Ephesians 2:1-10 | Alive in Christ
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
- From the great heights of our spiritual blessings in Christ, Paul now descends to our present reality as sinners where our state is simply dead in transgressions and sins
- We are spiritually dead and so are totally unable to seek after God if it were not for his prior intervention, yet his love is so deep for us that he is willing to reach down into the depths of our death and sin to bring us life
- What is the difference between transgressions and sins?
- Transgressions/trespasses speak of consciously choosing to violate God’s law, like trespassing on land not ours or crossing (tran-) a line
- Sin speaks of ‘missing the mark’ of God’s standard and perfection and so failing to measure up
- Trespasses speak of man as a rebel, sins speak of man as a failure. We can’t live righteously and we won’t live righteously. “Before God we are both rebels and failures.” (Stott)
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.
- The way of this world is accustomed not to follow God, but to trespass and sin against him.
- The way of this world is dictated by the “ruler of the kingdom of the air”, who is the Satan. He is the kingdom of the air because that is what we breath and live in unconsciously, just as we walk in our sin.
- This spirit is at work in the ‘children of disobedience’ – all of humanity, to set them against God by their very nature
3 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.
- Before Christ in our lives we lived just all did, seeking to gratify the cravings of our sinful flesh instead of seeking to be saved from them. We were subject to ourselves and our own sin, until we became subservient to a new master, the spirit of Christ.
- ‘gratifying’ the cravings of our flesh – can be translated as busying oneself or having a conversation with your own cravings.
- We are by nature objects of wrath because we sin and trespass against God because we follow our sinful desires, thoughts and feelings because the Spirit of evil is at work within us. This works out as:
- The Spirit of evil at work within us causes us to…
- gratify the cravings of our flesh, which causes us to…
- sin and trespass against God, which causes us to become…
- objects of God’s wrath
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 transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
- The key theme here is death to life. That is the nature of salvation and shows even more clearly that we have no part in our own salvation. We are a corpse brought back to life, not someone on the edge and rescued from death
- Despite being dead in transgressions against God and being objects of wrath, God saved us because of his love, mercy and grace. His love is greater than our sin!
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 not just made us alive in Christ and brought us up to a neutral position before him, but seated is with him in the heavenly realms.
- O the height and depth of God’s love that he would raise us from being objects of wrath to be elevated in heavenly places.
- For what purpose? – that he might show the incomparable riches of his grace. This links back to chapter 1, where all things are for the ‘praise of his glory’
- This also ties in with Romans 9:23 whereby God will make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
- The ‘gift’ is salvation by grace alone, not by our merit. Faith enables this gift to be received
- Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. ‘sola fide sola gratia sola christo’
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
- “handiwork/workmanship” – this infers there is a purpose to our being saved, which was expressed before…that God might display the incomparable riches of his grace towards us
- We are created to do good works not evil works. That is our original calling. The works that we produce as simply the fruit of the spirit that is at work within us. An evil spirit produces evil fruit, a holy spirit produces holy fruit. It is not so much our choice which fruit we bear but which spirit we submit to
- It is the spirit who enables good works to be produced it is all by his mercy by his grace
The church has been made alive in Christ because God is rich in mercy, even though we were dead in our sin and transgression and lost to our own desires. Not only did he make us alive, but also seated us in the heavenly realms alongside Christ to reveal to the incomparable riches of his grace, which he gifted to us.