Marvelous Mercy - Ephesians 2:1-10

Marvelous Mercy - Ephesians 2:1-10
Season 5 Sweet Selah Moments Podcas...

 
 
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Have you marveled at mercy lately? Because it's really pretty amazing. Nicole and Sharon talk about God's great mercy toward us, and our response to it on today's podcast. Come be amazed, and find practical application for your life today.

Read the transcript for Marvelous Mercy-Ephesians 2:1-10-Episode 68

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Is your world a little crazy and off kilter at the moment, feeling a bit frazzled? Well then, you’ve found the perfect place to regain some quiet today. Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast, where we study his Word and encourage one another. The Sweet Selah Moment Podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.

Nicole (00:29):

Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. Today on episode 68, we are talking about Marvelous Mercy. We are so glad you joined us. Sharon mercy is such a beautiful word. I looked up this definition and Merriam Webster says that ‘mercy is kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly’. “He is a vicious criminal who deserves no mercy” kind of thing, or it could be kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation. I like Christianity.com’s description even better though.

Sharon (01:01):

You do? Tell me!

Nicole (01:03):

I’ll read that one next. (Sharon: Okay) They say that mercy is ‘the act of withholding deserved punishment’ while grace is ‘the act of endowing unmerited favor’. (Sharon: Huh) In his mercy, God does not give us punishment we deserve, namely hell, while in his grace, God gives us a gift we do not deserve, namely heaven.

Sharon (01:22):

Oh, what a good example of that too. So the mercy is withholding something we deserve, but the grace is actually giving something we don’t deserve.

Nicole (01:32):

Yeah! They really do go hand in hand, that mercy and grace. (Sharon: Brilliant) Yeah.

Sharon (01:34):

I really, I agree with you. I like that definition even better. So, well, mercy is a gift Nicole, to those of us who need it. And I can remember several instances in my life when I definitely needed it and was begging God to have mercy on my foolish self. (Nicole: Hmmm) I used to run the gas tank down to almost empty. Ray would be like, why? When it gets to half, you need to refill it. But oh, no no … I was always in a hurry, right?

Nicole (02:05):

Yes. And squeeze that last drop of gas out of it.

Sharon (02:07):

Right. So, and this is the days before cell phones, you know where if you do get trapped on a road, it’s not like you call for help. (Nicole: Right) There’s no phone in the car.

Nicole (02:17):

It’s so scary.

Sharon (02:20):

Oh my word. So of course this day, I’m driving far away from home; it was a deserted part of Mass Turnpike (Nicole: Oh wow) where there’s nothing but woods. (Nicole: Yeah) Nothing but woods. And there I am and I’ve run outta gas. Oh joy. So I’m sitting there saying ‘have mercy on me, Oh God’. And a police car comes up and he calls, radios, whatever they did. They had something to use in their car and I didn’t. And they get a gas station to come out and give me gas. Well I was nervous being all alone, you know, but they wouldn’t stay with me. They had other things to do. So, so then I’m left alone again. And I actually had reason to be nervous because when the gas station guy showed up, he said, you’ll need to get out of your car and help me.

Nicole (03:01):

Oh?

Sharon (03:02):

I know. I know. And I’m like twenty-three. I know. So I’m like, okay, I’ll get outta the car and help you.

Nicole (03:08):

Right. Oh no!

Sharon (03:09):

So I’m standing there and he said, you need to help me hold the gas can. So he had his hands like on mine. And then I was really begging for mercy. I mean, it could have been, let’s face it, it really could have been a very, very bad situation.

Nicole (03:23):

Oh yeah.

Sharon (03:23):

And it was because of my own foolishness. So it’s not like I didn’t deserve it. Right. If you’re gonna be that dumb over and over. So I asked for mercy from God and he gave it cause nothing happened. We filled the gas together and I got back in the car and all was fine. (Nicole: Oh, thank the Lord.) Can you believe it? I still get like these really weird creepy feelings in my tummy about that.

Nicole (03:46):

Yeah. I got nervous hearing your story. Like where’s this gonna end?

