In the Ephesians class on Sunday, Dan Wray made the case that the key point of the big run-on sentence in the beginning of the first chapter is the good news that we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. We spent some time discussing what it really means to be “redeemed,” bought back by Christ’s blood and God’s grace. This idea of being brought back to where we are meant to be seems to be a theme that runs throughout the Christian life.
In fact, in the very next section of Ephesians 1, Paul prays for the people. Dan pointed out that after Paul recounted a long list of spiritual blessings that have been given to us, he prays that we will be reminded of these truths. Again, we have this concept of being brought back — of circling back.
There are a lot words that start with “re-“ in the Bible… well over 80 as I count them in my concordance, and for many of these, that prefix indicates “once more” or “anew.”
To name a few…. God has reconciled and restored us to Him, repaid our debt, renewed our hearts, revived our spirits, and revealed His truth, and will someday reward and resurrect us.
This is all remarkable news, but somehow it is not enough to cause us to remain in a perfect state of worship and holiness. Still we wander and need to be rescued, reproved and recalled back to truth.
So, repeatedly, Scripture reminds us to remember, remember, remember. We are also told to repent, rejoice, rebuild, refresh, relearn, recharge, recall, recite, recognize, reform, reflect, regard, release, reconsider, record, remain, repair, repose, revere, represent, and repeat, repeat, repeat.
The calendar right now reminds us it is a new year, a time to mark another circle around the sun. Perhaps the idea of making resolutions feels redundant, remembering previous circles back to where we started.
Or perhaps the larger circle, the grand one that God has drawn in the redemption of His people is enough to remind us to renew our minds, to resume our repentance and rebuilding, to once again regard His Holy Word and renounce the lies in our lives, replacing them with resurrection Truth.
Judging from the number of “re-“ words He uses, I’d guess God knew our lives would be marked by these circles, these returns to His refuge, these responses to receive His grace once more.
Let’s resolve to circle back, to restate our identity as the ones redeemed and restored, lest we need to be rebuked for rebelling like Rehoboam did. (Just a little “re-“ joke)
And let’s resolve to return to Sunday School…. The class on Ephesians is off to resounding good start!