They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
In 1999, American television audiences became transfixed by a new game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Tens of millions of viewers watched as contestants tried to answer the right combination of questions to win a million dollars. Though, for the most part, contestants had to rely on their own knowledge, wits, and good luck, they did have three “lifelines”: 50/50, phone a friend, and ask the audience. With the help of these lifelines, several contestants managed to answer all fifteen questions correctly, thus becoming millionaires.
God created human beings with access to vital “lifelines.” We were not made to live life on our own. Rather, we were made for community with God’s people and, in fact, with God himself, the source of life.
But everything took a major turn for the worse when human beings rejected God and his ways. Genesis 3 shows us that the vital relationships created for us were broken. Our lifelines were cut off. Thus, in Ephesians 2:12, Gentiles are said to be “excluded [apellotriomenoi] from citizenship in Israel,” and therefore severed from the people of God. It gets even worse in Ephesians 4:18, where the Gentiles are revealed to be “separated [apellotriomenoi] from the life of God.” Talk about a missing lifeline!
Of course, as created beings, we have physical life whether we are in relationship with God or not. Yet, even though our bodies are alive, when we are cut off from God, we are, in a sense, already dead (2:1). The good news is that God does not leave us in our solitary, fatal condition. Jesus Christ becomes the “ultimate lifeline,” if you will, the source of God’s own life, graciously offered through Christ. Thus, when, through faith, we receive God’s grace, God makes us alive with Christ (2:4).
If you’re a Christian, then you have used the ultimate lifeline. You have eternal life through Jesus Christ. This life is not just something to be enjoyed after you die. It is to be experienced each day as you live in conscious, consistent, covenantal relationship with God, the giver of life.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you used the “lifeline” offered by God through Christ? What got you to the point that you were ready to call out to God to save you? Are you living each day in relationship with God, the source of life? How do you experience God’s life on a daily basis?
PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for the “lifelines” you have given me. Thank you, most of all, for the gift of life in Jesus Christ.
Even as I have entered into your life through Christ, may I continue to live in your life each day. May I remain connected to you in my thoughts and feelings, in my words and actions. May my life be a reflection of your life in me.
To you be all the glory. Amen.