“Once Of Their Number” ( Ephesians 2:3, NEB ) by Carley Evans

Jesus tells us, “Pass no judgment, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; acquit, and you will be acquitted; give, and gifts will be given you.” (Luke 6:37-38)

Paul, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, reminds that at one time all of us “were dead in [our] sins and wickedness, when [we] followed the evil ways of this present age, when [we] obeyed the commander of the spiritual powers of the air, the spirit now at work among God’s rebel subjects.” (Ephesians 2:1-2) “We too were once of their number: we all lived our lives in sensuality, and obeyed the promptings of our own instincts and notions. In our natural condition we, like the rest, lay under the dreadful judgment of God” (Ephesians 2:3)

Of course, the gift we have received is that of God’s grace: His rich mercy, His great love. Paul encourages us; reminding “how immense are the resources of His grace, and how great His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7-8) “For [Christ] Himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:14) Of course,”there is nothing for anyone to boast of” (Ephesians 2:10) because our salvation “is God’s gift, not a reward for work done.” (Ephesians 2:9) “For we are God’s handiwork.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Since we are God’s handiwork and not rewarded our salvation for works performed, we have cause neither to boast nor to judge others. We are not qualified to judge others for we ourselves were once of their company. We cannot boast for we also were lost in our sins, separated from God, dead in our condition. “But God, rich in mercy, for the great love He bore us, brought us to life with Christ even when we were dead in our sins; it is by grace [we] are saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

Therefore, judge not. Neither boast, except of the Lord.