Sharon (03:49):

I know, you know, looking back at it, I’m like what a dummy to get out of the car, but I just didn’t think (Nicole: You don’t know.) So. Yeah. Yeah. So how about you? Have you ever cried, Lord, have mercy?

Nicole (03:59):

Yeah. Quite a few times. I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my life. And I just remember asking God like, help me. Please give me mercy. Especially when you realize after the dumb thing, how severe the consequences could be (Sharon: Yes) if fully unleashed and God in his grace and mercy has withheld the full blow of some of those consequences. I am so very thankful and grateful to him for that.

Sharon (04:23):

Yes. Yes.

Nicole (04:23):

You know, and it’s I think, experiencing God’s mercy firsthand, it’s really helped me kind of extend it to my kids now, you know? There’s been quite a few times where they have certainly earned the consequences of their actions and I’ve been ready to give it, but I will give them mercy cause I remember that God gave me mercy.

Sharon (04:40):

Ah, Nicole, that’s really sweet.

Nicole (04:43):

Most of the time it helps. (Sharon: Yes) I’m still working on it.

Sharon (04:47):

I love that. I do. And if they don’t get it all the time, they know that punishment sometimes comes, but (Nicole: Yes) they get the concept of mercy. (Nicole: Right) You actually deserve to not have X, Y, or Z because of what you did, I’m giving you mercy today.

Nicole (05:02):

Right. And I try to explain the mercy piece. It’s not just like getting away with whatever they want. (Sharon: Right) There’s a balance to it, you know?

Sharon (05:08):

Yeah. Yeah. That is really, really sweet. (Nicole: Mmm) So Bella, my dog, gets quite a bit of mercy. You know, she jumps up when she shouldn’t and I give her mercy and I have to say that as Grandmother now, Nina, as they call me, I give way more mercy than I did to my own children. (Nicole: Laughing) My children point that out to me. Wow. Mom, you just said yes again. (Nicole: Right) And so we have a joke that Nina has lost her ‘no’ button. (Nicole: Oh. Ahhh) I’m like, I think I’ve lost it. When the kids were, my own kids were growing up because I had the responsibility of training them (Nicole: Oh yeah) I said no.

Nicole (05:44):

That ‘no’ button’s like attached to your wrist.

Sharon (05:45):

It is. And you have to.

Nicole (05:47):

Yeah.

Sharon (05:47):

Somehow as a Nina you kind of lose it.

Nicole (05:48):

Just chuck it out the window!

Sharon (05:50):

The mercy comes into play probably more than it should.

Nicole (05:54):

I know. I can’t wait. That’ll be so fun though.

Sharon (05:56):

Oh my goodness. Well, anyways, back to Ephesians, which is what we’re supposed to be talking about. So here we go. Our passage today in Ephesians is a beautiful unpacking of both the words, mercy and grace. So before we go further, let’s review where we’ve been. Mercy is the act of withholding a deserved punishment. Grace is giving us undeserved favor or blessing beyond anything we might have earned. Both are high expressions of love, Nicole. So why don’t you start us off on our Sweet Selah Moment? Yay. The reading of God’s word is always the truest and best part of our podcast because God’s word is true. (Nicole: Mmm) We hope our words are true and good and useful. But we know God’s words are. We’re on safe and holy ground when we’re reading what he has said.

Nicole (06:45):

Absolutely. All right, today, we’re gonna be reading from Ephesians chapter 2:1-10. I’m gonna start with verse one. “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.”

Sharon (06:56):

“You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil, the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.”

Nicole (07:11):

“All of us used to live that way. Following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we are subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.”

Sharon (07:20):

“But God is so rich in mercy. And he loved us so much”

Nicole (07:28):

“That even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved.”

Sharon (07:37):

“For he raised us from dead, along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”

Nicole (07:46):

“So God can point to us in all future ages, as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”

Sharon (07:57):

“God saved you by his grace when you believed and you can’t take credit for this, it is a gift from God.”

Nicole (08:06):

“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done so none of us can boast about it.”

