It is easy to think that we are not good enough for God. I can often go a whole day without spending a good length of time in prayer. I can lose my temper over something trivial. I can miss a thousand opportunities to show kindness to a stranger or share Jesus with someone. All of this is regular enough to be embarrassing. And I’m training to be a pastor!
And when I have a particularly bad day, I feel even less qualified to come to God in prayer. Even though I know the truth, I wonder how a holy God can love a sinner like me.
Yet, whenever I feel this way, I’m essentially forgetting the Good News the Bible offers. On my own, I’m certainly not “good enough” for God—it is Jesus who makes me good enough for God.
Paul is emphatic about this truth in today’s passage from Ephesians 2:1-10. He opens the chapter by using the phrase “dead in your sins” (v. 1), making it clear that before the Ephesians were Christians, they were not “halfway there”, not “doing their best”, not “full of potential”.
They were dead. Lifeless. Not respondent.
Spiritually, that is. Of course, Christian or not, we all live, move, and breathe; that is why Paul says “you were dead in your sins, in which you used to live…” (v. 1). He is not contradicting himself here; he is describing an existence devoid of any spiritual life. In other words, before we become Christians, we are completely unresponsive to God. Dead in our sins, we are no more able to know, appreciate, or worship God than a plank of wood is able to appreciate a beautiful concerto.
Seems harsh! But Paul wants the Ephesians to see just how much trouble Jesus has rescued them from, and how far they have come. Becoming a Christian is not mere self-improvement—it is about being fundamentally transformed and brought to life!
When we become Christians, we are united to Jesus by the Spirit. And just as Jesus was resurrected from the dead and exalted in heaven, so, too, has God “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms” (v. 6)! This is not a metaphor; this is a spiritual reality!
And, even if you and I feel, on occasion, that we are not good enough for God—here’s what’s far more important: Your status before God is given to you by the risen Jesus, just as your destiny and identity are entwined with His. It isn’t dependent on how we feel, and it’s not something we can earn. Your life is guaranteed with Jesus’s. He loves you and has done a mighty work for you “… because of his great love for us” (v. 4).
And now that we are spiritually alive in Christ, we are empowered to know God, to grow more like Jesus each day, and to “do good works” that would draw others into His kingdom (v. 10). We don’t earn our Christianity by trying to be good people. But having become Christians, God gives us the dignity of working with Him in His great work on earth.
So whether we feel “good enough” or not, He now looks on us as His treasured “handiwork” (v. 10) or masterpiece in Christ! Just as people flock to a gallery to see a stunning sculpture, the world can look to us to see the spectacular kindness and love of God.
Meditate on this richly; may we walk into each new day filled with a humble confidence that we’ve been made wonderfully alive by Jesus!
—By James Bunyan, UK
Questions for reflection
Father, thank you for making me spiritually alive in You. When I feel guilty for not doing enough to please You, remind me that I’ve been saved by grace through faith. May that knowledge spur me on to use this new life I’ve been given for Your glory.
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