1 Ephesians 2B We re mving thrugh sme f the mst imprtant dctrine in all the New Testament And when we started this jurney a cuple f mnths ag, I warned that we wuld be challenged at times by what we learned After all, yu can t wade int matters like predestinatin r electin withut feeling challenged And the reasn these things are s challenging is because what the Bible teaches abut spiritual matters is ften different than what we experienced persnally Fr example, we remember chsing t place ur faith in Jesus at a certain mment in ur life But we learned in chapter 1 that the Father chse us fr salvatin frm befre the wrld began And perhaps we remember ding gd wrks fr ther peple befre we became a Christian, thinking Gd wuld be pleased by them But we learned at the beginning f chapter 2 that ur gd wrks were merely selfish prducts f a sinful heart s they culd nt please the Lrd That s why we have t study scripture, because thrugh His wrd Gd reveals truths t us that we never culd have discvered n ur wn Last week we discvered anther f these wrld-rcking truths We learned that prir t faith, we were dead in ur trespasses and sins We dead in the sense that we were under judgment fr ur transgressins But mre than that, Paul said we were incapable f ding anything spiritual gd, including seeking fr Gd We were like a crpse...absent spiritual life and s incapacitated by ur cnditin s that we culd d nthing t crrect ur prblem 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
2 Ephesians 2B 2 f 15 Paul s been explaining hw we re n a spiritual jurney that fllws in Jesus ftsteps Like Jesus, ur spiritual jurney begins with a death But in ur case, Paul says were were brn dead in keeping with the way everyne enters the wrld Then Paul added in v.3 that ur this dead nature als dictated ur behavir Eph. 2:3 Amng them we t all frmerly lived in the lusts f ur flesh, indulging the desires f the flesh and f the mind, and were by nature children f wrath, even as the rest. Paul said that we t were frmally like the wrld is still tday We were nce unbelievers and lived as they d It s imprtant t remember where we began in ur jurney as Christians We never want t begin thinking we have always been saved As if we had n need fr Gd s grace in the first place In ther wrds, n ne is brn a Christian Even when smene sprinkles water n a baby s frehead and calls it a baptism, that child is nt magically made a Christian T be brn again spiritually requires the wrk f the Hly Spirit in the heart f a persn t give that persn a new spirit As Gd Himself describes, speaking f hw the New Cvenant cmes t a persn Ezek. 11:19 And I will give them ne heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart f stne ut f their flesh and give them a heart f flesh, Ezek. 11:20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My rdinances and d them. Then they will be My peple, and I shall be their Gd. That mment f salvatin cmes nly as a result f a prfessin f faith in Jesus Christ, the scripture says 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
3 Ephesians 2B 3 f 15 Until that mment came fr us, we were as dead as the rest f the unsaved wrld Then Paul says in v.3 that as a result f ur dead cnditin, we acted in accrdance with ur nature Nw ur dead nature was given t us at birth We inherited it, which is why Paul calls us children f wrath Adam brught Gd s wrath upn humanity, and his cnditin has been passed dwn t every generatin since The Bible teaches that a persn s nature cntrls a persn s actins and thughts Yu culd think f a persn s spiritual nature like their cmputer sftware Our nature was hardcded int us like sftware in a cmputer at birth, and it determines hw we think and live At the mment Adam disbeyed the wrd f Gd in the Garden and sinned, his nature changed Befre the fall, Adam s nature was prgrammed by Gd and was inncent and withut rebellin r sin But when he fell, we culd say he was reprgrammed His new surce cde was written by the devil himself By Satan s influence, the human race fell int sin and became like him, spiritually That s why scripture says unbelievers are children f the devil, because he is the father f fallen humanity Therefre we share Satan s cndemnatin, which is why Paul calls unbelievers children f wrath Frm that pint nward, Adam and all wh descend frm Adam act accrding t this new, sinful nature That new prgramming directs the behavir f unbelievers, which leads them beying the lusts f the flesh 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