Sharon (08:12):

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Isn’t that beautiful?

Nicole (08:23):

I love those verses.

Sharon (08:23):

Oh man. Okay. So in chapter one where we were just a little while ago, Paul was full of thanksgiving for the people of Ephesus living in a dangerous place. We talked about his wonderful greeting of grace and peace. We spent time being amazed at how Paul reminded them of their many blessings in Christ. And then we learned how to pray ‘soul care’ prayers for people as Paul prayed for the Ephesians to understand the great power of God at work in their lives, despite their situation. So now we’re moving on to chapter two and his next thoughts. Here he wants them to fully grasp what they were saved from and how they were saved. So let’s start Nicole with the lostness. This is where he starts, the lostness of all humans without God. This is where he begins. So can you read verses one through four again? And let’s see where we were before Christ.

Nicole (09:16):

Mm. “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil, the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature, we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.”

Sharon (09:42):

Oiy! (Nicole: Eh) Yeah. I know it. That part about the devil, you’re obeying the devil, the commander of the powers of the unseen world. He’s the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse obey God.

Nicole (09:53):

Serious stuff.

Sharon (09:55):

Yowsers, (Nicole: Yeah) I don’t like talking about the devil. I prefer talking about Jesus.

Nicole (09:59):

I agree.

Sharon (10:00):

However, Paul’s talking about him here. He’s pulling no punches. (Nicole: Mm) He says all of us before Christ live in sin, obeying the devil.

Nicole (10:08):

Wow.

Sharon (10:09):

Nicole, that’s just downright awful.

Nicole (10:10):

It really is.

Sharon (10:12):

I don’t think that people who don’t know Christ, most of them anyway would see it that way. (Nicole: Right) It’s not, it’s a hidden thing. But according to Ephesians 2:2 the devil is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who don’t know God. He’s the one that tempts us to be bad, basically. (Nicole: Yeah) So here’s some of the ways he does it. I’m familiar with these from painful personal experience. He’s the one that whispers ‘you didn’t deserve that kind of treatment, that person needs to be taught a lesson. Stand up for yourself and kick em back’, basically. Right. (Nicole: Oh, yeah) I mean, that’s what he says in your ear. (Nicole: Yep) So what are some other ways the devil tempts us to give way to our sinful natures?

Nicole (10:51):

Oh, I think he’s also really good at getting us to complain.

Sharon (10:55):

Oh, that’s true.

Nicole (10:55):

Like, ‘I didn’t deserve that’ or ‘I deserve better. I’m better than that’. Just kind of getting those little seeds of (Sharon: Digs in) like discontentment, you know, if you can get that in there in all of our areas of our life that can lead to a number of sins, if you don’t think you have what you deserve, not a good enough house or husband (Sharon: True) anything, you know?

Sharon (11:13):

That coveting thing gets in there then too.

Nicole (11:15):

Yes, and you’re led to wander away. (Sharon: Yeah, yeah!) And then pride, you know, I think thinking that we did or we earned what we have, that we don’t need God; anything he can to keep us from talking to God, you know, he’s really good at that.

Sharon (11:28):

That’s so true. Yeah. Yeah. It’s so true. He does. He keeps us from talking to God. Isn’t that interesting that you say that because you’re right. He wants us to be busy thinking about other people.

Nicole (11:40):

Yes.

Sharon (11:40):

Our own offended-ness.

Nicole (11:42):

Right. What you need or whatever crisis is around, anything he can to get us off of Jesus.

Sharon (11:47):

Yeah, even how good we are. (Nicole: Yeah) Right?

Nicole (11:50):

Oh yeah.

Sharon (11:51):

Anything that keeps us from actually being in God’s presence.

Nicole (11:54):

Absolutely.

Sharon (11:55):

Because when we’re with actual God, in prayer, in the Word, that’s, that’s when we’re stripped bare of pretense and we’re the most us.

Nicole (12:04):

Because we can’t fake it in front of God, you know?

Sharon (12:06):

No.

