Ephesians– overview of 2:1-6; From death to life, our salvation by grace, part 4. 2:7-10; Saved with an end in mind.

Class Outline:

Wednesday May 29, 2019

EPH 2:1-6 From death to life - the doctrines of salvation (soteriology).


EPH 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses [false steps] and sins [missing marks],


EPH 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.


EPH 2:3 Among them we too [Jews] all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.


EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,


EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),


EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,


Never forget the difference between your past unbelieving life, alienated from God, and your current life as a resurrected new creature in union with God. This is the greatest transformation seen in the history of the universe behind the virgin birth.


The power of the air is a fitting description of the prevailing spirit that influences the world that spreads itself like a miasma (my-asma according to Webster) through the whole world. It is a ruling spirit that takes possession of the world of men for the pursuit of Satan’s goals independent of God.


You will not find yourself vindicated in this world as you humbly search for the truth. So many people are breathing in the “power of the air” with every breath that inflames their pride, the self-love, and their ignorance. The air tells them that they’re great and right and wonderful, and … unappreciated. The man of God is always humble, always learning, always searching for truth. He knows himself to be small, unworthy, and only possessing any wisdom and intelligence as is plainly stated in the word of God.


Be a light to the world. Don’t waste your time arguing with evil in any attempt to get evil to vindicate you. Why would you want that?


As God’s children, at its simplest, it is in obeying His commands that sunshine will be within our inner man, and it is in disobeying His commands that gloom will reside there. In this passage, we were dead and unable to obey Him, but, being rich in mercy, because of His great love towards us, He has made us alive, and now we can obey.


The death of both Paul and ourselves was the death of trespasses and sins. Now imagine you were the witness of a resurrection or resuscitation. How wonderful it would have been to witness it: to see the pale cheek of the little maid, Jairus’ daughter, flush again with the tints of life, and the still frame begin to stir, and the eyes softly open to look upon the face of Jesus. Imagine watching Mary and Martha hug their beloved brother Lazarus after grieving his premature death for four long days. Imagine being Mary Magdalene, assuming the Man to be the gardener and then suddenly realizing, amazement collapsing her, that she beheld the resurrected Jesus, whom she thought lost forever.


No less divine miracles occur on the earth every day when a person accepts Jesus Christ as their own Savior. They are made alive!


A human soul awakes from its trespasses and sins, the love of God is poured in a heart that was hard and cold and empty, the Spirit of God breathes into a human spirit lying powerless and buried in the flesh, and there is a true rising from the dead as when Jesus our Lord came out from His sepulcher.


JOH 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.


JOH 5:25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.


JOH 5:26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;


This has occurred in this age. Dead does not always mean physically dead.


Is Jesus speaking of resurrection from physical death or the resurrection from spiritual death at salvation?


JOH 5:27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.


JOH 5:28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,


JOH 5:29 and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”


As the Lord continues, He may mean the tomb as He does the dead in vs. 25, since being dead in trespasses and sins and remaining that way without faith in Christ will mean judgment at the end. Becoming alive through faith and regeneration means a resurrection life now and in eternity.


Don’t be scared by His mention of good deeds. The man who walks into the light through faith in Christ will produce them. There is no use in arguing or defining how many or what kind, or even to tell someone that they’re salvation is ever in the balance because of them. As adults do adult stuff, so the regenerate do good stuff; and as adults can be childish, the regenerate can be carnal.  


By grace we are literally delivered from a state of death to a state of life. Not just by mere declaration of it being so, but by an act of divine power.


The understanding of this divine grace upon believing men takes place by a constant and constantly deepening union of the soul with Christ (study, pray, walk; study, pray, walk … )




EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,


EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),


EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,


“made us alive together” = sunzopoieo.

“raised us up together” = sunegeiro.

“made us sit together” = sunkathizo.


We are alive, in heaven, and siting “together” in Christ Jesus.


Summary of where we have been so far. EPH 1:3-14 is a summary of the grace gifts of God from past, present, and future. EPH 1:15-20 is Paul’s prayer that those gifts would be a conscious reality in our lives, lived in and enjoyed. EPH 1:20-23 begins the doctrine of the letter with the resurrection of Christ, making a new humanity, which brought about the gifts of God and the life of Christ. The doctrine actually begins, beginning with soteriology, the doctrine of the work of Christ, in bring dead ones to life.