4 Ephesians 2B 4 f 15 Befre we knew Christ, we t indulged the desires f ur flesh, allwing them t dictate ur thinking and acting We submitted t the base impulses f ur nature rutinely and withut frethught We fell t the temptatins f the enemy withut even knwing he existed That s what a fallen, sinful nature prduces autmatically If yu think back t yur life prir t Christ, I dubt yu perceived yurself t be a bad persn much less a persn cntrlled by the devil But that s nt surprising...because ur human experience can t prepare us t understand the spiritual realities f ur cnditin Simply put, spiritually dead peple can t knw spiritual truths As unbelievers, we had n idea hw far we were frm Gd nr hw t find Him An unbeliever s nature blinds them t their wn cnditin It s wuld be like trying t explain t a fish what it means t be wet The fish is cmpletely wet all the time, s we might assume it wuld understand its wn cnditin But because it s never nt been wet, it has n way t appreciate what being wet means Similarly, an unbeliever can t understand what it means t be spiritually dead r t need t be brn again, because such insight requires being spiritual life first As Paul said 1Cr. 2:14 But a natural man des nt accept the things f the Spirit f Gd, fr they are flishness t him; and he cannt understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. Only thse wh are spiritually alive can understand spiritual truth 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
5 Ephesians 2B 5 f 15 Yet as lng as a persn is spiritually dead, they cannt accept spiritual truths, Paul says S we find a Catch-22: The Gspel message is spiritual truth which is the nly way smene may be brn again spiritually But unbelievers are dead spiritually and therefre they cannt receive spiritual truth Only thse wh are already spiritually alive can understand spiritual truth S hw can a spiritually dead persn receive the Gspel s as t be saved if they must be spiritually alive first in rder t accept it? Nw yu see why Isaiah said that even the gd wrks f an unbeliever are filthy garments t Gd An unbeliever s nature prevents them frm knwing and beying spiritual truth Even wrse, unbelievers are incapable f finding their way ut f their wn dilemma S withut faith, it s impssible t please Gd Yet that was ur frmer life, befre we had faith in Jesus Christ But hw exactly did we mve frm death t life in Christ? We knw that all humanity enters the wrld dead in trespasses and sins, s hw did we vercme that barrier and accept the Gspel? Hw did we gain the ability t receive spiritual truth s as t be saved? Smehw, we left ur state f spiritual deadness and became alive spiritually s we culd accept Christ in faith And Paul says that pwer was nt ur wn Just as the Father raised Christ frm the grave, we likewise had t be raised spiritually befre we culd cme t faith 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
6 Ephesians 2B 6 f 15 Paul explains hw that happened in the part f chapter 2 Eph. 2:4 But Gd, being rich in mercy, because f His great lve with which He lved us, Eph. 2:5 even when we were dead in ur transgressins, made us alive tgether with Christ (by grace yu have been saved), Eph. 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Eph. 2:7 s that in the ages t cme He might shw the surpassing riches f His grace in kindness tward us in Christ Jesus. Paul explains hw we mved frm death t life, that is hw we came t having faith in the Gspel even thugh we were spiritually dead Since we didn t pssess the pwer t respnd t spiritual truth, Paul says ur salvatin nce again began with Gd (v.4) Paul says Gd made us alive tgether with Christ The phrase made us alive tgether with is a single Greek wrd It ccurs nly ne ther time in the New Testament in Clssians, where Paul uses it t describe the same cncept Cl. 2:13 When yu were dead in yur transgressins and the uncircumcisin f yur flesh, He made yu alive tgether with Him, having frgiven us all ur transgressins, Cl. 2:14 having canceled ut the certificate f debt cnsisting f decrees against us, which was hstile t us; and He has taken it ut f the way, having nailed it t the crss. In bth cases, Paul emphasizes that ur cming t life spiritually in Christ was smething Gd made happen We did nthing t prmpt Gd t take this step We didn t ask fr it, and we certainly didn t initiate it Gd did it all And in fact, the Father planned it lng ag Paul says He placed ur persnal debt f sin n Christ even as Christ hung n the crss This demnstrates that the Lrd was already preparing fr ur salvatin lng befre we were ever brn 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
