This Sunday Drew Steele, from Gilnahirk Baptist, joined us for Association Sunday, reminding us of the goodness of the good news from Ephesians 2:1 -10.
Drew began by thinking about ‘good news’ in general and two of its defining characteristics:
Firstly, we recognise good news when we see it in comparison to bad news: for example, the good news of peace breaking through in comparison to the conflict it replaces or the blessing of health in comparison to the suffering of illness. We understand and appreciate good news much more when we have a better grasp of the alternative. And in Jesus, we are not only saved from something, we are also saved for something.
Secondly, we recognise and appreciate good news when it is personal for us. We may be delighted to hear of someone else’s passed exam or promotion – but our enjoyment of their news and its significance for us fades over time. However, if it’s our exam success or our promotion, then our appreciation of its goodness only grows! As Drew reminded us, the good news of Jesus IS personal. It is FOR you. It is FOR me.
Drew offered us a summary of Ephesians 2: 1-10 in just two words:
God brings complete transformation, entirely new life to those who trust Him. The good news of Jesus is transforming us. Drew focused our attention on 3 transformations from these verses:
1. BUT GOD transforms us from being dead to being alive.
This is the state of every single one of us before Christ. Spiritual death – eternal death – is our default state. And we don’t get to judge what sins matter, if we’re ‘good enough’ or ‘better than …’. Judgement is the unique right of the holy and just God, the King of the Universe. Not only are we guilty of sin, we are dead in it. BUT GOD intervenes and
As Romans declares,
2. BUT GOD transforms us from deserving wrath to being given mercy.
Sin is a great offence against God. We turn our backs on His good design for us. Sin deserves death – wrath. But God being ‘rich in mercy’ offers us mercy:
This movement has nothing to do with us. It’s all about Jesus! He has taken the wrath so that God can offer us mercy. Jesus comes for us while we are helpless in our spiritual death. He takes the wrath we deserve so He can give us the mercy we don’t.
3. BUT GOD transforms us from trying to earn God’s favour to being given grace
The awful and wonderful truth is that we can never earn God’s favour! This is not a self-improvement programme. We can’t make ourselves better, less sinful, good enough. Mercy cannot be earned. It is on offer to all – precisely because it’s not about being worthy to receive God’s grace! As Drew put it, at the foot of the cross it’s all level ground. We’re all equally ‘qualified’ by our disqualification: we are all dead in sin and utterly dependent on the free gift of Jesus. His sacrifice IS enough. We only need to accept Jesus’ free gift of grace and follow Him. God’s grace is given; it is never earned.
- God offers us Life instead of Death, Mercy instead of Wrath, Grace-given instead of a life trying to earn what cannot be earned. What do you choose?
- If you have chosen to follow Jesus, be encouraged by the goodness of this good news and remember what you have been saved from and for.
- If you have not yet met Jesus, will you accept His invitation and follow Him?
If you would like to find out more about what it means to accept this invitation and follow Jesus, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org