“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 2:9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Following Paul’s clear statement that.. ”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”… following this, he then states that the saving faith that we exercise is …
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
This is a very important point indeed. Paul is telling us that if we simply “make a decision to trust Christ” for our salvation, apart from His intervention and granting of faith to us, it is something we can boast about. Why is this? It is because the exercise of that saving faith would be based upon US… The decision we made would be due to:
1. our ability to understand the Scriptures on our own
2. our wisdom to apply the Scriptures to our lives
3. our decision, which was made solely of our own ability
4. our faith which we possessed of ourselves and which we simply decided to place in Christ.
Truly, our salvation would be a display of our many attributes and abilities… we would be recognized as “smarter” than others who heard the Word but rejected it! This would be because we acted upon the gospel rather than rejecting it like many others do.
But what is the truth about the receipt of the gospel by lost mankind?
1. We were blinded to the truth and must have our eyes opened by the Lord. (2 Corinthians 4:3-6)
2. We could not seek the Lord, nor did we want to. The Lord had to draw us to himself (John 6:44-45,65)
3. We could not turn from our sins, but the Lord must intervene and turn us. (2 Timothy 2:25)
4. We could not trust in Him of ourselves but must have saving faith granted to us through Christ. (Phils 1:29)
We can in no way brag about what took place in our lives at our salvation. All we can do is cry “thank you my Lord”, for it was only by His divine intervention that we can to a saving faith in Him.
This basic principle can be applied in another way as well…
If we being to think that we are saved by grace, but kept saved through our good works…. The truth is, if that is so, we have much to brag about. We can pat ourselves on the back and say that we are better than others due to our good works and the retaining our salvation (compared to those who are saved and then lose that salvation).
But what is the truth? We are kept by the power of the Lord, in His hand protected and secure in Him. Once again we are not to look to ourselves, but we are to praise and honor Him realizing His death on the cross accomplished the work necessary to keep us secure in Him apart from our good works. (2 Timothy 1:8-10, John 10:27-30)
Our good works can add nothing to the reception or retention of our salvation. His grace is sufficient to meet our every eternal need!…
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency [is] of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)
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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