7 Ephesians 2B 7 f 15 And furthermre, Paul adds bth in Ephesians 2 and Clssians 2 that we were made alive while we were dead in ur transgressins While we were like a crpse, spiritually speaking Like a dead man, we had zer ptential t respnd t the Gspel Gd made us alive withut ur invlvement because we were unable t respnd Think back t the stry f Lazarus in the Gspel f Jhn In the instant befre Jesus called Lazarus t rise and cme frth frm the tmb, Lazarus was a crpse, dead three days If yu remember, Jesus didn t ask Lazarus if he wanted t be raised And even if Jesus had issued Lazarus such an invitatin, Lazarus culdn t have respnded He was incapable f respnding because he was dead Dead things knw nthing, hear nthing, agree t nthing The nly way Lazarus was walking ut f that tmb was if Gd made him alive Only then culd Lazarus respnd t Jesus rder t cme frth And s it was fr us spiritually Wen the time came fr ur salvatin, in an instant the Lrd made us alive By His Spirit, we were brn again as Jesus says in Jhn 3 Then nce we were alive, we respnded t the call f the Gspel, we believed and we prfessed Christ Ntice that Paul adds at the end f v.5 that this is the technical definitin f grace The biblical definitin f grace is Gd making us alive while we were dead and unable t d anything t help urselves Grace is nt merely an ffer r an invitatin t be saved Dead peple d nt accept spiritual invitatins 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
8 Ephesians 2B 8 f 15 Grace was Gd acting n His wn t save us And mre than just saving us, the Father has made us t share in everything He granted t Christ Paul says in v.6 we were raised t sit with Christ at the right hand f the Father in heavenly places Obviusly, yu and I haven t traveled int Heaven as yet S we knw Paul was speaking spiritually He s saying we ve been granted a spiritual versin f what Christ Himself received at His ascensin In the Bible, t sit implies t have finished wrking S Christ sat because His wrk f redemptin was cmplete And spiritually, we t have been seated with Christ, because we dn t wrk fr ur salvatin either The Lrd did all the wrk, including making us alive s that we culd receive the Gspel Which means we will als share in Christ s inheritance In ages t cme, Paul says the cnstant refrain f Gd s children will be praises fr His kindness tward us The mre we understand abut what Gd did fr us, the mre thse praises will grw If yu praised Him when yu thught yu chse Christ, hw much mre d yu praise Him nw that yu knw He chse yu? Perhaps yu re surprise t learn that Gd made yu alive s yu culd receive the Gspel, because that desn t seem t agree with ur persnal experience Our persnal experiences in cming t Christ appeared t be the result f ur decisin t believe We didn t detect a mment f being brn again befre we prfessed Christ We didn t perceive the Spirit s arrival int ur hearts 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
9 Ephesians 2B 9 f 15 We simply heard r read the Gspel, and it seemed sensible t us and s we agreed with it That was ur experience...but it turns ut ur experience wasn t the whle stry That s why I said earlier we have the wrd Gd t explain spiritual truths that can t be understd merely thrugh human experience Our experience in cming t faith simply desn t prepare us fr understanding hw it actually happened The Bible teaches that we heard the Gspel because the Father pened ur ears And the Bible says we agreed with the Gspel because the Spirit gave us the ability t accept spiritual truth And the Bible says we cnfessed Christ because Gd gave us a new nature prgrammed t accept the things f Gd Our persnal salvatin mment was just the last step in a lng chain f events that Gd initiated fr ur sake lng befre we knew Him S why did the Father d these things fr us? Paul says in.v4 because He is rich in mercy Being rich means having an excess f smething Yur rich uncle has an excess f mney Or we say a dessert is rich because it has an excess f sweetness Bring rich means having plenty t spare Likewise, the Lrd shwed us an excess f mercy It was mre mercy than we had right t expect r deserved We had every reasn t remain dead and rightly under cndemnatin fr ur transgressins Adam placed humanity in that cnditin, and the Lrd was under n bligatin t crrect the situatin 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
