Ephesians 2 (NRSV)
From Death to Life
Paul ended the last chapter by considering that the ultimate example of God’s power was the resurrection of Jesus. Now Paul considers what the implications of Jesus’ resurrection power are for our life.
You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient.
We err if we think that dead in trespasses and sins says everything about man’s lost condition. The Bible uses many different pictures to describe the state of the unsaved man, saying he is:
- – Blind (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
- – A slave to sin (Romans 6:17)
- – A lover of darkness (John 3:19-20)
- – Sick (Mark 2:17)
- – Lost (Luke 15)
- – An alien, a stranger, a foreigner (Ephesians 2:12, 2:19)
- – A child of wrath (Ephesians 2:3)
- – Under the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13)
3All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else.
4But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
from Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit, by Paul Chilcote:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith.”
All the blessings I have experienced in my life
are gifts from you.
I know I have done nothing to receive them.
And the greatest blessing of all, salvation, I receive from you
as a gift by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Help me to move beyond simply knowing about you
into a vital relationship with you based on trust,
into a life rooted in Jesus Christ
that brings peace and power,
as I rely on his death and resurrection in my daily living.
You offer me a present salvation,
a liberation from the guilt and fear and power of sin.
Birth within me a burning desire
to flee from all habitual and wilful sins.
Cleanse my heart and make me clean.
When I am tempted to think that faith is all I need,
remind me that the purpose of faith
is the restoration of true holiness in my heart and life.
Faith is always a means to love’s end.
May I never rest in my faith as if it were an end in itself;
rather help me to rely on your love as I seek to live faithfully.
May all the good that I am able
to accomplish in your strength
lead me away from pride or boasting
and always point to you as the source of all that is good.
I know that I am safe and held in your arms
whenever I put my entire trust in you.
Give me courage to proclaim this wonderful news
to all those around me who long to find their way home,
and when I proclaim faith in Christ, and others turn away,
may I ever rest in the victory of your love. Amen.
10For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
One in Christ
11So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision” —a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— 12remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14For he is our peace;
Psalm 147:14 (King James Version)
He maketh peace in thy borders.
in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.
15He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.
Gentiles and Jews are brought together into one body, the Church, where our unity in Jesus is far greater than our previous differences. HERE is a testimony of a former Jewish doctor who found this peace in Christ. (There is a whole collection of such testimonies, which are so enlightening and encouraging to hear! I recommend them!)
17So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.
19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.
Isaiah 28:16 (Contemporary English Version)
And so the LORD says,
“I’m laying a firm foundation
for the city of Zion.
It’s a valuable cornerstone
proven to be trustworthy;
no one who trusts it
will ever be disappointed.”
21In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
HERE is a tribute to the blood of Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.