Reconciliation in Ephesians 2

Daily Scripture readings for November, set #3:

1 Kings, chapters 4-5
Psalm 119:17-24
Luke 1:39-56
Ephesians 2:1-10

A description of Solomon’s wisdom: “God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:29-30). The phrase used for Solomon’s wisdom is “beyond measure.” Wow.

Psalm 119, verse 20: “My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.” I can’t help but wonder if the Psalmist here is actually claiming this reality, or if he’s stating this as a goal for himself.

Mary’s song in Luke 1 celebrates God’s mercy, but also comments on who the mercy is for. “And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (vs 50).

Salvation is not based on works, and Paul cannot make this any clearer than he does in Ephesians 2. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (vs 1). “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing” (vs 8). It is the sin nature, and not the Scriptures, that pushes us to view salvation as something to be earned.

Daily Scripture readings for November, set #4:

1 Kings, chapters 6-7
Psalm 119:25-32
Luke 1:57-66
Ephesians 2:11-22

In understanding the difference between the Old Covenant and New Covenant, one can’t emphasize enough the word “if.” I’ve noticed this so many times through the readings thus far, and now here, again as God directs Solomon in constructing the temple, the whole thing hinges on Solomon’s ability to keep his end of the bargain. “Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel” (1 Kings 6:12-13). Good luck with that huge IF, Solomon.

I’m noticing in today’s section of Psalm 119 how contingent on God the Psalmist’s requests are. “Give” in verse 1, “teach” in verse 2, “make me understand” in verse 3, and so on. Verse 32: “I will run in the way of your commandments WHEN you enlarge my heart!” Contingency.

A good example of a community together in faith – sharing and doing life with one another. “And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her” (Luke 1:58).

Paul’s explanation in Ephesians 2 of the deep unity found in the cross is as solid a foundation for racial and ethnic reconciliation as any I’ve ever heard. The specific topic in this chapter is the Jew vs Gentile issue, but the logic can apply anywhere. “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (vs 14-16).

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