Nicole (12:06):

But it’s, it’s amazing. Did you ever, you’ve read “The Screw Tape Letters”, that book by C.S. Lewis?

Sharon (12:11):

Oh yes.

Nicole (12:11):

It’s so fascinating to see. If you haven’t read it, people out there listening, it’s really interesting. It’s a letter from, like a, high-up demon who had a nephew he’s training, but had to torment this particular man, I think he was a new Christian, I believe.

Sharon (12:26):

Yeah. He becomes a Christian shortly after Screw Tape Letters begins and he is like, ‘rats, he accepted Christ despite all my best efforts now what do I do?

Nicole (12:34):

That’s right. But it’s so fascinating to read the methods they use to distract him and to keep him from growing in his faith. And some of them are not blatant, outright, terrible things. (Sharon: No) And that’s what’s frightening is that that Satan can use things that we would think were good. (Sharon: Right) or think ourselves too good. And then we just, we take our eyes off of God.

Sharon (12:52):

Yeah. Yeah. You know what, even when we pray, if we’re not careful, we can be like, oh, please be with that poor person over there who has this terrible problem with this and that.

Nicole (13:04):

Oh, I know. Yes.

Sharon (13:04):

And the little pride creeps in (Nicole: Yeah) as we’re praying, you know? So yeah. Really good book to see the subtlety of some of the attacks of the enemy.

Nicole (13:13):

It’s very eye-opening.

Sharon (13:14):

Yeah. And it’s good for us to remember that we get attacked.

Nicole (13:17):

They’re actively coming at us, yeah, Absolutely.

Sharon (13:20):

You know, it’s interesting to me that we think we’re so independent, but in reality, there’s this whole spiritual side of things not seen that are pushing us toward doing wrong and helping us justify bad decisions in our mind. I think if we could actually see the forces of darkness and light fighting, we wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Nicole (13:38):

I think it would terrify us half to death.

Sharon (13:40):

Yes. I’m really, really glad we don’t see them. And I think that’s nice of God, actually.

Nicole (13:43):

Yeah. He knows our minds can’t handle it.

Sharon (13:46):

Until heaven, the veil is not taken away and that’s a good thing. It’s enough for me to know they’re there. I think we’re all prone to different temptations. And I have a friend who wrestles with coveting actually. (Nicole: Mmm) She, if she goes to a nicer home than hers, she immediately wants it. And she has to really nip that in the bud or it could consume her thinking. (Nicole: Oh yeah) You know, oh, I wish my kitchen was like that. Or, you know, whatever the thing was. And if she’s not careful and not turning to count blessings, the devil has a field day.

Nicole (14:13):

Oh yeah.

Sharon (14:14):

You know? I have that with worry, you know, I think the worst thing is gonna happen even though it’s the most unlikely.

Nicole (14:21):

Right.

Sharon (14:22):

So silly. (Nicole: I know) So I have to nip it in the bud by turning my worries into prayer right away, because then I’m back in direct contact with God (Nicole: Right) as I’m praying about it. And that calms me and it keeps me from being foolish.

Nicole (14:35):

Mmm, you’re right.

Sharon (14:36):

So how about you and especially Nicole with you and kids? How do you talk about the devil with your children without freaking them out, but still letting them know that there’s an enemy out there that’s gonna try to wield power in their lives. (Nicole: Right) How do you do that?

Nicole (14:52):

It’s, it’s a tough balance, cause you want them to know that he’s real and exists. That they can be aware cause he’s going after them too if they have Jesus in their heart. (Sharon: Yes) He’s gonna try to tempt them still. (Sharon: Right) So it’s, I try to let them know the seriousness about it, without scaring them half to death, but it’s not something we should ignore either. I kind of started out with, you know, Satan hates God. So, and because we’re God’s children now he hates us. So he’s trying to get us away from God. And the whole thing about sin is that Satan tries to make it seem really fun, but he doesn’t care about their well being.

Sharon (15:23):

At all.

