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Sunday, September 21, 2014 pm                                    Ephesians Index

STUDIES IN EPHESIANS (8)
By Grace You Have Been Saved
Ephesians 2:4-10

 As we continue our study of the book of Ephesians, today we examine an oft quoted and wonderful text.   It addresses the mercy, love and grace of God.  However, the text than includes a portion (vs. 8-9) that is often misquoted in an effort to remove the need to be baptized (or do anything perceived as a “work”) to be saved, and stay saved. 

In our lesson tonight we will examine this context and in the process we will see how this text is NOT teaching “faith only” as a means of salvation, but rather a text that emphasizes our salvation is by the grace of God.

In our last lesson we noted vs. 1-3 where Paul speaks of our former conduct – dead in trespasses and sins, walking after the course of this world and following Satan.  The result of this lifestyle was that we were “by nature children of wrath” meaning we were destined for eternal condemnation, and without any real hope of getting out by ourselves.  The message here is similar n structure to Paul in Romans 7:13-25, where he describes his desire to do the right thing, but he finds himself sinning and without hope.  He says in vs. 24, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)   BUT then in vs. 25 we read, “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25)   Because of Christ Jesus there IS hope! 

In our text, vs. 4-10 describe our hope in God though which we can be delivered from the state previously described (vs. 1-3).  Let us take notice of Paul’s observations.

 I.                    God, who is rich in mercy and love (4)

a.        BUT God” - Our salvation begins with God.   When we emphasize that grace is the prime factor in our salvation, this is the point.  Without God’s willingness to do something there would simply be no hope whatsoever. 

b.       He is a God of mercy – the idea of mercy is showing kindness or concern to someone in need, compassion and pity (BDAG).  God does not give us what we deserve (His mercy relieves the consequences of our sins).   Deut. 4:31, “God is a merciful God” (Psa. 116:5).  We see the mercy of God demonstrated in His dealings with rebellious Israel.  Over and over he showed compassion, even with their continual rebellion.  The righteous realized this – so much so that it is frequently mentioned in the psalms.  Psalm 136 mentions it as a refrain in every verse, “For His mercy endures forever.”
1 Peter 1:3 speaks of His abundant mercy. 

c.        He is a God of love – John 3:16, 1 John 4:7-11.   God genuinely cares about us.  That is why He has done everything that He has done.
This text tells us that His mercy (and grace) is the product of His GREAT love.

d.       In these things God is “rich” and “great” –
 “rich” deals with the idea of a large amount and valuable. 
“great” is a word that mean something in the upper range of a scale means
In this text we are reminded that what God gives us is not sparse, but rather it is very generous and abundant.  We find that throughout this text.

 II.                  Made us alive together with Christ (5)

a.        even when we were dead in trespasses” – our trespasses is our wrongdoing, violation of moral standards, sin (BDAB).  The death which was the result of our sins as described in our last lesson is now addressed.

b.       We are made alive in Christ
That in which we have been made alive is the antithesis of being dead in our trespasses. Thus this is a spiritual resurrection.   And Jesus is the facilitator of this new life.
How do we come in contact with the death of Christ and are thereby made alive in Christ?  Notice Colossians 2: 11-13, Romans 6:3-6, Galatians 3:27 – and the importance of baptism. 

c.        “By grace you have been saved” (5b) – grace is God’s gift of salvation.  (His grace relieves the guilt of our sins).  This text associates His grace with the death of Jesus the Son whom He SENT! 
As we have emphasized in times past, Grace is His part.  God has made provisions for that which we can never achieve on our own.  The greatest manifestation of that is clearly His Son (Romans 5:8-11).  But it would also include the giving of His word, the avenue of prayer through which we can approach Him, the provisions of His church, etc.

 

 III.                He has raised us up and made us to sit in heavenly places  (6-7)

a.        The result of coming in contact with Christ’s blood is not just being made alive, but also we are…

b.       “raised us up together” - We have been raised up – not just made alive but changed.
 Thus it is dealing with our spiritual condition.  In Him we are to be a new creation - 2 Corinthians 5:17.
The “together” here would include Paul and those to whom he is writing.  Paul will deal with our being united together later in this epistle.  But also, we are raised together WITH Christ (and in Him).  Again consider Romans 6:5 – we are raise with Him to walk in newness of life. 

c.        “made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” – the grace of God which is manifested in the resurrection of Jesus has resulted in us sitting together in heavenly places.  When we become Christians we have a relationship with heaven.  Our citizenship is there – Phil. 3:20, Ephesians 2:19 – we are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints…; our anchor is there – Heb. 6:19), Heb. 12:12, But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,

We have hope of eternal reward.  Even on this earth, is that not the direction we are to be seeking? (Colossians 3:1-2)

d.       “That in the ages to come” – perhaps this is a reference to all ages of time after Christ came to this earth.  The word ages is indeterminate as to time – it can mean a dispensation, an era, an age, or a lifetime.  The best fit with this term here is the various ages of time since Christ established His kingdom.  Over nearly 2000 years this world has experienced many ages of civilization.  While technology continues to evolve one thing remains constant – Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8).  His laws still apply to day as much as they did back then.

e.       “He might show the riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.    Here Paul adds another word to God’s mercy and love.  He mentions His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 

Truly the grace of God is the prime factor in our salvation.  But we need to come in contact with His grace.  In our next lesson we will discuss the FAITH of Ephesians 2:8-9.