“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, as a summary of his prior teachings, Paul emphasizes that our salvation is a gracious gift of God…
(Eph 2:8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
As a way of helping us to recognize the great grace that God has shown towards His people, Paul now presents three truths related to our initial salvation experience…
For by grace are ye saved
It is only through the gracious workings of the Lord that we are the recipients of His salvation. This salvation, based upon the prior verses, is a deliverance from the penalty, power and in the future the presence of sin.
Here, we find highlighted the principle of our needy condition before the Lord. We cannot do enough good works to deserve this divine deliverance, nor can we merit this salvation based upon our riches, authority, social status, or personhood. We are absolutely destitute of any possible way to rescue ourselves from the sin that is in our lives.
Understanding this principle leads us to understand that our salvation is not gained through our labors but through the work of Christ…
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” (Romans 3:22-27)
To stress this principle further, Paul centers our attention on the saving faith exercised at our salvation experience…
through faith; and that not of yourselves:
This gracious salvation is granted to man as he exercises faith in the Lord…
“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:10-13)
But Paul takes this truth a step further and explains that the faith we exercise when we are saved is not a faith that comes from within ourselves. In other words, it is not something we can “work up” of our own efforts…
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
If our saving faith does not come from within us, nor from our efforts, where does it come from?
it is the gift of God:
What great grace! Even our acceptance of the truth and the saving faith that we exercise is given to us by God …
“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:26-29)
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John 6:63-65)
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” (Acts 16:14)
“And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear [to be] in me.” (Philippians 1:28-30)
“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 1:14)
The Bible makes it very plain that our saving faith originated with the Lord and given to us as another gift of grace to those who are undeserving and unable to obtain it of their own merit.
Our salvation is a wondrous act of the grace, kindness and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May we all come to a clearer understanding of our inability to obtain salvation for ourselves. But especially, may we all come to recognize that even the faith we exercise in the Lord is an undeserved gift that was absolutely necessary to receive deliverance from our sins…
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)
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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