Nicole (15:24):

So even though it seems fun, he doesn’t care if the sin’s gonna hurt them, he hopes it does. He, it keeps them from God and that God in, you know, contrast that really does love us. Even though sometimes, the rules or the commandments might seem not as fun, they’re because he loves us and wants to keep them safe.

Sharon (15:41):

Right. Right. Right.

Nicole (15:42):

And then if they seem nervous, there’s that verse. Um, it was a song I learned in VBS years ago as a kid, but it was Psalm 91:11: for he will give, he will order his angels to protect you wherever you will go.

Sharon (15:52):

Aww.

Nicole (15:52):

So it’s not just, you know, God’s got an army too, that he’s protecting us.

Sharon (15:56):

His angels are right around you. Yes.

Nicole (15:59):

Yes. And don’t worry. Like God is always with you and watching and Satan isn’t; he can’t constantly be with you. (Sharon: Right) But just be aware little ones.

Sharon (16:05):

Yes, yes, yes. Yeah. It’s not just your own sinfulness. It’s also the tempter that’s saying, you would be better off doing it this way. (Nicole: Yeah) Right. And he’s totally untrustworthy so you can’t listen to a thing he says. You know, back in that garden with poor ole Eve, she lost paradise because she’s like, ‘Really? This fruit is good. I did not know.’ (Nicole: Right) You’ve gotta listen carefully to the Holy Spirit. So, you know, I’ve heard that even children’s fairy tales are helpful for kids. You know, you think like, oh my goodness, the wicked witch, that’s too scary for little kids, but helping kids process good and evil when they’re tiny in the home with you is way more better than giving them this false idea of the world that everything’s always nice and always good and always safe just cause you try to make it always nice and good and safe in your own home.

Nicole (16:55):

Right.

Sharon (16:56):

Bad things are out there. (Nicole: Yeah) And they have to gradually, I mean that’s part of the job of a parent, to gradually make them aware of the bad things and how God is still greater.

Nicole (17:07):

Yeah.

Sharon (17:08):

But they, they gotta know. They gotta know about them.

Nicole (17:10):

Yeah, absolutely.

Sharon (17:10):

Good job, Nicole.

Nicole (17:12):

We’re trying.

Sharon (17:13):

It’s a hard life teaching kids. It really is.

Nicole (17:16):

It is. Yeah.

Sharon (17:17):

Well back to the passage, this is our state without Christ basically. We’ve got, even now we’re still tempted by the devil, but before Christ, he’s the one controlling us. He’s the one we’re obeying. There is no Holy Spirit in us to say ‘watch out’. Right?

Nicole (17:32):

Right. And to try to put us in the right direction.

Sharon (17:34):

So we’re really in a worse state and we already have a tendency to be selfish and want our own ways without a tempter. All of us, cause of that awful little sin nature thing. We tend to take offense when no offense was meant because we’re very sensitive about ourselves. We get jealous, we wanna hurt those who hurt us. We wanna always look like we’re the best and the brightest and look awesome to other people. You know, none of us wanna look terrible. Right? (Nicole: No) Yeah. So we have all these things, even if we don’t commit mass murder, which most of us don’t, our hearts are still wicked. (Nicole: Yeah) So it’s not that hard for Satan to tempt us and we’re prone to selfishness anyways. Right? (Nicole: Yeah) So we are way more focused on getting our own way than on serving others. We need God. I mean, this is sort of the main point here. Paul’s like, y’all need, people that don’t have Christ need God. And the Ephesians, like us, were in darkness until they came to Christ. And as you pointed out at the beginning, they lived in a city of darkness where worship of idols was predominant. And that big temple to Diana was looming over them every minute of every day. So they were in darkness. So he’s reminding them, this is what you were before Christ.

Nicole (18:50):

Right.

Sharon (18:51):

So he reminds them in those first four verses what it’s like to be led by emotions and fears instead of this new way that they now have through the Spirit. And I feel like we should move on to the new way. Goodness, that was way enough time to give the devil. Let’s move on to the good news. So I’m gonna read this. It’s the ‘marvelous mercy’ parts.

Nicole (19:09):

Oh yay.

