A Clarifying Contrast

Ephesians 2:1-10 contains one of the most interesting contrasts between the way we were before Jesus and the way we are now.  The entire passage is chiastic (the first half of the passage has a series of units that correspond in inverse order to the units of the second half), but the one the two corresponding units that most grab my attention are 2:1 and 2:10:

2:1  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live…

2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The NIV translated quoted here doesn’t quite capture the essence of the thought.  In both 2:1 and 2:10, Paul uses a particular Greek verb:  peripateo (peri = around, pateo = to walk) which means something like “to walk around in” or, more meaningfully, “to be characterized by”.  This is the verb translated in 2:1 as “used to live” and in 2:10 as “to do”.  Literally, though, these verses speak of “walking around in” sin before Christ and “walking around in” good deeds since we trusted in Christ.

What a powerful and motivating contrast!  Whereas before we knew Jesus our whole lives were characterized by sin and transgression, since we came to faith in Jesus, our lives are meant to be characterized by good deeds which God has prepared in advance for us to do! 

I look forward to discovering those good deeds today, and doing them for Jesus’ sake!  Happy hunting!