Made Alive in Christ-Ephesians 2:1-10
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9.
And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering, Romans 8:17.
Hello beautiful people. As we journey on this investigation of our identity in Christ I wanted to talk about honor. It is a way of royalty. I wrote about honor several months back, but wanted to touch on it again. Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If you read the news, watch the news, or even engage with people you will find our culture lacks honor. Gossip, back biting, disrespect, bad mouthing, slander, put downs, sarcasm, unconstructive criticisms plague our airways and conversations. Honor is something everyone wants. Honor is not something everyone wants to give.
What is honor?
Honor: to regard with high respect or esteem, to treat with dignity.
Honor is a component of love. It is something all follows of Jesus are called to. It’s not just for some people or leaders. It’s something we are all to do. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” Jesus (John 13:34-35).
There are those who say, “We can abolish the commandments of Jesus because we are no longer under the law, but under grace.” We are under grace. Grace does not by any means take away from us doing what God has asked us to do. Grace says, “You are not made right by keeping the law, it’s by faith.” Grace also says, “If you are living under grace you will have a desire to do what is right.” We spoke a few posts ago about abiding in Christ. We will not be able to honor others without the help of the Holy Spirit. We may be able to honor people who treat us well, but we will not be able to honor those who treat us poorly. Without God, we can not do what He asks us to do (John 15:5).
By nature, humans are selfish and self-centered. We are born desiring the world to revolve around us. With God’s help we learn to be other focused and to give honor away instead of wanting it for ourselves.
When we know who we are in Christ, as the verses above tell us, we can walk in confidence. We do not have to demand anything from anyone, for we know who our Daddy is and who we belong to. We are heirs with Christ. We are not the scum on the bottom of God’s shoe. He adopted us into His family. We are a Royal Priesthood, set apart to do great things for Him. When we know who we are in Him, we can’t help but honor others. We did not deserve His love, or the gifts given us through Jesus. We are blessed beyond measure.
I don’t ascribe to the philosophy that we must focus on how awful and sinful we are to be humble. It’s actually another form of pride. It is a focus on self instead of a focus on Christ and what He has done. God has good things to say about us. He never agrees with our sin, but He does not seek to belittle us to no esteem at all. He wants us to have Christ centered esteem, clinging to His words about us. As His children, we are not scum. We are His Beloved. Also a person who does not like themselves or understand God’s personal love for them, cannot and will not be able to love or honor others. We cannot give away what we have not received.
What honor is not:
Honor is to not agree with what is wrong. Honor is to respect a person as someone valued by God. We can disagree with someone or something and still give honor. It is not a yes man or yes women mentality. It is a, “I will speak to you and about you the same way I wish for someone to do for me. I will treat you the way God would treat you.”
We can fight against injustice without dishonoring others. We can teach, preach, and share the Gospel without dishonoring people. Our culture has made honor being politically correct, that is not the true definition of honor. Honor does not say what is wrong is right and what is right is wrong. Honor chooses not to humiliate, hurt, harm, harass, condemn, or destroy others. Jesus modeled honor for us. For the woman caught in adultery He said, “I do not condemn you, go and sin no more,” (John 8:11).
We are also not called to seek to control people or force them to ascribe to our belief system. Honoring others means that we allow people to make choices for themselves. God allows us the right to refuse Him. We have to give people the right to refuse us without disrespecting them or mistreating them.
I have had to ask myself the questions as a quick spot check for honor:
Would I want this said to me or about me?
Is this helping someone or hurting them?
Will the other person walk away with hope or despair?
If the person knew I said this, would they be hurt, damaged, or encouraged?
Do I treat all people like they are important to God?
Does my behavior reflect the heart of God?
The questions are not to be introspective or condemn, but to ponder if my actions or words are aligning with the heart of Jesus. I have failed at times to honor everyone; I am thankful for the grace and forgiveness of God. I know honor is something God wants to grow in all His children. I also know what it’s like to have insults hurled at me, to be disrespected, dishonored, criticized, and treated like gum on someone’s shoe. God does not treat me that way. I do not wish to do those things to others.
Every person we meet is someone Jesus died for. May we know our place in His heart and walk in our true identity as royal heirs in His Kingdom.
Father, forgive us for any ways we have not walked in love or have not honored others. Help us to abide in Your love so we are beacons of light in this dark world. Remove any negative thoughts about You, ourselves, or others. We are valuable to You. May we know it in our hearts and seek to give that love, respect, and honor to others. In Jesus precious name, Amen.