Ephesians 2 English Standard Version (ESV)
By Grace Through Faith
2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a]and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b]4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Q1. Last week I asked you to define the inheritance that Paul stated that we had obtained in Christ, I want to revisit that question again?
Last week we left off with Paul’s prayer for the saints at Ephesus, but we did not get the chance to deconstruct verses 17 – 23, and before we move into the second chapter, I want to make certain that we understand the motivation for the concepts revealed in Chapter 2.
- 17 – God is the originator and giver of wisdom and revelation of Himself. He gives it, and therefore He can withhold it.
- 18 – We can be saved and not understand the hope we have in Christ, and the riches that He has chosen to bless us with in Him.
- 19-20 – We have to understand that the same power that raised Christ from the dead has raised us from spiritual death, and is directed at keeping us until our final salvation is realized either in our physical death, or Christ’s return.
- 21 – Only the supreme authority could bestow supreme authority! This is who our Father is, the supreme authority of everything that exists.
- 22 – The church is the body of Christ, He is the head, not the pastor, not the elder, nor the Pope; only Christ is head, and the church is the fullness of Christ.
Q2. Who are you? What do you know about what happened when you put faith in Christ? Explain to me your status in Christ…
Chapter 2 – Salvation and More through Faith in Christ
Now we can progress into the second chapter, Paul has already given us so much to digest in the opening 22 verses that it would be easy to miss the emphasis he is placing on the inheritance of the Saints. This emphasis is very important to understanding Chapter 3….but, I am getting ahead of our place in the text.
Starting with the first verse, we have to remember that this epistle was not formatted with verses and chapters when it was originally written, and we would do well to read the first verse along with the last few verses of chapter 1 if we want to rightly continue in Paul’s thought process.
The word ‘and’ is a screaming clue that this is a continuation of an idea. What is the idea that Paul is continuing? It is the list of his prayers for the saints at Ephesus. In light of all that Christ has done for those who follow Him, Paul begins to remind us of how we came to be adopted and blessed in Christ.
Verses 1 – 3 – Status before faith in Christ
Q3. What did Paul mean we were dead in our sins, and children of wrath?
What can a dead person do? Nothing… Paul uses strong language here in order to contrast the blessed position of the Saints with their previous condition; we were once dead, destined for God’s wrath, but He has quickened us to life, and spoken well of us, prospered us, given us eternal life in Christ.
Verses 4 – 7 – But God
Q4. What are the similarities between Paul’s description of Christ’s resurrection in Chapter 1, and his description of our resurrection in verses 4 – 7?
Notice how Paul uses a similar progression in the descriptions in verse 20 of chapter one, and verses 5 – 7 in chapter 2. Now, tell yourself again, with conviction and meaning, who you are in Christ! You are an adopted child of God, who was resurrected from your previous dead state, you who were a rotting corpse awaiting the judgement of the Holy One; you who were a child of wrath, you have been resurrected with Christ, and not only given new life…but seated with Him in Heaven! You, a rebel, one who had taken up arms against the God of Heaven, now seated with Christ in Heaven. Why? So the Father can show the immeasurable riches of His love toward you through Christ! Amazing Grace indeed.
Let us together read the parable of the prodigal son (read Luke 15:11-32). Do you understand the parable now? That was mankind, the son who fled away with his inheritance. That was you- is you, if you have not returned repentant to the Father.
Verses 8 – 10 – What have I contributed?
Q5. How have you contributed to your salvation? Is it based on your works? Did you find Jesus, or did He find you?
We have faith in Christ for salvation, but as Charles Spurgeon once asked, ‘From whence comes the idea?’ (My own paraphrase of Spurgeon from his work, A Defense of Calvinism.) You see, we often make our salvation out as a ‘work’ of our own hand either directly by our words, or by our attitudes, and this leads us to the same pit that the Pharisees wallowed in, self-righteousness. The act of believing is a human ‘work’, not that I am saying that you can be saved without believing, but rather that the impetus to believe is a work of the Holy Spirit, on the orders of the Father. I will be posting a list of Scriptures on the blog this week that directly speak to this point of doctrine, I ask that you all read them and prayerfully examine them in light of their context.
Q6. Does your status as an adopted child of God give you reason to think of yourself as being better than others?
Read Romans 3:21-28; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11
Q7. Why were we given new life in Christ?
We were created for good works, which were prepared before the foundations of the world that we would walk in them! You see, you who were dead in sins, and subject to God’s wrath, have been given new life in Christ, a life that is characterized by your love for God and your fellow believer. A purposeful life of good works which the Father has prepared for you to do.
Our life group is moving into a season of intentional seeking of those for whom we can do good works. Whether those people are in the faith or not, whether they are in our neighborhoods or our not, we will perform the good works that our Father has prepared for us to do. This intentionality will cause us to be stretched, it will cause us discomfort, and it will cause us to question our abilities, but remember that He prepared these good works for us before the beginning of time.
I challenge each of you to seek out opportunities for our group to do good works, I challenge each of you to seek out opportunities individually to do good works. Lastly, I leave you with this question from James 2:14-26:
Q8. If someone examined only your works, would they be convinced of the genuineness of your faith?