The best day in all of social media, I would argue, is Thursday. On Thursdays we are treated to a little something the kids are calling “Throwback Thursday,” or #tbt. I don’t pretend to be able to keep up with social media trends, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I’m #doingitwrong.
Regardless, Throwback Thursday is, in a word, awesome. After all, everyone loves a good makeover. Whether it’s simply to ridicule the past or embrace the present, I think we can all agree that witnessing a transformation is tremendously satisfying. That is, unless you are the casualty of someone else’s #tbt, and are left having to untag a very public photo of yourself sporting a spiral perm, Aqua-Net-frozen bangs, acid-washed jeans, bright yellow slouchy socks, and knock-off Keds. (That description alone confirms that I am indeed too old to be talking about any kind of current trend whatsoever.)
When reading Paul’s words in the opening of Ephesians 2, we’d be remiss to equate his description of transformation with some sort of cute, little makeover. Not only would it minimize the transforming power of the love of Christ, which we’ll get to shortly, but it would also gloss over the depravity of sin.
Paul writes that when “we followed the ways of this world” we were dead (Ephesians 2:1-2). He’s obviously not speaking of adhering to sad fashion trends here, or any other poor choices we’ve made, really. He’s talking about who we are in ourselves, about the nature of our flesh, and about the Enemy at work in our disobedience of God. He’s talking about death.
When I think of the horror of sin in light of who Christ is and has created us to be, I remember those PSA-style posters they showed us in high school, the ones depicting the decline of a methamphetamine user. Each picture shows the individual falling further into their addiction, gratifying their flesh despite the severe cost to their wellbeing. The physical deterioration is alarming. Even more horrifying, though, is that you can almost see the life leaving their eyes. How can death be what God intended for His workmanship? It isn’t!
Sisters, this is what it looks like for any of us— or our neighbors, friends, and family— to live a life apart from Christ. Paul adds that we, left to our nature, are deserving of this dark fate and, even worse, the wrath of our our Creator (Ephesians 2:3). I’m so grateful there is a “but” in these verses!
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!
- Ephesians 2:4-5 HCSB
God is the Author of our lives and of the change in our lives—not because we deserve it, but only because of His goodness, His mercy, and His love. There is no behind-the-scenes footage to be shown of the good works that earned us such a gift. No, this soul-deep change is made in spite of our behind-the-scenes footage! We are saved by grace.
We can marvel at the transforming power of His love. It’s a love that raises us up with Him on the resurrection side of the grave and makes us truly alive. It’s a love that makes us new. This is what we were made for! Not the death, depravity, and suffering we experience while trying to live life apart from Him.
We are His masterpiece. “He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT). Obedience, service, Kingdom-building—these are no longer duties and burdens to be carried but blessings to be fulfilled. They are byproducts of being made new in Christ!
Though God gently reminds us— by His Word and in His love— of who we once were, He will never leave us or abandon us. He will never throw us back, not even on a Thursday.