Saved By Grace Alone: Bible Survey for New Christians

March 23rd, 2009

Ephesians 2

Summary
By comparing what we were by nature, with what we are by grace,
he declares that we are made for good works: and being brought near by Christ, should not live as Gentiles and foreigners, as in time past, but as citizens with the saints, and the family of God.

2:1. And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
2:2. in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
2:3. among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
2:4. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
2:5. even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
2:6. and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
2:7. that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
2:8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
2:9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.

2:10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
2:11. Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands
2:12. that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
2:13. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ.
2:14. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us,
2:15. having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
2:16. and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
2:17. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
2:18. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
2:19. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
2:20. having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
2:21. in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
2:22. in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.

Comments:

Saved by grace. There is so much said here. First, we all started in a condition of death. The good news is that as believers, we have been made alive. How? Keep reading, but first here's more on our sinful nature.

We once walked a path in the ways of the world. There are powers, evil powers, in this natural world. We once were at the mercy of those powers and living a disobedient life, in relation to what God intended. All we knew was the relative truth of our perspective. All we knew was what came from our emotions. We did things that seemed right, and felt good. Despite that pursuit of good feeling, we were angry.

While we were in that condition, God loved us. He made it so we could be brought back to life by the actions of Christ. We have been rescued from the harsh and wild place that this world is, and rescued back into his heavenly kingdom. We are placed in the throne of Christ, and have a permanent place in the future, eternal kingdom.

This salvation comes by grace. We don't deserve it. We can't do anything to earn it. To be able to work for salvation and earn it, is to be able for some person to boast and flaunt their deeds over everyone. That priveledge is for God alone.

Before I go on to consider the rest of the verses. let me pause and review some Old Testament things.

Historically, God's chosen people were the Israelites. God made promises to them. Other people, other tribes and nations who stood in thei way were often totally killed off. God's grace was extended only to the Jews. Nobody else. To be a Jew, you can only be one if you are born into it. So, If I were to want to take part in the promises of God, there would have been no other way for me. No hope. My parents are not Jews. Any non Jews, gentiles, are outsiders. That's the bad news.

The good news is that the Messiah, the chosen one, was to one day come and deliver the Jews from the burden of their sin. The burden of sacrificing animals that had no power, but was just a reminder of their constant shortcomings. This Messiah would come to fulfill, or complete the old laws. God's desire is for people to live moral lives, as explained in the laws. To live that way, and in loving God, is what salvation is about.

Here's more good news. The coming Messiah would tear down the barriers and let the true believing Jews into the kingdom. But also, his power is so great, and so far reaching that he even provides a way for us nonJews to come to him. Though we didn't start out being his chosen people, we can enjoy being adopted into the heavenly family.

Let's get back to the passage at verse 10.

We are his workmanship. Literally, 'we are his created things'. We have a purpose to do good works. God has a special good work for each of us. It has been preplanned. Each of us who are believers have a place already cut out for us. A job for everybody, and everybody with his own place.

Sometimes religious people set up clicks. An example is given here of certain circumsized folks reminding the gentile believers that they were still considered uncircumsized. Look closely at the words here. Don't let anybody take away from the importance of your own salvation. "Circumcision made in the flesh by hands" For one, circumscision is one of those symbolic things, a sign of a covenant between God and his people. It is made by men, by hand. It is a self inflicted symbol that is a reminder that God has ownership over that person.

The laws were regulations over outward actions. Circumcision was a physical sign in the flesh. In other places in the New Testament, we are said to be circumcised in our heart. New Testament teachings are laws that rule our spiritual nature. The heart is a symbol of the seat of the emotions. To be circumcized in our hearts is to be marked in a spiritual nature. At any rate, we gentiles are just as much marked, and part of the family of God as those who have a physical birth into it.

There was a time when gentiles didn't have any hope. Now, with the benefit of having Christ in the world, we have been accepted. We were distant, and far away. Now, by the blood of Christ, we are brought to be close at hand.

Jesus made peace between us. He takes the two types of people, Jews and Gentiles, and makes us into one people. He takes away all the hostility between people, and makes us into one body. He takes those hostile feelings and kills them so we are no longer enemies. The message of Christ is one of peace. If we say we are spreading the word of Jesus, and it results in having no peace and disunity, it is time to scratch our heads and see what we might be doing wrong. The good news of his message should bring peace and unite believers. It should have the power of bring two strangers and making a unified body.

Christ came to build a kingdom. He wasn't on earth for very long. Long enough to lay down a cornerstone. The apostles laid down the foundation. As time progresses, all us other believers bring our own legacy to the temple. The building that God has been making. It is fitted together. Literally, tightly fitted together. Each believer plays his own part in this interesting structure. When it is done, we will be the house where God himself lives inside.

Wow, we are not only saved by grace, but for a purpose. Start living the life now.

Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: