Monday, July 27, 2009

'Near through the blood of Christ'

[R]emember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

A friend had a stroke last week and reminds me of the concerns that so many stroke survivors and loves ones go through. One in particular: What will I get back?

For some, it's a question of physical recovery. In my own case, it was a matter of speaking, reading and writing. I made my living as a reporter and editor, so was naturally concerned - no, make that almost frantic - to get back the ability to use language.

So what's the Ephesians got to do with it? Consider Paul's words to a group who were one step away from a pagan culture. In verse 12, Paul tells them that not long before, they were without God and therefore without hope. But verse 13 - and a few verses before and beyond - Paul reminds the recipients the good news - they are now united in Christ, and they' re in the household of hope.

In a two-verse phrase, Paul reminds them that outside that household, they had no hope. As citizens of the household of God, they had hope eternally.

That’s pretty powerful but the word "hope" is so, so often misunderstood by a world. So many people have no idea even what hope means. I’ve even heard people badmouth hope. One commentator wrote that “hope is for losers.” If that’s true, then Lord, let me be a loser.

Did hope promise that everything will be perfect? No.

It means that no matter what happens, your place in the household of hope is secure.

No comments: