Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
(Ephesians 2:11-13 ESV)
In light of the great truth we’ve read in Ephesians 2:8-10 – that God rescued us from a hopeless and tragic eternity for no other reason than He wanted to – we are commanded to “remember” where we were before God saved us.
Before God stepped into history and paid the penalty for our sinfulness we were “separated from Christ” and “alienated” from God’s family. We were unfamiliar – and couldn’t care less – about the promises of God. In conclusion, we had no hope because we didn’t have God. This is not a good place to be.
Life without God is difficult enough. But death without God is hopeless. Those who die without choosing to join God’s family will get exactly what they think they want – an eternity without Him in their life. We call this hell. Simply put, hell is the complete absence of God. And if anyone thinks life is tough on earth, where God is present, they will find that hell is infinitely worse because God will not be present there at all. In hell, the evil that is in human beings will not be checked – it will run rampant.
As the United States eliminates the one and only true God from our culture we get a taste of hell right here on earth. Over the past several decades, and even more so in recent years, we’ve removed God from government, business, education, entertainment. Accordingly, we’ve seen a rise in violence and crime during this time. This is no coincidence. Life without God – on earth or in eternity – is not good.
Such is the future that all of us were headed for. But God offers a different path. He offers us an eternity with Him, in heaven, enjoying the many blessings that He desires to give us [Ephesians 1:3-14]. This offer is made possible “by the blood of Christ”. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sins thereby allowing us to enter heaven as holy and forgiven creatures. There is no other way to heaven [John 3:16, John 14:6 et.al].
Our future was made possible by nothing other than God’s grace. He rescued us from an eternity of suffering because of the unconditional love He has for us. There is nothing about us that caused God to send His son to die on our behalf [Ephesians 2:8-10]. We are not worthy of such a sacrifice.
God commands us to “remember” all this. Remembering where we came from keeps us humble. Remembering where we are headed makes us thankful.
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