There are times when, as Christians, we need to be reminded of God’s work in our lives. This week, I invite you to ponder Ephesians 2:1-10 with me. In this passage, we find what we have been saved from, how we have been saved, and why we have been saved.
First, what have we been saved from? The apostle Paul writes to the Gentile believers, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:1-3 ESV).
In these verses, we see how, apart from Christ, we are dead. And that spiritual death is characterized by six particular marks as explained by Paul. When we are dead, we are marked by sin, worldliness, obedience to Satan, disobedience to God, lusts of the flesh, and the wrath of God.
This is quite a heavy list. And it sounds hopeless. That’s why I’m thankful for what Paul writes next. Let’s now look at how we’ve been saved.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (v. 4-5 ESV).
Notice how God initiates salvation. As the proceeding verses make abundantly clear, there is nothing good about humanity apart from God. Unless God, in His grace, intervenes, we are hopeless. But, as verse 4 explains, God has chosen to save us. Salvation is possible because God is merciful. He has chosen to love us “… in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 ESV). Not only has God withheld the punishment we deserve, but He has given us more than we could ever thank Him for. Why? Because He is gracious.
Now, let’s look at why we have been saved.
Paul continues, “And raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (v. 6-10 ESV).
So, why have we been saved? In verse 6, we see how we have been saved to know Christ. We have been raised with Christ. Seated with Christ. We have access to Christ. Communion with Christ. A relationship with Christ. But he doesn’t stop there. Not only are we saved to know Christ, we’re saved to make Him known. In verse 7, Paul explains how God desires to display His grace through the lives of those who know Him. That in the coming ages, others might see the riches of this most marvelous grace.
Then, in verses 8 through 10, Paul explains how we are saved by grace for good works. Now, it is important to recognize that we are not saved by good works. This is clear in verses 8 and 9 where Paul famously writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (ESV).
Indeed, we are saved by grace alone. But in verse 10, we see how we are saved for good works. Obedience to God is the result of a redeemed heart. And when we experience the grace of God in bringing sinners to repentance, we find within ourselves a God-given desire to serve Him with our lives.
And this life we find in Christ is a life marked by grace. As followers of Christ, our lives are no longer marked by sin, worldliness, obedience to Satan, disobedience to God, lusts of the flesh, and the wrath of God. Instead, our lives are marked by the grace of God.
My prayer is that this article reminds us of just how good and gracious our God is. That it would give us renewed focus, reinvigorated passion, and revived hearts.
This is a life marked by grace.
Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at www.isaiahpauley.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.