Ephesians 2:1-10 – Whose Biography is that?

The flow of Ephesians 1 was Praise followed by Prayer.  Chapter 2 turns to biography.

You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy….  (NRSV)

That does not sound like me.  I was more a church raised kid who did not get into a lot of rabble rousing or immerse myself in the pleasueres of the flesh.  But then I found this comment in the ESV Literary Study Bible, “The first half of the chapter (vv. 1-10) is a corporate spiritual biography that tells the story of Gentile salvation.”

So if we read the Bible as a personal note to ourselves, we will meet these issues:  “That does not sound like me!”  However, if we read it as a book written directly to others but of indirect value to us, it makes more sense.  This is the story of the gospel coming to those who had been excluded from the Lord’s work with Israel.  It is not so much “my story” as “our story.”

What were my ancestors up to in the year 50 AD?  Were they even in the land we call Sweden at that time?  Were they planting, harvesting, brewing, and dancing to the sunrise and solstice?  Were they whacking one another with clubs?  I have no idea.  But the transformation of the Scandinavian people from the religion of Thor to that of the Lord can be seen in their art – from Dragons to Christ.  Often the “Stavkirke” or Stave Churches show outside art with dragons, with inside art with Christian symbols.  The door to the church marks the transition from the old to the new.

Check out this Stavkirke – especially the dragons!

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