idolsApart from Christ we are spiritually dead: 2:1-3.
Ephesians 2:1-3 gives a summary of the human condition and explains what we are by nature. We are dead in trespasses and sins (2:1). It is a universal human problem. Unsaved are physically, emotionally and intellectually alive but spiritually dead. There is nothing more hopeless than a life of walking dead. A sinner is unable to respond to spiritual things because he is separated from God (Isaiah 59:2; 1 Cor 2:14). Trespass refers to open violation of God’s Law. Sin is anything that misses God’s perfect goal or missing the mark God sets (Rom 3:23). We are guilty of the sin of commission and sin of omission (James 4:17; Rom 14:23). Sinners live as if God does not exist. Unsaved people are disobedient and follow the world's standards. The world is under the control of Satan. Satan is the prince of the world (John 12:31; 2 Cor 4:4). By nature we are children of wrath and by deeds children of disobedience (2:3; Gen: 3:6). Satan uses the world, devil and flesh to deceive us and to disobey God. Sinners are under the wrath of God and are already condemned (John 3:18, 36). The reason God delay the final judgment is because he is patient and desires that none should perish (Rom 2:4; 2 Pet 3:8, 9). God is merciful and wants all to be saved (1 Tim 2:4).
Made us alive with Christ: 2:4-6.
There was nothing we could do to earn our salvation. Salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequences (Col 1:13). It is also entering into the blessings of God in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-10 explains what God has done on behalf of sinner to save them. Salvation is free gift of God (Jonah 2:9). God is rich in mercy because He is rich in love. His love is so great that He gave his only begotten Son to save us (John 3:16). By nature God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is one of his relational attributes. When God relates his love to us, it becomes grace and mercy. Sinners do not receive what they deserve because God is merciful. They receive what they don’t deserve because of God’s grace. Sinners are saved by God’s grace and mercy (2:4). We are saved by grace through faith in Christ. God’s grace does the work and faith accepts it. The same power that raised Christ from the dead has made us alive in Christ (2:5-6). It happens when we believe in Christ (John 5:24). Our union with Christ enables us to share His resurrection life (1:19-20). Believers are seated with Christ in the heavenly places (2:6). Our union with Christ made it possible. Verse 8 tells us, how we are saved and verse 9 tells us how we not are saved. Verse 10 tells us why we are saved. Someone has said “Grace is God’s provision and faith is man’s appropriation”. We receive what God has already done for us in Christ. We can’t earn salvation by good work. We are saved by grace. If we add anything to grace it is no more grace. If we are saved by work, we have reason to boast. Only in God we should boast because he is the Savior (1 Cor 1:31; Jeremiah 9:24).
The Purpose of Salvation: 2:7-10.
God saved us to display the exceeding riches of His grace. The purpose of redemption is not simply to rescue us from hell but to transform us to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29). For all eternity the Church will be the trophies of God grace. Thus God will be glorified for his grace. We are saved for good works (2:10). Good works demonstrate the reality of our salvation. It is not the root but the fruit of salvation. Paul says that even our faith is a gift from God, leaving no room for us to boast. God can’t work in us unless He first works for us. He works in us through the Holy Spirit both to will and to do His pleasure (Phil 2:13). Also we are created by him and for him (Col 1:16). Good works are prepared by God and we must not minimize the importance of them. We are exhorted to abound in good works (2 Cor 9:8; Col 1:10; Titus 2:14). We should stir up one another unto love and good works (Heb 10:24; 13:16). Good works are not manufactured by us but the evidence of our salvation. This is not only the saving grace but also the sustaining and strengthening grace (1 Cor 15:10). Unsaved may not recognize our good works but will be forced to glorify God when Christ judges the world (1 Pet 2:12). Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matt 5:16). Pray that we may demonstrate the reality of salvation by the way we live.
In Christ, we are God’s Family: 2:11-20.
Paul wants the gentile believers to know that they have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ. Once they were separated from God and one another (Gen 3:23). It seems impossible for gentiles to draw near to God (2:11-13). Jews and gentiles were divided by ethnicity, nationality and by race. They had no knowledge of true God and without hope. Their sin was willful and they refused to honor God (Rom 1:18-23). They were at enmity with God. Jews were proud of their covenant relationship with God. God chose them to be the nation through whom the Christ would come. Their blessings made them proud. The gentiles were filled with despair because of lack of knowledge of true God. There was hostility between Jews and gentiles. But they have been brought near by the blood of Christ. By his death Christ established a new unity and peace. Gentiles are no longer strangers but members of God’s family. Their hostility towards each other is removed (2:14). They are reconciled to God by means of Christ’s death (2 Cor 5:19). Peace is the first word the risen Savior spoken to his disciples after his resurrection (John 20:19). He is our peace.
The Church is God's Temple: 2:21-22.
In the Old Testament time, the temple was the physical representation of God's presence. But in the New Testament, God dwells in his people. In Christ all believers are joined together, becoming a holy temple (2:21). The church is now the temple of God (2 Cor 6:16; 1 Pet 2:5). The temple imagery stretches from Genesis to Revelation (Rev 21:16). Christ is the chief corner stone of the church and built upon the foundation of him (1 Cor 3:11). In Christ all believers are united and formed into one building by the Holy Spirit. The church has a distinct calling, destiny and purpose. What a privilege to be considered the temple of God. Remembering our past condition will help us to appreciate more fully our privileges in Christ. The cross of Christ is the means of reconciliation for those who trust in Christ in this divided world. Have you accepted Christ as your personal Savior and appreciate his unfailing love?