Made Alive in Christ
Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV
March 14, 2021
Last week we looked at all the instances we read in Christ one way or another and found 10-12 depending on the version of the Bible you use. Today in the first 10 verses of chapter 2, we have 5 instances of with Christ or in Christ.
v1. dead in trespasses or transgressions and sins. This is obviously not a real or complete death as we were all able to continue breathing, moving about, and making decisions and choices. We are – or were – the walking dead, the walking spiritually dead, not knowing God. To say an unsaved man is just like a dead man, a cadaver, is wrong. Dead wrong as a completely dead man is unable to sin. Instead someone dead in trespasses and sins is
Trespasses – crossed a line challenging God’s boundaries. Sin – missing the mark.
v1-2-3. For us, for the saved, for those who have heard the good news of Jesus and believed, this is our, this is their past. This is what life was like for all of us before we were saved or if we are unsaved, this is what life is like now.
When we consider the lusts or cravings of the flesh, Paul is speaking of perversions of the legitimate desires of human nature. As a result we were by nature children of wrath. We rightfully deserved God’s wrath, and deserved it because of who we were by our heritage.
v4-6. But God! The present, the past is behind us: because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
Romans 5:8, While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And 5:10, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son,
(SHIRT) I have a shirt that show the difference between the past and the present which we will get to shortly. On the front it says “I am not the man I ought to be, but” and the back says, “THANK GOD I am not the man I used to be.”
v7. Our future or why did Jesus die for us while we were yet sinners? He did it so (v7) in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Our future extends in the coming ages, not just the coming age. What will God show us in the first 100,000 years in heaven? Then in then in the next 100,000 years?
V8-9. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Paul said to the church in Corinth, “What do you have that you did not receive?” 1 Cor 4:7
The truth is all that we are able to do is a gift from God. That includes taking your next breath, writing a letter, taking notes on the message this morning, to staying awake for this message. The ability for each and every one of these is a gift from God. Is a great singer’s ability a gift from God? Of course it is AND the singer is responsible for how he or she uses that gift.
The question, “Is faith a gift from God?” is the wrong question, especially when looking at v8-9 or any like verse. The question should be, “Is faith an effectual or irresistible gift of God only given to some and withheld from all others as Calvinists teach?”
The answer is an emphatic NO. And it has to be NO because of what the Bible teaches. Consider Romans 1:20, All are without excuse. If that is true and we know it is, then everyone had a choice to have faith or not have faith.
Further, faith cannot be an irresistible given by God to some and not to others because of what Jesus did or said.
- Mark 16:14 would make no sense where Jesus/He rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.
- Then in Matthew 17:17, why did Jesus say, You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?
- And in Mark 6:6, Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith.
- Last but not least in Luke 7:9, When Jesus heard about the faith of the Roman Centurion, He was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following Him and said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”
Let’s look again at verses 8-9 and ask ourselves what the word this refers to? It does not refer to faith, but to grace and salvation. Even John Calvin wrote Paul’s meaning is salvation is a gift of God, not that faith is the gift of God.
Natural question then is “Where does faith come from?” We should all know this as it is above the front door of our church. Romans 10:7, Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ. And in Romans 1:16, … it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Thus salvation is granted to all who believe. Paul taught about those who perish or go to Hell in 2 Thessalonians 2:10,
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
Before we move on to verse 10, let us take one more look at verses 8-9, this time in the amplified version of the Bible,
One more quote, this one from Clarke’s commentary, But it may be asked: Is not faith the gift of God? Yes, as to the grace by which it is produced; but the grace or power to believe, and the act of believing, are two different things. Without the grace or power to believe no man ever did or can believe; but with that power the act of faith is a man’s own. God never believes for any man, no more than he repents for him; the penitent, through this grace enabling him, believes for himself.”
v10. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Handiwork may also be interpreted as work of art. This is our future.