With Hope

“Without hope and without God in the world.”

This was Paul’s way of describing the Gentile experience. Would he possibly describe the modern person without God in the same way?

“Overflowing with hope.”

That is my reading of the substance of Paul’s words to the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 2:11-22).

Paul used one succinct verse (Ephesians 2:12) to describe a life lived without God and a magnificent paragraph (Ephesians 2:13-22) to describe the wonder of a life lived with God. In a sense, Paul’s descriptions give us the meaning of each. The life lived without God is brief, dead, and empty. The life lived with God is full, significant, and alive.

What does Paul say about the life in Christ? One passage cannot contain the splendor of knowing Christ. I suggest that you read Paul’s other letters, particularly passages such as 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 2:20 and 5:22-23, to get more of what he experienced when he received Christ.

The following ideas describe the blessings which the Gentiles found in Christ:

First, their new life in Christ brought peace between Jew and Gentile. In Christ, God broke gdown the wall of hostility.

Second, they were freed from the demands of the law with its onerous requirements.

Third, the cross of Christ brought peace with God. No longer would these Gentiles live at enmity with their Creator.

Fourth, the cross opened the way to God and gave both Jew and Gentile access to the Father. Some theologians call Ephesians 2:18 the “trinity of experience.” In Christ, we are brought to the Father through the Spirit.

Finally, in Christ Gentiles become part of the household of faith.

These beautiful words also describe our wonderful relationship with God. His work on the cross opens the way to God, making peace with Him and peace with other people. This passage makes clear that we are not simply stuck with faulty relationships. Through Christ, we may make peace with the people around us.

By the power of the cross, we are brought into the family of God where we experience the healing power of community and family.

In Christ, we get both God and hope.

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2 Comments


  1. Ed Matthew
    Mar 20, 2012

    Ah, the community of His Family. Is that where everyone is members one of another? The missing step, except on special occasions. Missed you this morning. Jay shared an “I will” word study of Genesis. In prayer afterward I silently prayed, “Oh Lord, we are a wicked and perverse generation that thinks we can legislate morality. Let the scales fall from our eyes that we may see Your Perfect Will for us.” And then I thought, put the scales back on my eyes that the sadness and frustration I experience (when I get a glimpse of your intention) will stop. Yes: red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His Sight. For they are called with a Purpose as unrealized as am I. Being Saved is part one of a three part series. Saved for an eternity to realize our commission of the sin of omission. Then again, perhaps those are the ones You spoke of Lord who will say, “Lord, Lord..”

    As I understood Jay this morning, God holds the power for His People to claim, for His Glory. AMEN!

    Thanks, all good reasons to come to Him!


  2. Ed Matthew
    Mar 20, 2012

    For the last 6 of 8 years I have served as Secretary for the JPDEC.
    Yes, that is the Jefferson Parish Democratic Executive Committee. About now if there is anyone reading this, they are likely thinking or saying to themselves, “Well, that explains it!” (More about that thought later.) Tonight I was asked to stay on and serve. Several years ago the Chairman of the Committee in the interest of fairness and “separation of church and State” elected to observe a “moment of reflection” instead of an opening prayer. When the election cycle came around several months ago I stated that as long as the Committee was not invoking the guidance and Blessing of God after the example of Benjamin Franklin when his Motion was adopted by the Continental Congress, then I would no longer serve when my term ended. Tonight was the last meeting before the new organizational meeting in April; my current position will be a vacant position then. When asked to serve tonight, I reminded them of my previous statement and then also proclaimed the sovereignty of God (need for invoking Providence with Prayer) in Hebrew and Arabic to make my point clear that I was not imposing just a personal condition but a Constitutional one. This approach did not apparently work some years ago when I revealed in a report to the Board the positive successes achieved in my various offices for then my 5th year on the Board of Jefferson Council of Aging was the result of applying Biblical Principles. Immediately as you put it, the shark was jumped. My sixth and last year, the new political related members of the Board removed me via the nominating committee from all leadership positions. Go figure. Interesting how things are developing for them since.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Verse of the Day

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. — 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NIV)