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Monday, December 12, 2016

Shackled No More! (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5)

"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins . . . but God, who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ."

The sinful nature is like a pair of handcuffs that keeps people enslaved to sin, not just in deed but in desire and thought.

Paul describes this slavery as one of helplessly "gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature" and following its desires and thoughts". So, the sinful nature has cravings, cravings that manifest themselves in:
  • Unrighteous sensual pleasure (impurity, fornication, pornography, adultery, drunkenness and orgies, etc.)
  • Unhealthy social interaction (hatred, discord, jealousy, anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy)
  • Unwholesome quest for spiritual power (idolatry, witchcraft, horoscope, physic healers and readers, etc.)
The sin nature, with its desires and thoughts, has a death grip on mankind. Those who've heard and believed the good news of Jesus Christ have been liberated. Paul says, "Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ" We've been "raised up with Christ and seated with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." A greater power, the power of the resurrected Christ, now inhabits believers so that the believer can experience freedom from the sin nature's power to control him.

Believers are released from sin and shame; they are shackled no more to sin and bondage. Those with the new nature have power over the cravings of the sinful nature, can find real pleasure in Christ, develop wholesome relationships, and experience the power of the resurrected Christ.

A sin-shackled Christian poorly reflects on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to free man from the penalty of sin and the power of sin. He gives life - abundant life!

Take a few moments and listen to the song in the following link. You will be blessed.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Acts 28:11-31
  • Describe Paul's jail activity. How does Paul view his internment?
Ephesians 1:1-3:21
  • What does Paul's jail time allow him time to do?
  • List the spiritual blessings believers have "in Christ".
  • What are the contents of Paul's prayer on behalf of the Ephesian believers?
  • The same power that raised Christ from the dead raises the believer from the dead. How does Paul describe that death from which we are delivered?
  • How does he describe the life we are raised up to experience?
  • Why is the gospel such good news for believing Gentiles?
  • Why does Paul ask the Lord to give believers power?
  • What does this prayer tell us about God's desire for His people?
  • Upon what does he base his confident prayer?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the glorious Father for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better, that He would enlighten your eyes in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, that you may know the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomparable power.