10 Ephesians 2B 10 f 15 But the Father being rich in mercy chse t save us As Paul say He did this purely because f His great lve fr us He didn t extend us mercy because f smething we said r did It certainly wasn t because we earned His mercy thrugh ur gd wrks As we learned earlier, we didn t have any gd wrks t ffer Him N, the truth is we were spiritually dead, we were unable t please Gd, and we deserved nthing We stand here tday saved nly because Gd lved us Remember I said we re walking the same path that Christ walked n ur behalf He shared in death because we were already dead and in need f salvatin Then Christ was made alive s that He might blaze a path fr us t fllw And in the same way, we mve frm death t life als by the Father s might Paul says in v.6 that the Father had yu in mind even as He raised Christ We were in Christ spiritually at the mment the Father raised Christ frm the dead The Father had us in mind as He acted t raise Christ, s that in a day t cme He wuld d the same fr us Nw we can have a life like Christ in every respect We pssess a new nature, a living spirit that has been reprgrammed t hear the Spirit and bey His vice The prblem is we still have a flesh that beys Satan s prgramming, s we must battle it if we want t please Gd If yu ve walked with Christ fr a time, then yu prbably have nticed hw yur new spirit has prduced psitive changes in yur life D yu ntice that yu think differently and act differently? D yu ntice that yu feel differently abut sinning? 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
11 Ephesians 2B 11 f 15 Yu still d it, f curse, but yu desire it less, right? And when yu d succumb t sin, it desn t feel as rewarding as it nce did, des it? Mrever, did yu gain a new desire fr Gd s wrd, fr knwing Him and hearing Him? Weren t yu drawn int a life with Gd s peple Have yu becme aware f yur bright spiritual future and des that future excite yu? If s, then yu can see by all these things hw yu are nw spiritually alive and grwing in respect t spiritual truth On the ther hand, maybe sme f these things have yet t happen fr yu r they hld little interest fr yu That s nt unexpected, because Christians mve dwn the path f sanctificatin t varying degrees and at their wn pace Sme mve farther and faster than thers But if yu re nt mving at all, then take a secnd lk at hw yu re walking with Christ Sanctificatin is always a matter f beying the Spirit We must daily take up ur crss, s t speak, s we may crucify the desires f ur flesh while strengthening ur spirit thrugh spiritual disciplines I shuld add that in sme rare cases, a persn s cmplete lack f interest in spiritual truths may mean he r she has yet t be brn again spiritually In such a case, a persn wuld be claiming t be Christian withut even knwing what it truly means t be in Christ But I want t cautin us against jumping t that cnclusin in the case f smene we knw wh may have a very shallw walk with the Lrd Behavir and attitudes are messy things, and therefre they are an imperfect guide t assessing a persn s heart We ll end tday with Paul s wn summary 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
12 Ephesians 2B 12 f 15 Eph. 2:8 Fr by grace yu have been saved thrugh faith; and that nt f yurselves, it is the gift f Gd; Eph. 2:9 nt as a result f wrks, s that n ne may bast. Paul summaries his argument with ne f the mst pwerful statements in all his letters T understand these verses prperly, we need t take them apart grammatically First, Paul says we were saved by grace Smetimes yu may hear smene say that Christians are saved by faith, but this is nt crrect We are saved by grace This pint is imprtant because it cmpletely changes the lcatin f actin If we say we are saved by faith, then the lcatin f the actin is inside us The believer is the ne wh has faith, if having faith prduces salvatin, then we culd say we saved urselves We wuld be saying that at the mment we tk the step f believing, then we brught salvatin t urself But Paul makes clear this is nt crrect Rather salvatin is by grace, and grace cmes frm Gd Gd gives grace t us, and by His grace He made us alive while we were dead By grace He predestined us t receive salvatin By grace we were saved But hw des Gd shw His children that He has bestwed His grace upn them? Imagine if Gd had determined t save us but never tld us abut it Only when we came int His presence fllwing ur death wuld we knw that we had been given grace 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
