As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath, but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-6, NIV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10, NIV)
Consider this! In the Christians life there are two distinct time frames — before Jesus and after Jesus. Another way to view this: what we were and what we are. What a difference Jesus makes!
Ephesians 2 begins by reminding us of what we were. Let’s sum that up. We were dead people wallowing in our sins and blindly following Satan. He was leading us down a path that could only lead to destruction and ultimate judgement. Don’t you just love the next part of these verses?
But because He loved us, God made us alive in Jesus. He took us out of the wallowing pit we were in and lifted us up into heavenly places with Jesus. We did nothing — nor could we have done anything — to save ourselves. It was all the grace of God. Let us look at what Peter said concerning what we are now.
We are a chosen people. We were not chosen by just anybody — we were chosen by God Almighty. When Satan comes around trying to tell us we are nobodies, we need to remind him that we are chosen by God. Satan had us, but he lost us.
We are a royal priesthood. We are able to intercede for and try to win the lost. We are able to help restore those who have fallen away. We are able to encourage fellow Christians. Our lives are no longer wasted. God uses us to help others and further His kingdom in this world.
We are a holy nation. Our inability to live right is overcome by the power He gives us to become the sons and daughters of God. He begins a work in us that manifests itself in how we act, talk, think, and live.
We are a special people. God holds us in His hands. We are His. Scripture declares that no one is able to pluck us out of His hands.
Having shown us His mercy, our Lord makes us so much more than we were ever able to be without Him. Instead of barely surviving, we now thrive. John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, kill, and to destroy: I am come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” The first part of the verse is talking about our then. The second part is talking about our now.
Remember, what we were was then. What we are is now. Now we are saved, now we are blessed, now we are victorious!
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.