There are several portions of the Bible, for one reason or another, that stand out from among the rest. These passages are usually ones we would call “pillars of the faith.” Such is what the first ten verses are of Ephesians 2, in which the apostle Paul relays a gloriously grandiose picture of God’s colossal gospel.
Mooring refers to something permanent or fixed to which a ship is secured. It’s what keeps a vessel protected from the perilous waves that could otherwise leave it adrift. The mooring is absolutely essential to the life of any seafaring vessel. Similarly, unless we are moored and fastened to something (Someone) permanent, we, too, will be tossed about, to and fro, in this life.
Among the most revered of the Psalms is Psalm 18. Its lyrical marvel, brimming with magnificent language that desirous of one thing: God’s glory. As King David reflects on his life and the many deliverances throughout which came at his God’s hand, he’s inspired to pen this wondrous psalm. But David’s song of deliverance is our song too.
The apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is one of the most important books in the entire Bible. It certainly contains, perhaps, the ten most significant verses in chapter 2. As Paul writes to encourage the church, he also writes to dismantle the false gospels that sneaked into the church. In Ephesians 2:1–10, Paul discloses God’s big picture of salvation by reveling in God’s cavernous grace.
The key ingredient that makes a church is the same ingredient that makes a team. Talk about skill and talent and giftedness all you want, but at the end of the day, a team’s success, and a church’s, depends on its unity. A unified people standing together in and for the gospel is the chief way the lost are introduced to the things of the gospel.
In Matthew 15, Jesus’s disciples are accused of forsaking the law and propagating lawless doctrine. Christ’s response to these accusations isn’t to explain their actions so much as it is to enhance the accuser’s and his disciples’ and, by proxy, our own understanding the law. It is much more rigid than we think. In fact, you might even say, it’s impossible. But, as Christ makes clear, that’s good news.
The story of the apostle Paul’s conversion is a remarkable example of the power and reach of God’s grace. From darkness to light, Paul is pulled by the Spirit from a life of violence to a life of service; from a life of self-preservation and self-promotion to a life of sacrifice and surrender. We are, therefore, made to marvel at the illimitable, uncontainable hand of God in our salvation.
Whether it’s seeing unsaved people prosper and succeed at everything they do, or fellow-Christians get all the opportunities, accolades, and limelight, sometimes it just seems as if you’re always dealt the short straw. Why would God let his chosen people suffer and struggle and endure such travesties while those who are in love with debauchery and depravity thrive and find abundant success? This isn’t fair! But once those words have gone heavenward we stand on dangerous ground.
There are some stories in the Bible that are so perplexing that it makes you wonder why they were ever uttered by our Lord in the first place. I think there’s no better example of this than the parable of “The Workers in the Vineyard” from Matthew 20. The tale at first feels incredibly unbiblical and opposite of Jesus’s penchant for justice. But, another glance at this story reveals it to be another grandiose expose of grace.