Alive in Christ1What you are now is in direct contrast to what you used to be. Once you were spiritually dead because your lives were full of sin and disobedience to God's Word.2That is how you used to live, when you lived according to the world's standards, because you were subject to God's enemy, belonged to his negative kingdom of darkness and were controlled by the spirit who still works in the disobedient.3All of us at one time shared in that ungodly lifestyle, longing to satisfy our flesh. We all sought to gratify our fleshly desires and sin filled much of our thinking. Just like everybody else, we were subjects of God's anger because of our sinful disposition.4-5Despite all this, because of His great love for us, God who is so rich in mercy actually brought us to life with Christ, even when we were spiritually dead because of our sins. What a wonderful work of His grace to save us out of the death and darkness of sin, out of the hands of the evil one we once served!Seated with Christ6Now He has actually raised us up with Christ and sees us seated with Him in heavenly places because He has placed us in Christ Jesus.7He has done this so that in the future we might demonstrate that the riches of His grace are so immense that nothing can be compared to such riches. And this grace has been shown to us because of His kindness towards us, expressed in all Christ Jesus has done for us.Saved by His grace8You see, it is only because of His grace that you have been saved. All you did was to put your faith in His willingness to be merciful and gracious towards you. So your salvation is not anything you could possibly have worked out for yourselves; it is completely God's gift to you.9You can never boast that you achieved acceptance by God through the works you have performed.10The truth is that we are the work of God's own hands. Now we live in Christ Jesus, we are able to do the good works that are the evidence of our salvation. It is good to know that these are the very works that God planned and prepared for us to accomplish!Reconciliation to God and one another11So never forget that you used to be foreigners, outside of God's Kingdom, because you had only natural birth and were not among those whom God had set aside for Himself by entering into covenant with them. The relationship you have with Him now has nothing to do with outward actions such as circumcision, works done by men.12You used to be separated from Christ because of your sin. You were excluded from having citizenship in Israel, God's chosen people. You were outside the covenant relationship with God based on His promises. You were without hope for the future and had to live your life in the world without God.13Look at the difference now that you are in Christ Jesus and belong to Him. Instead of living far away from God, you have been united with Him through what Jesus did by shedding His blood for you.14So He is our peace. Because we have been forgiven and accepted by God, we are at peace with Him. Those who were outside the covenant, the relationship God has made possible for His people, are now made one with those who belong to the covenant. He has made these two one, Jew and non-Jew, by destroying the barrier that once divided them, that was like a dividing wall of hostility that existed between them.15-16Through what He accomplished when He became man, He abolished the whole idea of serving God through a legalistic approach of obeying a series of religious rules and regulations. His intention was to create a new people out of the two opposing groups that existed before. The only way was to make it possible for anyone, no matter what his race, to be at peace with God, and to draw them together into one body, to reconcile them to one another. He accomplished all this through the cross which dealt a death blow to their former hostility.17Jesus came and preached peace with God to those outside His covenant with Israel, as well as those who were part of that relationship.18Now through Him we all have direct and personal access to the Father through the same Holy Spirit who lives in every believer in Jesus Christ.19So as a result, you are no longer foreigners outside of God's purpose; you are not aliens but children of God, fellow citizens with all who belong to Christ. Together you are God's people and members of His household.20Your life together is built on the foundation of truth that has come to us through the apostles and prophets, Jesus Himself being the chief Cornerstone, the pivotal truth of the revelation God has given us through them.21In Christ Jesus the whole building of living stones, whether believing Jews or non-Jews, is built to be a holy temple housing the Lord's presence.22Yes, in Him you are being built together to be those in whom God Himself lives by His Spirit.
Scripture quoted by permission. The passage above is taken from THE TRUTH VERSION. Copyright © 2009 by Colin Urquhart. All rights reserved worldwide. (The Truth New Testament)