Sharon (19:10):

Yeah. I know. Ephesians 2:4-7, this is what you tell your kids after you said there’s a devil. You’re like, but God.

Nicole (19:16):

But God, my favorite two words.

Sharon (19:19):

I know isn’t it fun. I love that’s how it starts.

Nicole (19:20):

Wait for it.

Sharon (19:20):

So here we go. “But God is so rich in mercy and he loved us so much that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved. For he raised us from the dead, along with Christ, and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages, as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.” (Nicole: Hmm) I love that this part begins with a declaration that God is rich in mercy, not just a little mercy, like you know, we dole it out sometimes stingily. (Nicole: Laughing) What do you think this means, this rich in mercy thing?

Nicole (20:15):

It’s just like an abundance. It’s not stingy. It’s like just saturation of mercy. You think of like a rich chocolate cake and like you know, chocolate is everywhere on it. You think of rich mercy. (Sharon: Yeah) It’s just like, you can’t get away from it.

Sharon (20:27):

Isn’t that beautiful?

Nicole (20:28):

It’s through the whole part of it.

Sharon (20:29):

I love it.

Nicole (20:30):

I love this. That was such a beautiful part. And when I see this, it just makes me wanna cry a little, you know, I think back to when I was younger and did something wrong and that horrible feeling of like impending discipline coming or just feeling so ashamed that I’d messed up again, you know? But to see that and know that God, isn’t just this big angry, mean God who loves to hurt and punish us. And, but he, he leads with that rich mercy and great love for us. (Sharon: Yeah) So we know that what follows, that truly is for our own good because of God who loves us that much, isn’t going to make, try to make our lives miserable.

Sharon (21:02):

No, he’s not. Isn’t that nice?

Nicole (21:03):

It’s out of love that he disciplines and you know, doesn’t that just draw you to him?

Sharon (21:09):

Yes it does. Yes it does.

Nicole (21:11):

You know, I just think I want to obey and serve a God like this because I won’t, I won’t get a better offer anywhere else.

Sharon (21:16):

No, you won’t. No, you won’t.

Nicole (21:17):

It’s pretty good.

Sharon (21:18):

It’s wonderful. It really is. And that’s why coming to God and asking forgiveness is not the scary thing it can be when you’re talking to a person you’ve wronged. When you talk to a person you’ve wronged because they have free will, even a very nice, good Christian person, you’re never sure what their response is going to be if you’ve hurt and wounded them. Because the human part of them, the selfish part of them may come out and they might say, well, I’ll forgive you, but what you did to me and they might list it all over again and humiliate you again with it.

Nicole (21:49):

Right.

Sharon (21:49):

Or they might say, I know I need to forgive you, but I can’t yet. You know, all those things. (Nicole: Oh yeah) And it makes it really hard to go to them and say, I’m sorry, because you don’t know what you’re gonna get.

Nicole (21:57):

It’s true.

Sharon (21:58):

You know? And I always like to get niceness and you don’t always know, but here’s the thing about this rich mercy, every time we go to God.

Nicole (22:08):

Matter how bad, no matter how often.

Sharon (22:09):

What is that? Every time when we say, we’re sorry, he floods us with forgiveness. And he holds us close. I, the picture of that prodigal son with his memorized speech to the father, oh, I’m not willing to be called your son, make me a servant in your home, blah, blah. You know, he’s got it all recited. And his father’s like hugging him and kissing him.

Nicole (22:29):

Right, like ‘shush, you’re home’.

Sharon (22:31):

Having a feast. Let’s have a party. And he doesn’t give the lecture. Because the kid knew. I mean, I think if it wasn’t sincere, it might have gone differently, but the kid was sorry.

Nicole (22:42):

Yeah.

Sharon (22:42):

And God is rich in mercy. So we never have to run away from that.

Nicole (22:47):

That’s so nice.

Sharon (22:48):

I kind of went off on that one a long time, but I just love it. I love it. I love how this section is actually book ended with words like rich and mercy and incredible wealth of his grace and kindness. God is so much nicer than we deserve. He really is. He loves us and made a way for us to have a relationship with him. Perfect love. And we tend to spend our days on lesser things that don’t even matter.