Now, this salvation to life has an end in mind.


EPH 2:7-10 - Saved with an end in mind.


EPH 2:7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.


Paul sees every age after his own as marveling at the surpassing riches of the grace of God. We assume by age he means the next dispensation and those following, but that is not a concrete interpretation. After coming to understand the grace of God himself, after many years of striving with God, he likely imagined how the generations after him would receive it, and he knew that there would be some who would just blown away by it. I think we can all testify to that. 


All of the ages to come, our own, and even on to and into eternity, will people marvel at the age of grace. An age of new men on an old earth. An age of light in the midst of darkness. An age of invisible heroes in a world that only credits visible heroes possessing puny human strength. The age in which the door to the highway of God, new and living (HEB 10:19), was finally opened.


EPH 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;


Paul already wrote, “by grace you have been saved,” in an eager and almost jealous parenthesis, where he hastens to assure the readers of their deliverance from the fearful condition he had just described, and here he writes it emphatically and deliberately.


EPH 2:9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.


We recognize the Paul of Romans and Galatians, the dialect and accent of the apostle of salvation by faith. But scarcely anywhere do we find this wonder-working grace so affluently described.


“Mercy, love, kindness, grace, and gift” are all stars of a constellation in these lines, which stand out against the deep black background, “you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” 


How could there be any works on behalf of mankind when God uses these lovely words to describe our salvation?


Mercy is not a new word for which God to describe Himself. It is a frequently used attribute throughout the Old Testament. When Israel trembled before God at Sinai, God spoke dreadful and exacting justice so that the fear of the Lord would remain in the hearts of the people and they would not sin against the Lord.


EXO 20:18 And all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.


EXO 20:19 Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, lest we die."


EXO 20:20 And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin."


EXO 20:21 So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.


Can we imagine what the people must have felt like, having seen the miracles of God, but never the presence of God? God made it terrifying, but then Moses told them that they didn’t have to be afraid of God, and at the same time, they should fear God. The fear is that if you cross Him, if you break His covenant, there will be consequences. This universal law has never changed, though the appearance and type of consequences from one dispensation to the next may be different. Are there consequences to the children of God in this age who break His commands through sin? Of course there are.


Human nature is that when the terror goes away, man forgets to fear what he should.


EXO 20:22 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven.


EXO 20:23 'You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves.


EXO 20:24 'You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.


EXO 20:25 'And if you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.


EXO 20:26 'And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.'


Not long after this the people constructed a golden calf and made sacrifices to it, calling it their god. Moses was gone for only forty days and the people forgot their fear of God.


But then Moses heard in his tent, which was conveyed to the people, “Yavah, a God full of compassion and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy and truth, keeping mercy for thousands.”


EXO 33:18 Then Moses said, "I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!"


EXO 33:19 And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion."


EXO 33:20 But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!"


In EPH 2:1-10 “Mercy, love, kindness, grace, and gift” are all stars of a constellation in these lines, which stand out against the deep black background, “you were dead in your trespasses and sins.”


Mercy, love, kindness, grace, and gift all found their embodiment and fullness in the person of Christ. We have His fullness and through Him we have been made complete.


The dread of God’s justice, the sense of His dazzling holiness and almightiness threw His mercy into bright relief and gave to it an infinite preciousness.


In our passage, the contrast of wrath (vs. 3) and mercy (vs. 4) are from the same God. But it must be this way. Rich mercy could only come from God who loathes the sin and evil His creatures and His universe have been plunged into. These are not arbitrary or moods of God. They are solid foundations of truth. Wrath comes upon sin, and God, in His infinite love, decided to pour that wrath out upon His Son. That act freed the mercy of God to express itself as He desired, justice satisfied. But for those who reject the gospel, wrath and judgment must come upon them as they have consciously chosen it.


The Lake of Fire is God’s hated of sin. He is as rich in mercy as He is terrible in wrath, and He supplied the way of escape for all men.