“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 continues to explain the lifestyle of those who are spiritually dead…
(Ephesians 2:3) 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.
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh,
The idea of “conversation” is translated from a Greek word that has the idea of “to abide”, “to behave”, “to live”. “to continue on as”.
Keeping this in mind, we can see that prior to salvation, the lives of God’s people are characterized by:
1. taking their place, and fitting in, among other lost men
2. following the lusts of the flesh as a way of life.
fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;
Their actions and goals of life centered upon selfishly satisfying the inward lusts that proceeded from their fallen nature and sinful mind.
A very important lesson about the commission of sin is found in this verse. For any act of sin to take place both our lusts and mind are involved in a four step process. Sin results when:
1. A sinful desire dwells within us (desires of the flesh)
2. An opportunity to fulfill that desire is opened to us (the enticement or temptation)
3. We recognize the opportunity, think about it, and choose to act upon it (the mind and will exercised)
4. This then, results in the act of sin being committed and the cause of Christ being harmed. (performance of sin)
By breaking this chain at any point will allow us to escape the temptation without sin…
1. if we avoid the opportunity to sin, or…
2. if we ignore the temptation and remove our thoughts from it, or…
3. If, after mental consideration, choose to not commit the sin, or…
any of the above result in our successfully overcoming the temptation.
Sin only takes place when DESIRE, OPPORTUNITY, MENTAL CONSIDERATION and DETERMINATION TO ACT align themselves.
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” (James 1:14-16)
and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Prior to salvation, God’s people were just as separated from Christ, unforgiven, and deserving the Lake of Fire as any other lost individual. This was ll due to their fallen, sinful nature that had been passed down from Adam.
There was nothing in their physical existence on earth that set them apart from other lost men. There was no outward indicator that a person would come to Christ in the future. There was nothing in their life that merited their salvation, nor gained it of their own actions or worth.
Apart from the gracious intervention of the Lord they were exactly as any other lost individuals, a fallen creature, living a sinful lifestyle and destined for the Lake of Fire.
“Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:22-23)
What grace the Lord showed to us, loving us eternally, choosing to save us, and securing our eternal salvation through His working on our behalf. He did all of this, in spite of the fact that we were just like any other rebellious, sinful, individual that only deserved His eternal punishment at His hand.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
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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