Nicole (23:11):

I know, that’s so sad.

Sharon (23:14):

Well, the last three verses are probably the most famous in this section. We’ve heard about the darkness. Now we’ve just sort of danced about with joy, at the richness of mercy. Finish it up, Nicole. Read Ephesians 2:8-10.

Nicole (23:27):

Alright. “God saved you by his grace when you believed and you can’t take credit for this. It is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done. So none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Sharon (23:48):

I love how Paul’s really blunt here. You can’t take credit for this he says. (Nicole: Yeah) Which is good because if you had to earn it, there’d be a lot of pressure to (Nicole: Oh, gosh, we’d never make it!) make sure you’d really earned it.

Nicole (23:58):

We’d never make it if we had to earn it. Good glory.

Sharon (24:00):

Exactly, but we don’t. We might wanna take the credit to say, you know, but we can’t.

Nicole (24:03):

Right.

Sharon (24:04):

None of it. And Paul makes it clear.

Nicole (24:06):

He does. He says it twice. He says, it is a gift and you can’t earn it. So there’s no way we, and don’t boast about it. (Sharon: That’s right, there’s no reason to boast.) Listen, guys. Right.

Sharon (24:15):

So if Paul had stopped at verse nine, “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we’ve done. So none of us can boast.” We’d be like, well, we don’t deserve it and we got it. We could just kick back and be spoiled, but oh, that would be wrong. I love that. After he’s established that we can’t earn it he tells us we still have stuff to do. I really love this. First, we have to know that it was all his gift. Then we go on to doing work for him. Not from earning, but because we were created for it. It’s so cool. I love that Paul calls us God’s masterpiece. What is that? We’re a masterpiece?

Nicole (24:52):

I know.

Sharon (24:53):

Other translations say we’re workmanship or literally God’s poem.

Nicole (24:57):

Oh, I like that.

Sharon (24:58):

Yeah. Isn’t that nice.

Nicole (24:59):

That’s beautiful.

Sharon (25:00):

Poiema is what it is in the Greek. (Nicole: Wow) You’re God’s poem, Nicole. And poems, I know cause I write them, you don’t just whip ’em off.

Nicole (25:08):

Right.

Sharon (25:09):

It takes time and effort to craft a poem and find those right words. So the idea is that he didn’t just throw us together quickly, with band aids. (Nicole: Right) He crafted us like Michelangelo crafted the statue of David.

Nicole (25:24):

Wow.

Sharon (25:25):

He took his time over us. (Nicole: Right) He made us with intent. We’re pretty special. (Nicole: Hmm) Isn’t that neat?

Nicole (25:31):

That is neat.

Sharon (25:31):

It’s hard for us to envision that at times. And sometimes it can be hard to get across to teenagers and preteens, especially. (Nicole: Yeah) I really hated my face, as a teen.

Nicole (25:41):

Oh!

Sharon (25:42):

Oh, my goodness. I thought my nose was just so huge that when people looked at me, all they saw was this honking big nose.

Nicole (25:46):

Oh, no, I love your face!

Sharon (25:48):

I hated, I hated the way my eyes close when I laugh. I’m like, that is so obnoxious. Why can’t my eyes stay open when I smile? So I thought I looked weird in every picture. You know, that kind of thing? I had buck teeth. I thought they made me look goofy. I just didn’t feel like a masterpiece! I really had to know these words so I could believe it.

Nicole (26:08):

Right.

Sharon (26:08):

So how about you?

Nicole (26:11):

I was with you on some of those descriptions. I was a pretty awkward kid too. And I remember, I didn’t, I really didn’t feel like anyone’s masterpiece. Oh, and it’s hard because you don’t wanna pass on those insecurities to your kiddos either.

Sharon (26:24):

Right. Right.

Nicole (26:24):

I actually have four daughters. So I, I try to tell the girls how special they are and how God created them just as they are for a purpose.

Sharon (26:31):

He did.

