Ephesians 2:1-7 Part 2

Ephesians 2:1-7

Chapter one emphasized our blessings of being in Christ. We possess deep and rich “blessings” because we are in Christ.

We have been chosen before the foundation of the world in Christ.

We have been predestined to adoption as sons.

We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.

We have lavished on wisdom and insight and know the mystery of Father’s will to unite all things in heaven and earth in Christ.

We have an inheritance in Christ.

We have the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of our inheritance and as our great counselor.

We have the ongoing enlightening of our spiritual insight.

We have the great power of Father, Son and Spirit at work in us, on us and for us.

And we have Christ as our great and Chief Shepherd, the Head of the church which is his body.

Chapter 2 is going to emphasize our great position of being in Christ. Being in Christ has not only caused us to possess some amazing gifts but being in Christ has caused our spiritual location to change.

We are going to see our position in Christ through seeing our position outside of Christ. Not only that, but we are going to see how our position changed.

The belief that mankind is not completely fallen and that some of his volitional capacity is in tact and man is somewhat ok lends itself to see salvation as a merely good decision on the part of the saved and Jesus as begging and pleading with man to convince as many as he can to make a good decision and avoid hell so that he can have some companions.

This, however, is not the metanarrative told in Scripture, and our commitment, devotion and passion for worshiping the Lord as living sacrifices will suffer when we don’t understand who we were, who we are now, and why we were rescued. These three truths are what we are going to see clearly via contrast in Ephesians 2:1-7.

Remember, Paul wants us to understand who we are in Christ so that our affections and actions will be properly affected and directed. So, I invite you to drink deeply of our identity in Christ and so be prepared to do the work of the kingdom.

1. Who were we? 1-3

a. Dead in trespasses (fall by the wayside, fault, error) and sin (missing the true end and scope of our lives)

“We should not hesitate to reaffirm that a life without God (however physically fit and mentally alert the person may be) is a living death, and that those who live it are dead even while they are living.”

b. Following (preposition: down with, from, according to) the course (age regarding a season) of the world (order / which John describes as the lust of the flesh and eyes and pride in possessions)
“World” from cosmos is used 186 times in the Greek New Testament and almost every instance has an evil connotation. Linked here with “course of this age” this language means the present evil age (see Galatians 1:4 “…who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age…”).

c. Following the prince of the power (Satan) of the air (the celestial air surrounding the earth), the spirit now at work in the sons of disobedience 

d. Lived (aorist passive – giving hope that things have been changed by the elective work of the Father) in the passions (strong desires) of our flesh (metaphorically meaning the body separated from the soul having been corrupted by sin and ruled by sin and at odds with the redeemed soul)

The dead, those without Christ, are dominated by the world, Satan and the flesh. The world system dominates from the outside, the flesh dominates from the inside, and the devil dominates from beyond. – Kent Hughes

This state of fallen man is the perfect storm. Outside, inside and beyond.

e. Carrying (doing) out the desires (desires that result from the will) of the body and mind

f. By nature (natural condition, natural disposition – see Romans 5:12-14) children of wrath

People who are captive in this fallen state are 1 Corinthians 2:14 type folks. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

This fallen state of man is not good and completely opposed to the truth. Paul’s description of fallen man is actively suppressing the truth (Romans 1:18). Fallen man, though he denies it, knows there is a God, but they don’t give thanks to him and their foolish hearts are darkened further (Romans 1:21). Fallen man has exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25).

Man in his fallen state continues the rebellion.

Ultimate questions and ultimate answers have to be given by fallen man, so when he answers them the answers can cause problems.

Origin: Where did everything come from?

Identity: Who am I?

Meaning/Purpose: Why are we here?

Ethics: How should I live?

Destiny: What happens when we die?

There are three very broad categories through which people must answer these questions: naturalism / transcendentalism / theism

The consequences for humanity when they answer these ultimate questions in a spiritually dead state can be devastating.

For example: If I don’t believe there is anything beyond the natural world, then where I came from and where I’m going is of no consequence. Who I am is merely a highly evolved animal. My meaning is identified by me alone and if my purpose seems to be less in this physical life then my suffering has no meaning. Since there is no ultimate authority outside this world to answer to then how I live it totally up to me. Therefore, when I die it’s all over, so maximize this life because there is nothing after it.

What results from this thinking?

–   Physician’s assisted suicide because suffering has no purpose

  • Marxism / Leninism and the mass execution of all people weaker who are the anti-thesis to the revolution
  • Abortion and euthanasia from the hands of Margret Sanger and eugenics (control human breeding by keeping the desirable traits and extinguishing the undesirable ones and races) as one of the largest government sponsored ethnic cleansing campaigns to ever exist
  • Meaning, since its not objective, resides within the individual. So, for Hitler to execute Jews was no big deal to him. They were “Jews” not humans. But with no objective truth to hold him to a fixed ethic he made devastating choices. “This is what it means to me.” is the mantra of deconstruction. When words lose their meaning people die.

This is who we were and what we were capable of! This is the kind of stuff produced by the fall.

2. Who are we now? verse 4-7

Perhaps the starkest contrast in the bible is presented starting in verse 4.

a. Objects of mercy (compassion and active pity) and love (affectionate regard, goodwill, benevolence regarding God’s love)

b. Made alive (quicken, to bring to live) together with Christ

We are now 1 Corinthians 2:12, 13, 15, 16 who have the Spirit and understand the things given by Father because the Spirit interprets them for us and we have the mind of Christ!

c. Saved (delivered, rescued from danger) by grace (to rejoice, show favor, take pleasure in)

d. Raised (this word is only used here in the NT; to raise up together) up with Christ and seated (to cause us to sit down with; rest with) with Christ in the heavenly (celestial; heavenly; spiritual dimension) places

This is our position of being “in Christ”.

Although we are in Christ, we are still waging war. We will have to fight against the world system of lies propagated in world views that seek to carry on the rebellion. We are going to have to fight the battle from beyond and armor up for the spiritual struggle. We are going to have to learn to put a sword to the flesh (Romans 8:13 – put to death the deeds of the body).

3. Why were we rescued? verse 4-7

a. Father is rich in mercy v. 4a

b. Father loved us before the foundation of the world with a great love with which he loved us v. 4b

Father’s love for us is not now or ever due to any foreseen goodness or good decisions we make. Father’s love is completely because he loved us with an elective love to rescue us and present us to Christ as a bride without spot or blemish.

c. Father is gracious to the objects of his mercy and love v. 5

“…by grace you have been saved…”

This happened while we were dead not due to our savvy exercise of an unencumbered will.

c. So that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable {to excel or surpass} riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ v. 7

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

4. What is our response to this salvation?

In view of God’s mercy we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice which is our worship Romans 12:1

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