In Ephesians 2:1-10, Paul reminds us that we were in desperate straits before God by His grace saved us through the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “For by grace have you been saved through faith” should be the amazing hymn of every believer!
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. – Ephesians 2:8-10
At this point in his epistle, Paul presents the core of God’s great plan. He also presented these ideas in his letter to the Romans, but in much more detail and with the Jewish people more in mind.
- Recall what Paul has told the believers in the first chapter (though the chapter break was done by man, not Paul or the Holy Spirit)
- God predetermined before Creation that “all spiritual blessings” that He would bestow would be found in and through Christ
- We have now received redemption and forgiveness in Christ… which was God’s plan
- We have now been sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of what He still has in store for us
- Then Paul prayed that “the eyes of your heart” would be illuminated (1:18) so that
- We would know the hope that we have
- We would know the riches of our inheritance
- And that we would know the incomparably great power that is at work for and in us who believe
- The is the “Big Picture,” or as we might also say, “God’s Great Plan.”
- Having laid out the broad view, Paul will now delve into the details in chapter two.
OUR SITUATION (What we were):
- Dead in trespasses and sins – all of us are “dead men walking!”
- Spiritually dead while physically alive. An imagery used often by Jesus (Matthew 8:22; Luke 15:24; John 5:21, 24) as well as by Paul (Romans 8:6-8; I Timothy 5:6) – The opposite of this condition is to be dead TO sin (Romans 6:11)
- Walking according to the prince of this world
- Indulging the desires of the flesh and mind
- Children of facing God’s wrath
- True of the Gentiles (the majority of the Ephesian believers) (2:11) – Satanic forces behind their idolatry
- But also of the Jewish believers – the “we too” Paul refers to
- And no science, no majority vote, no psychological counseling, no Act of Congress, no Presidential Pardon, no amount of money, no pious acts, animal sacrifices, or any other thing… could and would remove the stain of sin, the guilt and the spiritually dead condition they (and we) are in!
- To the Romans Paul will even say that those who desire to do God’s will are powerless to overcome their enslaved situation (Romans 7:14-24)
WHAT GOD DID (That we could not do):
- Why God did it:
- “Because of His great love for us” (2:4)
- “The riches of His mercy” (2:4)
- What He did:
- “Made us alive together with Christ” – similar terms like “newness of life,” “a new creation,” and “dead to sin and alive in Christ” – even while we were dead in our sins
- “Raised us up with Him” – in a sense, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead brought us alive as well (Romans 6:3-11)
- “Seated us with Him in the heavenlies (that is where Christ is seated [1:20] and where all spiritual blessings are found [1:3]).
- “So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (2:7). “Show” (Gk. endeiknumi) means “demonstrate, exhibit, put on display, to prove by public exhibition.” “Surpassing” (Gk. huperballo) or “incomparable” (NIV), “immeasurable” (ESV), “exceeding” (KJV) means “to go on beyond anything else.”
- Have we forgotten? How hopeless and lost we were… “without hope and without God [while] in the world” (2:12).
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE:
- In Romans 3:21-31 sort of give the long-form explanation of how God is able to save us when we have done nothing to earn or deserve being redeemed.
- Saved by His GRACE – an undeserved, unmerited gift proceeding from God’s very nature or character
- Through our FAITH – not what “earns” it, but that which makes it effectual. God’s salvation is not a “universal” salvation, that is, for everyone regardless of their response or acceptance – John 3:16; Colossians 2:12; Titus 3:5; James 1:16-18.
- It is the gift of God – What is the “gift of God”? That we could and would be saved by His grace and the giving of His Son to die in our stead. John 4:10; Romans 5:15; II Corinthians 9:15; Hebrews 6:4
- Not by WORKS – nothing we have done or will do, even having faith, caused us to deserve or in any least way earn this salvation; only God’s grace made it possible.
- God’s WORKMANSHIP – (Gk. poiema) that which is created. Some translators even choose “masterpiece.” Used only here and in Romans 1:20.
- Our hopeless, helpless condition on our own
- God saved us with a salvation totally beyond “all we could ever ask or imagine,” but because of His love, mercy and grace He bestowed these riches upon us!
- He determined that access to this salvation would be based solely on our believing and responding to this Good News; even this was because of His grace.
- “Thanks be unto God for His indescribable gift!” – II Corinthians 9:15
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