A Walk Through Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-10 (Or God’s Grace Alone)

Hi everyone. So, it has been a very long time since I’ve done one of these types of posts. There is a reason for that: fear of getting it wrong. Anyway. So, I meet with my pastor (the student pastor at my church anyway) every Friday and we’ve been going through Ephesians together and I wanted to share it with you. I unfortunately don’t have my notes for Ephesians 1, but long story short: Jesus is God and everything on earth and in heaven is being brought to fulfillment in Him. Got it? Good. So, we’re going to go through Ephesians 2 now. This is just part one, the next one will follow soon.

Dead in Sin

“[1] As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, [2] 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 [3]. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature, and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”

(Verses 1-3) Ephesians 2 starts off on a very strong note, with Paul writing to his Gentile audience telling them that they were dead in their sins and transgressions against God, saying how they used to follows the ways of the world and of the Enemy. And then he says to them essentially that they shouldn’t feel attacked because all people were in the same boat, even the Jews. Paul tells the Ephesian believers that all people followed the way’s of the world, that they were serving the Enemy and also satisfied the cravings and desires of their flesh. What does this mean for humanity and the relationship we have with God? Well, it means two things: we were dead spiritually. We couldn’t achieve spiritual goodness or rightness on our own. If it helps, imagine someone in a coffin. They cannot do anything to help themselves, you can nick their watch and they can’t do anything about it. Anyway, that was us in the coffin. All men and women were in that position without God. And as if that wasn’t terrifying enough it means also that “we were by nature objects of wrath” (Eph 2:3b). We were the targets of God’s wrath and judgement because we chose to satisfy our sinful nature, we chose the ways of the world over God’s good and moral ways. What’s very important to remember here is that no one was exempt from this; all humanity was set to face the wrath of God. We all were dead in our sins, helpless to save ourselves from it.

Saved by Grace

“[4] 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 our 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.”

(Verses 4-7) But rejoice! Good news abounds! God is rich in love and mercy. He “made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions” (Eph 2:5a). Let’s stop there for a moment. That is amazing news. Think about that for a moment; God has brought us to spiritual life and has given us life in the Son, Christ Jesus, when we couldn’t deserve it less. We are no longer ‘objects of wrath’. We are alive! Ah, that’s awesome. Wait, but there’s more. See, remember that whole dead-people-can’t-help-themselves thing? Honestly, you should, it was like 5 sentences ago. Anyway, because we are completely incapable of saving ourselves, God does something amazing. He offers us grace. Grace for our transgressions against Him. “It is by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:5b). In fact, not only are we saved by grace, but we have been “seated in the heavenly realms with Christ” (Eph 2:6b). Like, this is amazing stuff. We have gone from being objects of wrath, dead in our sin, incapable of helping ourselves to being raised to spiritual life and being above all the problems and sinfulness of the world. We are seated with Christ Jesus. Maybe you need to let that sink in. Why is God doing all of this? To express the “incomparable riches of His grace” (Eph 2:7) in Christ. God raised us in Christ in order to show His grace, mercy and love to us.

“[8] For it is by grace you have been saved , through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – [9] not by works so that no one can boast.”

(Verses 8-9) So I’ve set these two verses apart, even though they are part of the section of grace, because they are super vital to our understanding of the Gospel. It is by grace that we have been saved, not by works (that means what we do and say and think, basically what we can do). Now why is that super vital? It shows God’s power in that without His grace, we are dead and unable to save ourselves. It is a reminder to be humble because without God, we’re in a bad place to be. I find the end of verse 8 sums it up: “and this not from yourselves, but it is a gift from God” (Eph 2:8b). It is a gift from God. We are not saved by our works, but only by the gift of God’s grace. Please, please, remember that. Be humbled by it.

God’s Work in Us:

“[10] For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

(Verse 10) So this is a bit of an odd one to end this section off with, we really need to look at the verse as a whole. We are God’s workmanship, He has created us in Christ, He has fashioned us, chosen us, worked in us to bring us close to Him. Why? To do good works. Now I hear some of you already saying “But you said works don’t save us!”. That’s right, they don’t save us. They mean nothing before we are in Christ. Good works do not save us, they are an outworking of our being saved by God. God chose us, worked in our hearts, saved us, and now we do good works because we are new creatures. That really should make sense pretty easily, it’s not a hard concept. This next bit might trip some of you up: “which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10). Yeah, predetermination is real. We have literally nothing to do with our salvation, God chose us before the creation of everything, so we can’t actually decide whether we will accept him or not, which is actually a good thing and I will explain it one day Anyway. Calvinists 1 – Arminians 0 (If you don’t get that, don’t worry, it’s a nerdy theology joke).

 

So yeah, that’s part 1 of the Ephesians text that I remembered to put up. I’ll do part 2 soon, which is verses 11-22. It’s really been cool to go through all of this lately and I want to continue posting this stuff and letting you all see what I’m learning and doing, what my thoughts are. Anyway, please remember, it is by Grace alone, not by works, that we are saved. God’s grace saves, our work means naught. God bless you brothers and sisters.

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