Nicole (26:31):

He did that with intent, he didn’t just, oh, okay. I have a couple kids here. He crafted them. (Sharon: Yeah) And especially now in a world where they’re told they can change themselves in any different way if they’re not happy with who God made them, I just want them so badly to understand that God loved them and chose them to make them just the way they are. And that it wasn’t a mistake, but a careful design.

Sharon (26:50):

Purposeful.

Nicole (26:51):

For a purpose. Yes.

Sharon (26:52):

Exactly.

Nicole (26:53):

And my favorite verse, I try to share this with the girls too, in Psalm 139:13-14, “You made all of my delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” And then the end of verse 14 says, ‘your workmanship’, which is probably similar to that ‘masterpiece’. “Your workmanship is marvelous. How well I know it.” So because I’m a big knitter and all my kiddos are learning it too. It creates this physical picture of God and his care in making us, you know? Like writing a poem, it takes a lot of attention to detail, to knit and there’s these little tiny stitches to get just right. So what a beautiful picture of God, you know, very carefully designing, cell by cell and creating a beautiful masterpiece that he loved enough to die for, to save. So I just, I hope that as they get older, you know, this is probably gonna get shaken as the world gets louder around them. But I try to tell them that as often as I can, when they’re still little and hope, it kinda like sinks in, you know?

Sharon (27:45):

Oh, let them know this. It’s the most beautiful thing. It really is.

Nicole (27:48):

Cause if you have that, if you can hold that knowledge in your heart?

Sharon (27:51):

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Nicole (27:51):

You’re his masterpiece? Man, it can be unstoppable for them.

Sharon (27:54):

Yeah. And, and then you have confidence in your personality. If God made you, you know, tough? (Nicole: Yes) Why he made you tough for a reason! And you use that toughness to get things done and that boldness. If he made you gentle? He made you that way for a reason. It brings me back to the body of Christ and how the different parts are all necessary.

Nicole (28:15):

Yes.

Sharon (28:15):

You know, we can’t all be chatty types. (Nicole: Right) We can’t all be quiet types. We need, we need all types.

Nicole (28:21):

Absolutely.

Sharon (28:22):

We really do. And it’s working together that makes it so beautiful. This is a beautiful passage.

Nicole (28:28):

It is. I do love it.

Sharon (28:29):

Absolutely love it. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. (Nicole: Yes) So I’m gonna start with prayer or end with prayer now and just thank the Lord. Father, how we thank you for rich mercy, not little tiny bits of it. God, thank you that when I’ve sinned and feel so ashamed, I know that you’re gonna welcome me back. I know that you’re gonna wash away the guilt and the shame. You’re gonna make me new again and fresh and clean. Lord, this is the very, very good news that you give us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and we celebrate it today on this podcast. Thank you. And thank you that not only did you create us, and give us this mercy, but you made us with purpose. We’re poems. Father, help our, our rhyme to, be beautiful for you. Help we little masterpieces to fulfill the purpose for which you made us. Lord help us to be acquainted with our personalities and our bodies, and know that nothing was done by mistake and show us how we can live out that purpose. Not out of some feeling of earning because we can’t, but out of gratitude to you and out of the sheer joy of being who you made us to be. Father, thank you for this passage. Thank you for your mercy, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Nicole (30:17):

Amen. Thanks so much for joining us today. You can find us at Sweetselah.org/podcast, and we always love to hear from you. If you want to join our podcast partner group donate any amount at Sweetselah.org/donations and write ‘podcast partner’ on the line. We’d love your help in keeping this podcast going. We’d also love your reviews. Help us get seen more by sharing our podcast with others and writing about it. We’d really appreciate it. And come back next week for episode 69. We’re calling this episode, We Are In This Together.

Speaker 1 (30:52):

We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is a cooperative production of Word, Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be found at SweetSelah.org. Thank you for joining us.

 

You can view and download the transcript here.

2 Responses to “Marvelous Mercy - Ephesians 2:1-10”

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  1. Marsha says:

    Nicole & Sharon,
    Thank you for such a sweet time in God's Word.

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