Today I wrap up a week of devotions on the theme of racial reconciliation. During this week, I have tried to help us see reconciliation from the broad perspective of Ephesians. The uniting of divided people groups is not incidental to God’s saving work but an essential element of what God has done through the cross of Christ and is doing through his church. Thus, as people called by God, we are to be both reconciled and reconciling.
Ephesians 4:1 urges us “to lead a life worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called.” What is this calling to be lived out in our daily lives? It is what the first three chapters of Ephesians have revealed about God’s plan and our crucial part in it…
Ephesians 3 adds a stunning new element to our understanding of God’s big plan…
So far in our series of devotions on racial reconciliation we have seen God’s big plan to unite all things in Christ. Ephesians 2 shows that central among these things to be united are divided groups of people. Through the cross of Christ, God makes reconciliation possible, not only between us and God, but also among us and us, if you will. Christ, our peace, wages peace among us, uniting us and reconciling us to God in one unified body.
Today, we continue our prayerful reflections on the theme of racial reconciliation. In yesterday’s devotion on Ephesians 1:10, we encountered God’s big plan for the cosmos, to gather together all things in Christ. This uniting of things in heaven and things on earth implicitly includes bringing together divided peoples. What is implicit in Ephesians 1 becomes explicit in Ephesians 2.
This week the focus of our Life for Leaders devotions will be different from usual. Rather than continuing our slow walk through Genesis, I’m going to be doing a series of devotions on the theme of racial reconciliation.
This is Easter Sunday, the day when most Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (Eastern Orthodox believers celebrate Easter a week later than Westerners.) Today, we focus our celebration on the fact that Jesus shattered the bonds of death as God raised him to new life. The resurrection demonstrates that God’s plan for salvation through the cross actually worked.
Today is Good Friday, the day of the year when Christians throughout the world remember the death of Jesus in a special way. In our devotions and private prayers, in our gatherings for worship and communion, and in our sacrificial service to others, we reflect upon what happened to Christ almost 2,000 years ago and what it means for us today. Rightly, we often focus on the difference Christ’s death makes for us personally. Because he died on the cross, we can be forgiven and reconciled to God. Because Jesus died, we can experience life as God meant it to be experienced, both in this age (partially) and in the age to come (completely).
I would like to reflect with you on another way in which the death of Jesus transforms our lives, not so much in what we receive as in what we give.