“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:1-10
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Paul begins to remind the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) the greatest grace that we can receive from our Lord… the wonderful grace of salvation from our sins. The more we come to understand His gracious salvation, the more we should appreciate Him and the more we should be motivated to serve Him out of a heart of love and appreciation.
A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I. The proof of our spiritual death – 1-3
II. The gracious God of mercy and love – 4
III. The gracious blessing of spiritual life and its results – 5-7
IV. The gracious giving of faith – 8-9
V. The gracious privilege being chosen to service for Him – 10
In this morning’s devotional, Paul begins to explain our condition before salvation…
(Ephesians 2:1) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
And you hath he quickened,
“and you hath HE quickened” – Paul reminds us that we have been “quickened” by an act of the Lord not of our own ability or actions.
What is meant by the term “quickened”?
The term “quickened” was not found in the older Greek manuscripts, it was inserted by the KJV translators (please note that is why we find the term quickened written in italics in most KJV Bibles.)
Although this term was inserted by the KJV translators, it is clearly appropriate based upon its context (vs 5). In verse 5, we find that “quickened” comes from a word that means “to vitalize” or “to live”. We should apply this definition for “quickened” to our verse for today. By using this definition, we find that we have been given spiritual life by our Lord through His workings on our behalf.
Paul continues his teaching by explaining why we needed to be given spiritual life by the Lord…
who were dead
It is because we were spiritually dead, and therefore needed to be given spiritual life. Why was our condition before salvation described as spiritual death? Two reasons…
1. We need to remember a basic, fundamental principle concerning death. Death, when spoken of in the Bible, ALWAYS describes a type of separation. Please take notice that there are three types of death mentioned in the Bible…
a. PHYSICAL death which is a separation that takes place between our physical bodies and our immortal spirit.
At physical death the spirit leaves the body and returns to God while our bodies are buried and return to dust….
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
b. SPIRITUAL death which is a separation of the spirit from the Lord due to sin.
Because of our fallen, sinful condition we are conceived in a state of alienation from the Lord…
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
c. SECOND death which is separation of the sinner from the Lord throughout eternity.
The lost man enters into this state following the final judgment when he is cast permanently into the Lake of Fire…
Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years… And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death… But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
Prior to their physical death, all of mankind is found in a state of spiritual death. In other words, all of mankind is alienated from the Lord and totally lacking communion with Him. Apart from God’s gracious intervention in their lives, they are awaiting entrance into the second death (eternally placed into the Lake of Fire).
This principle is brought into clear view when the father of the prodigal son makes the statement…
“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:24).
He saw alienation and physical separation from his son as a type of death, while restored communion with him was a type of restoration of life. This is just like our separation from the Lord (spiritual death) and our restoration of communion with Him (giving of spiritual life at salvation).
2. But not only does death teach us of separation, it also teaches us of inability. A spiritually dead person cannot do anything to give himself life. He is dead. The only possible way that he can receive life is through the direct intervention in his life by another (Hebs 2:14-15).
Think of it as a man who has physically died. He cannot resuscitate himself, his only hope is for someone to come along, administer CPR or give to him cardio shock.
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? [then] may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23)
in trespasses and sins;
Man’s condition of spiritual death is directly linked to their sin nature and their sinful acts. Man is spiritually dead as the result of sin that has touched their lives (Romans 5:12).
What is the difference between “trespasses” and “sins”? These are simply two terms that describe the aspects of our disobedience against the Lord:
1. trespasses – is a term that means “to fall aside”
It emphasizes that disobedience can be an act. It is actively “crossing” boundaries prohibited by God.
2. sins – is a term that means “to miss the mark”
It emphasizes that disobedience can by a condition or state. It does not meet up with the standards God has given to us.
Our spiritual death is directly linked to the fact we were conceived in a fallen, sinful condition and we are continually committing acts of disobedience before God.
“That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21)
May we all enter this day with grateful hearts, knowing that our Lord, in spite of our alienated condition, saw fit to intervene in our lives and remove us from the bondage of sin to communion and eternal life with Him.
May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!
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