Just read came across this verse this morning. A great summary statement of the good news of what Christ has done to redeem hopeless sinners.
"For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient
led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures,
passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness,
but according to his own mercy,
by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
so that being justified by his grace,
we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Wow! There is so much jaw-dropping stuff in here, I don't even know where to start. How about with us? Paul paints a picture in which we all exist (or once existed) as characters. Foolish, disobedient, slaves to various passions and pleasures. From Paul's description, I conjure up two images. The first being us in foolish disobedience. The second is our restlessness and enmity. Without Christ, what makes our lives foolish disobedience? I don't think it is so much that we disobey God's rules. I think it is that we willingly bow down and serve these various pleasures and passions as our god. It is that we think we have life figured out, that our purpose and pleasure is for these things. God created us to be infinitely intimate with him, experiencing the fullness of true joy. It is foolish disobedience that we turn away from this like a ignorant, disorientated child.
The second image is one of hostility. There is no peace; within us, between us, and between God. Apart from Christ, we are bound to have enmity everywhere, because deep down, we have not found what we are looking for. This makes us extremely insecure. We pass the days in malice and envy, because we are never satisfied. Like Adam and Eve, we are always looking for another 'apple' to eat, that we think will fulfill us. But, life, as it was created to be, is to be lived in relationship with God. Without the saving work of Christ, we are bound to be at war with each other, and with God.
These two images combined are one of chaotic, restless frustration. We are wandering children, completely lost and led astray; yet, unwilling to give ear to the tender and loving words of our Heavenly Father. This is where the awesome mercy of God comes in! More on that tomorrow.