alive with Christ
-We are saved by grace, not our works
-We are raised with Christ, and seated with him in heaven,
(someday we will know this to be true!)
-Our salvation is a gift from God, not something we have earned
The early Christian church developed a tradition to honor and reinforce the meaning of this passage. Those who desired to join the church were instructed in the faith throughout the year, but it was often only on Easter itself, the Day of Resurrection, when they were received into the church.
On that day, those who were baptized, were immersed in water, baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. When they emerged up out of the water, still dripping wet, it was a symbolic visualization of our salvation. In baptism, we die to our sins. They are dead to us. When we place our faith in Jesus, we are raised with Him to new life. As each person being baptized emerged from the water, they became a symbol of Christ emerging from the grave, offering new life to all. Our lives can be changed forever through Jesus Christ.
Often, the Easter morning baptisms of those joining the church would take place at dawn. The dawning of a new day reinforced the truth that just as the dark of night gives way to a new day, so sin gives way to new life, through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, we are all looking forward to the eventual ending of this dark time. n a sense we are all yearning for that Easter morning. Our lives are solid, built on the rock of our salvation. However, we are entering into a whole new way of life. In many ways, the life we knew before will never be the same.
As those who were baptized in Christ and were moved to change their ways, so we will be making changes in our lives. I am not speaking about our spiritual ways. Jesus is the steady rock of our salvation.
As we open our doors, and move back into our lives, some things will be forever changed. This pandemic has had a lasting impact on our lives. We will be called to change some of our behaviors for the safety and health of others. These changes will be new ways for us to show kindness and care for those who are more vulnerable.
Through Christ, we are spiritually free, liberated and energized with the truth of the gospel. Christ has not changed, but we do change for the better, through Him. Life is never constant, but Christ is.
Those who enter into the life changing waters of Christian baptism begin to walk with Him, through every moment of their life. We are not alone as we begin to take new steps in new ways. No matter how old or young we may be, we are never alone. Praise God!
God of grace,
Thank you for saving us, while we were dead in our sin. We rejoice in the amazing news that we are raised with Christ, through our faith in Him. We are eternally grateful for this gift of salvation. We offer this prayer of gratitude in the name of the one by whom we are raised and saved, Your son and our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.