Many of us look at hot air balloons and think about how unsafe they look as “hot air with a flame” propel them across the countryside and even in suburban areas landing most times in relatively small fields. Uh…that doesn’t seem very safe to me. Well…Pam and I were talked into taking a hot air balloon ride. Our persuasive friends were acting as chasers in a big dual wheeled pickup below as we were transported across air a couple hundred meters above Plano, TX in Miss Kitty’s proprietary balloon. Both of us were not sure what we were getting ourselves into, but these were really good friends who had talked Miss Kitty into allowing us to ride on her weekly excursion. Let me assure you, I had never been in a more tranquil environment as we experienced looking down from this balloon in the still Saturday morning Texas air.
I hear Christians say to look up keeping your eyes on Jesus; however, much like riding a hot air balloon, Ephesians 2 details a view encouraging us to look down not up.
- In verse 1-3, Paul the Apostle pictures vividly the tumultuous ground level life in our world. “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.” Life with both feet planted in this world is described as ugly, harsh, unpeaceful, unhealthy, rude, and immoral. It is tough getting our eyes off “the cravings of our flesh” to get a good view of heaven.
- Verses 4-6 paint a different picture. Why? The view is different. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 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.” God has lifted us up spiritually with Christ and seated us in the heavenly realm with Him. What a view! Our focus is no longer the cares of the world; instead, our mind is locked in on the “incomparable riches of his grace expressed in the kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Seated at the right hand of the Father in Jesus, we see life expressed in kindness not the rudeness and calamity of the world.
Then, Paul reveals the experience of this view in verses 8-9. “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.” We no longer work for salvation in the midst of worldliness. We are seated with a view of Christ which points us to the cross giving us the realization that we are saved by grace through faith! It is a gift received not worked for! Guys, it is time to look down not up.