I. Background Information
- Spiritually dead (v 1): this is Paul’s way of saying that before we ask God to forgive us, we have no relationship with Him. It is as if we have never met Him and so do not know Him and have Him with us to help us and teach us and guide us. It also carries the dark idea that in the end of our life we will be punished for our disobedience by being abandoned by God forever. This is the death that really matters in the Bible.
- Ruler of the spiritual powers (v 2): this is a way of describing Satan. In the Bible his origin is unclear, but he seems to have once been an angel and now rules over other angels who rebelled against God. He is spoken of as powerful and always trying to oppose God’s plans and desires.
- Mercy (v 4): when someone deserves punishment, but we choose to not punish them, we are showing mercy to them.
- Union with Christ (v 6): when we are forgiven, the Bible describes us as united with Jesus. We have a very close relationship with him and our identity is now closely connected with Him. Marriage is a clear picture of this – two people become one unit.
- Saved through faith (v 8): saved is the picture that we were in trouble and were rescued. Faith is a word for believing or trusting God and it is the key to our rescue. God sent Jesus to pay for our disobedience by dying in our place – and now offers forgiveness to anyone who will simply reach out and take His offer of love. Every other religion teaches that we must work for forgiveness – do many religious acts or do more good things than bad things. The Bible teaches that this is impossible because we must be perfect to be with God. Therefore God chose to let Jesus live a perfect life for us and also to suffer our punishment for us – he did all the work that was necessary. Our part is say thank you to God and to now follow Jesus.
- Underline main ideas as you read.
In this chapter, Paul continues to talk about all that God has done for us through Jesus. Here he especially focuses on the contrast that we used to be dead and actually following Satan, but now we are alive and have a living daily relationship with God. He also stresses that this is true simply because of our faith in what God did through Jesus for us. Our forgiveness was a gift offered to us – not something we earned – and not something we must continue to earn. We are free to simply follow Jesus and try to do the things God would want us to do, but know that even when we fail, God will still forgive us when we say we are sorry.
IV. Daily Thoughts (write out your answers)
- What did you learn today? Write down a few thoughts you have about what you read.
- What questions do you have after reading and thinking?
- Is there anything you think God wants you to do based on what you read today?
- For what people or situations do you need to thank God today?
- For what people or situations do you need to ask God’s help today?
- Take time to talk to God about these things. (talk and listen)