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God’s future-focused purpose

August 19, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Ephesians 2:4-7

4-5 However, God is rich in mercy. He brought us to life with Christ while we were dead as a result of those things that we did wrong. He did this because of the great love that he has for us. You are saved by God’s grace! 6 And God raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus. 7 God did this to show future generations the greatness of his grace by the goodness that God has shown us in Christ Jesus.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“God is rich in mercy.” “You are saved by God’s grace.” That was the beating heart of our faith, said the letter to the Ephesians. God saved us FROM a broken, self-seeking way of life. But that wasn’t the end of the story; it was just the beginning. What Jesus called “the kingdom of God” aims to restore not just individuals, but this whole broken world to God-given wholeness. God didn’t save any one person just to do something nice for that person. Ephesians said, “God did this to show future generations the greatness of his grace.” If God’s saving grace hadn’t had that future focus, no one alive today would ever have heard of it! So that future focus clearly calls us to respond, not just by gratefully accepting salvation (which is the essential starting point, of course), but also by determining to play a role in showing future generations how good God is.

  • The United Bible Societies’ guide for Bible translators worldwide said of Ephesians 2:7, “What God has done now will for all time to come be a demonstration of his great grace. The meaning may sometimes be expressed by “for generation after generation” or “for days that never end” or “for years that no one has ever yet thought of.” * If you grew up with Christian ideas (whether you accepted them early or late), it’s easy to just assume that they were routinely “there.” But the only reason we know about Jesus is centuries of faithful work by countless nameless Christians. “By the sixth century, an illiterate Europe had no libraries left. Thomas Cahill relates in How the Irish Saved Civilization how monastic communities copied every ancient text they could get their hands on. For many centuries, monasteries were the only institutions in Europe for the acquisition, preserving, and transmitting of knowledge.” ** It’s your turn. How will you join in God’s purpose of “showing future generations the greatness of his grace”?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for all that you have saved me from. Guide me day by day into a way of living that carries out the purposes you saved me for, now and in the future. Amen.

GPS Insights

Cathy Bien

Cathy Bien

Cathy Bien serves as the Lead Director of Communications and Public Relations at Church of the Resurrection. She and her husband Rick have been members of the church since 1993 and have four adult children and two grandsons (one a very recent arrival!).

Showing God’s love to future generations

I’ve been thinking about generations a lot this week as I celebrated the birth of a new grandson. His first name is McHenry, which is my maiden name and a tribute to my father, his great-grandfather, and the generations of McHenrys who came before him. At the same time, his cousin, my other grandson, Bob (who is also named after his great-grandfather), started kindergarten this week. I want these two precious little boys, who are so loved by their family, to also know how much they are loved by God.

God did this to show future generations the greatness of his grace by the goodness that God has shown us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:7

This passage in Ephesians reminds us of God’s mercy and saving grace. But our acceptance of that grace and even our gratitude is not enough. As a follower of Jesus, we are called to share it with future generations.

When I think about showing my grandsons “the greatness of God’s grace,” I look to the generations who shared it with me. I am very fortunate because my faith was passed on by my parents. But they didn’t do it through their words. They “showed it” by modeling for me and for many others (some related, some not) what it looks like to live your life as a follower of Jesus. I’ve started a list of the things they did that I want to make sure I do to share God’s amazing love with my grandsons. Perhaps this will give you some ideas on how you can share your faith with those you love.

LIVE FAITHFULLY – Attending worship each week, reading Scripture daily, praying before meals and at bedtime were all a regular part of my parents’ lives and were practices they demonstrated and nurtured in my siblings and me. Even today, when he is no longer physically able to worship in person, my father has perfect attendance through the televised worship, and he begins every day reading a Scripture and devotion.

GIVE GENEROUSLY – My parents didn’t talk about stewardship, they demonstrated it. I knew from an early age that when dad paid the bills (back when you wrote out your checks each month) the first check went to the church. But their generosity extended far beyond that. My parents came from humble means and were both teachers, yet they considered all they had to be a gift from God and gave generously to those in need, even if it required a personal sacrifice.

SERVE OTHERS – Just as they gave their financial resources generously, they also gave their time. We used to joke that my mother did not know how to say no to anyone. She felt called to be Jesus’ hands and feet in the world, and I have seen first-hand the lives that she impacted. She always found a way to be there for someone in need, regardless of how busy she was or how inconvenient it might be.

PRACTICE KINDNESS – For my parents, kindness was a verb. They took the command to love your neighbor seriously, and they had a lot of neighbors! They repeatedly demonstrated what it looked like to treat everyone with respect and kindness, even when someone was unkind to them. During my mother’s final days, she continued to find ways to bless others.

SPEAK LOVE – I know that I am loved by God because from the day I was born my parents told me that they loved me and that God loved me.

Now, to indulge a proud grandma…

 

Henry and Bob, Gaga and Papa love you, and so does God!

© 2022 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Robert G. Bratcher and Eugene A. Nida, A Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. New York: United Bible Societies, 1982, p. 46.
** Ortberg, John. Who Is This Man?: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (p. 65). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.