13 Ephesians 2B 13 f 15 Hw much better that He shw His grace t us while we are earth s that we can begin t praise Him even nw S Gd manifests His grace t us thrugh faith in Jesus Christ Thrugh ur faith, Gd s grace becmes evident, bth t us and t the wrld We can see faith cming t smene, by which we knw that persn was saved by Gd s grace Faith is still the essential requirements fr salvatin, but faith is the result f Gd s grace, nt the way we gain Gd s grace And just t make sure we understand the relatinship between grace and faith, Paul adds that the faith we pssess is nt f yurselves Yur saving faith in Jesus Christ did nt riginate inside yu Paul says at the end f v.8 that it is a gift f Gd Gd gave yu the faith that yu have, s that yu wuld give shw evidence f His grace Sme cmmentatrs claim the gift Gd gives cannt be faith They argue that in the Greek text, the prnun it is in the neuter vice, yet bth the wrds grace and faith are feminine nuns Therefre, they believe that it must refer t the entire preceding statement, meaning salvatin itself is the gift They are right, but they are cherry-picking in their interpretatin I agree that when Paul said it he was referring t the preceding clause But let s lk at all that we find in the preceding clause We find nt nly salvatin but als grace and faith All these things are part f the gift Gd gives t bring us int righteusness That s why Paul says it is nt f yurself Yes, the grace we received is frm Gd 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
14 Ephesians 2B 14 f 15 And s is the salvatin that Gd s grace prduced But s is ur faith which manifested Gd s grace All three are nt f yurselves, because tgether they are all the gift f Gd Because Gd did everything with respect t ur salvatin, Paul adds in v.9 that ur salvatin is nt the result f wrks Wrks refers t anything a human being can accmplish Fr example, physical acts are wrks Therefre, Paul says n physical act cntributed t ur salvatin This means walking dwn an aisle r kneeling r praying did nt save us, fr thse are human wrks Wrks als refers t anything a human being can say We prfessed Christ when we were saved, but the speaking f thse wrds didn t save us Neither did a reciting f a cnfessin f faith If we hld that thse things save a persn, then we are saying a human wrk is partly respnsible fr salvatin But Paul says this is nt true And wrks even refers t ur thughts and emtins Did yu knw that thughts and emtins are wrks as well? D yu remember when Jesus said that anger is equivalent t murder and lust is equivalent t adultery? Jesus statement establishes the principle that what we d in ur thughts is just as real as what we may d with ur bdies And ur thughts r feelings did nt save us either Paul says that ur salvatin came apart frm any human invlvement whatsever Even the things we did d like believing and cnfessing were themselves the prducts f Gd s grace wrking in ur hearts 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
15 Ephesians 2B 15 f 15 It was Gd Wh prduced faith in us causing us t cnfess S that when all is said and dne, Gd s children will have n reasn t bast in themselves We will be necessity give the Lrd all credit fr ur salvatin Paul s teaching unequivcally refutes every false teaching prpsing that wrks are a way t reach Heaven Religins such as Cathlicism, Islam, Mrmnism, Jehvah s Witnesses, and eastern pagan religins all teach that human achievements are required t enter Heaven Paul says it is nt s, fr if it were, then men culd bast cncerning their salvatin We wuld be able t say we played a part in reaching Heaven But the Lrd will have n such basting, fr hw can dead peple bast abut becming alive? Culd Lazarus bast that he raised himself frm the dead? Culd he have said, I heard the Lrd s vice s I decided t sit up and walk ut f the tmb? If Lazarus had dared t say this, wuldn t the nlkers have respnded, Yes Lazarus, but wh caused yu t cme t life s that yu culd hear Jesus call? T which the nly answer wuld be Gd made yu alive s yu culd respnd. And the same is true fr yu and me We may say we were saved because we respnded t the call f the Gspel and we believed T which scripture asks, Yes, but wh caused yu t cme t life s yu culd hear Jesus calling and bey it? 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.