A DEFINITE DIFFERENCE

House of Prayer
Nov 15 · 5 minutes read

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

But 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, 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.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV)

In this section of his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul describes the state believers were in prior to their coming to Christ and the significant change that has taken place now that they have believed the Gospel.

The Dilemma

In our natural or pre-conversion state, we followed the ways of this world and of Satan, who is the ruler of the kingdom of the air. Our lives were full of transgressions and sins, as we indulged in gratifying the cravings of the flesh and following its desires and thoughts.

The two words Paul uses here, namely ‘transgressions’ and ‘sins’, refer to the breaking of specific commands and the failure to meet the standard which God has set for us.  In other words, it speaks both of the wrong we have done and the right we have failed to do. Equally then, all human beings are without excuse before God, irrespective of the level of morality we attain or display.

We were in a state of ‘death’. By death, the apostle refers to a separation from God and a lacking of all spiritual life (Ephesians 4:18-19). In this condition, we were under the wrath of God and were destined to suffer His punishment in the future as well.

The Deliverance

Helpless and hopeless as we were, God intervened and made a way of escape. He expressed Himself in this loving way because He is rich in mercy, not because we were attractive, admirable or adorable.

This deliverance from the sentence of death and the experience of life is given us through Christ. God sent His Son into the world so that we might live through Him (John 10:10; 1 John 4:9; 5:12).

The entire process of receiving this new life through union with Christ is not described in this particular passage. Vital elements such as the prerequisite to hear the Gospel and believe, the necessity of being immersed in water and the Holy Spirit (both of which play a huge role in enabling us to put an end to the old life and to enter into the fulness of new life) are mentioned by the apostle in other places (Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 6:3-5; Titus 3:4-6).

The Development

God has ‘raised us up with Christ’ and ‘seated us with Christ’. We have crossed over from death to life and have now come into a place of authority and victory, whereby we are entitled to every spiritual blessing and the ability to triumph over the powers of darkness. This experience of salvation is ours because of the grace of God, not because of any merit or goodness on our part.

There is a beautiful illustration of ‘grace and its benefits’ in the Old Testament. It is recorded in 2 Samuel 9. King David brings into his palace Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan (with whom David had shared a deep brotherly bond). He showers undeserving kindness upon him (being crippled in both feet, Mephibosheth was of no use to him or the kingdom of Israel), restores his lost inheritance, gives him the right to eat at his table, and treats him like one of his own sons.

All these privileges were given by David to Mephibosheth for Jonathan’s sake and similarly, all that we as believers enjoy today has been given by God the Father on account of Jesus.

The Destiny

The section closes with the future being described, in both its immediate and final aspects. As believers, we have been saved to do good works on earth now and to receive a glorious inheritance in Heaven later.

There is a specific plan which God has concerning every individual and each one of us is called to serve His purpose in our generation. Abiding in Christ through dwelling in His Word and walking in step with His Spirit enables us to know and fulfil our responsibilities as believers.

In the coming ages, a time span which is endless and infinite, God has for us incomparable riches. We will inherit then all that has been prepared for us.  There in our new residence, the home of righteousness, we will be with the Lord and His people forever (2 Peter 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). We will experience a new order of life, with the old order of sin, sickness, suffering and Satan completely and permanently taken away (Revelation 21:3-4)!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you!

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