Friday, March 10, 2017

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 12, 2017

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(Made alive with CHRIST)
(Ephesians 2:1-10)

   Whenever we decide to choose the Christian walk, we are also choosing to alienate ourselves from worldly attitudes and behavior. We are no longer permanent residents of this earth, but rather, we become citizens of Heaven in advance, so to speak, and therefore, the laws of GOD should become paramount to us, right now, while living here on earth.
    Aspiring Christians need to begin to let GOD dominate our thought process, if we are to move away from the spirit of this world, satan, who refuses to obey GOD at any time. We have to, in effect, “change our mind”, or “repent” from our former “worldly way” of thinking. We then can, in a very real sense, begin to “share the mind of CHRIST”, and we can begin to incorporate HIS thoughts into all of our decision-making.  
    In the biblical sense, the word “heart” is translated from the Greek word “kardia” which describes one’s “thoughts” or “way of thinking”, not one’s emotions. Still, our conversion is often treated as “an emotional experience of psychological change”. And even though here in Ephesians 2, Paul correctly depicts “conversion” as a “spiritual transformation”, or, “a metamorphosis” from “a state of spiritual death” into “a state of spiritual life”, this passage does have some psychological implications also.
    Before our conversion to Christianity, we generally follow the ways of the world and are driven by sinful thoughts and desires. And while, even after conversion, we still are capable of sin, our lives are, for the most part, re-oriented toward GOD, through the power of the HOLY SPIRIT. However, all in all, it is not until a person actually falls in love with goodness, that wrong things, will no longer fascinate, and have power over them.
    The reality of “our inward change”, must, in time, be reflected in a true change of lifestyle, actions, and behavior, and if it’s not, the supposed conversion, is not real. Our relationship with GOD is our greatest asset, and it must be nurtured and invested in, in order to keep us from “backsliding” and returning to old worldly behavior, or “spiritual bankruptcy”.
    Human nature has long been corrupted, and we constantly tend to desire to create “a god who is made in our own image”, instead of desiring to worship the GOD, WHO made us in HIS divine spiritual image. The GOD of our salvation through JESUS CHRIST is the only GOD, and theologians often debate whether it is salvation or faith that HE grants to us freely.
    However, the true Christian has “faith” that “the gift of salvation” is an example of how GOD’s grace is greater than all of our sins combined. Paul tells us that GOD acted graciously to grant salvation to each of us who believe, and, no amount of good deeds can earn us what GOD freely gives.
    GOD determined long ago to form the Christian Church out of the now flawed humanity that is “us”. He always took those of us who were “dead in sin” and made us “alive in CHRIST JESUS”. HE, quite literally, re-fashions us to make us suitable for every good work that HE has prepared for us to do, and, through JESUS CHRIST, HE closed the gap between us and HIMSELF, and brought us back into “a personal relationship of friendship with HIM”.
    GOD sees the unbeliever, who is walking with satan and is thereby, in step with, even this current generation and it’s worldly way of thinking, and HE desires to exchange our old “life of misery”, and “temporal happiness (at best)”, for “a life that is filled with grace, mercy, and eternal spiritual riches”.
    Salvation, and GOD’s continued abundant grace, is available to all people. However, one has to voluntarily choose to become a partaker in that salvation and enormous grace. Every human being has the opportunity to be “made alive with CHRIST”, to be at “oneness and peace with CHRIST”, and, to “be a temple for the LORD”, our GOD and SAVIOR, WHO is now, in Heaven. We’ve always had the “liberty” to choose, however, we can never obtain “freedom”, until we use that liberty to choose CHRIST JESUS, and walk away from the trappings of this world, which, right now, is being dominated by satan.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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