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Daily Devotional | Before and After Daily Devotional | Before and After

Daily Devotional | Before and After

Ads and commercials for diet supplements and exercise equipment sometimes include “before” and “after” pictures of those who use the product. A famous ad from the 1920s for the training regimen developed by bodybuilder Charles Atlas boasted that it had enabled him to go from being a 97-pound weakling to “the world’s most perfectly developed person.” Paul paints an even more striking before-and-after picture of his readers in Ephesians 2:1–13.

The “before” describes sinners as spiritually dead, but that does not mean they aren’t active. They follow “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (v. 2). This is Satan, who led humanity into sin. Satan is not a metaphor but an evil spiritual being with other evil spirits who serve him. Satan is a fallen angel (Luke 10:18). He was the first to tempt humanity, but he is not the only source of temptation we face. Because Adam sinned, we are both guilty of and inclined to sin. Everyone who is tempted is “dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” (James 1:14).

This sin problem affects “all of us” because we are sinners “by nature” who are “deserving of wrath” (v. 3). Yet Paul’s main point is not the sin of his readers but the radical change outlined in verses 4–6. This change was not brought about by personal willpower or a training regimen of spiritual exercises, but by God who was motivated by love and mercy. We are changed from spiritual death to life in Christ (v. 5). The fact that those who experienced this change were dead in sin makes it clear that the change did not come through their own efforts but had its origin in the grace of God. This is God’s handiwork.

>> God’s gracious work produced a new community that joined Gentiles and Jewish believers in Christ. Both are united by “the blood of Christ” to form the new community we know as the church.

Pray with Us

Even as believers we still feel the tug of our fleshly cravings and desires—and we don’t always resist them. Merciful Lord, thank You for Your gracious work of conviction and Your constant love that sanctifies.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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