Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV
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.
We All Once Lived
This letter to the church in Ephesus was written to the faithful in Christ Jesus, i.e. to the saints of God, full of faith, devoted to Jesus Christ and to doing his will. We were chosen in Him “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” We were predestined, according to the purpose of his will, to be to the praise of his glorious grace.
We were once dead in our trespasses and sins, in which we once walked, meaning we no longer walk (live) in sin. We no longer engage in willful and continued sinful practices in willful disobedience to our Lord.
We no longer follow the course of this sinful world. We are not like the world, for God has taken us out of the world. We now live separate (holy) lives apart from the world and unto God. We don’t think or behave or have the same attitudes the world has, or at least this is the way it should be for a follower of Christ.
For, the reason Jesus died on that cross so many years ago, and was resurrected back to life from the dead, was so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. The purpose of our salvation is that it might turn us from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; Acts 26:18; cf. Eph. 4:17-24).
We should no longer be living to please and to satisfy the sinful cravings of our flesh. We who are in Christ Jesus, by faith in Him, should be living to please our Lord, instead. We should be making no compromises with the world of sin. The world should not love us as its own, but we should be hated and rejected by the world because we are not like the world, and because we are becoming like Jesus in what we do and are and think and speak, though not necessarily living in absolute sinless perfection.
For, if we are still living like the world, walking in the ways of our flesh, instead of in the ways of our Lord, we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment and hell’s fury (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV
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— 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.
By God’s Grace
It is by God’s grace and mercy that we are saved. God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ to the earth to take on human flesh, to suffer as we suffer and to be tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet he did not sin. So, Jesus became our sacrificial Lamb whose blood was shed on a cross for our sins so that we can be delivered from our slavery to sin and walk in God’s righteousness and holiness (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
We can do nothing in and of ourselves to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Our good works will never outweigh our bad. We cannot keep the law perfectly, so we can’t ever be saved by doing good works.
Thus, when Jesus saves us from our sins, HE delivers us out of slavery to sin, and HE gives us new lives in him to be lived to his righteousness. We just have to yield to the Lordship of Christ in our lives and allow the Spirit to do His Work.
We are saved by God’s grace through faith. Both our salvation and the faith to believe in Christ are gifts from God, and not of ourselves. For, faith is divine persuasion as to God’s will and purposes for our lives which convinces us to leave our lives of sin behind us to follow Jesus Christ with our lives. And, even the ability and the power to resist Satan and to flee temptation comes from God, as well as he empowers and strengthens us to walk in his holiness and to not give way to the desires of the flesh.
Yet, works are not absent from our salvation. True, we are not saved by our own human efforts, but we are saved to do the works God has prepared for us to do. Thus, he made preparation for us to walk in his holiness, and to live godly lives, pleasing to him.
He made the way for us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await his soon return (Tit. 2:11-14). This IS HIS GRACE to us, not just that we would be forgiven of our sins, but that we would no longer be under sin’s control, but that we would now be under Holy Spirit control, instead.
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and he transforms us from darkness to light, we now become God’s workmanship. We now give our lives over to the Lord Jesus for him to work his will and his ways in our lives, instead of us continuing to do things OUR way. We now submit to his purposes and his plan for our lives instead of us still running our own lives. Thus, he is our Lord (owner-master) and we are his possession, a people who are zealous for good works (Tit. 2:14).
God’s plan and purpose, the reason for which he gave his life up for us, is that we should walk in his ways and in his truth. He prepared in advance in what ways he would have us to walk, too. The Christian life is a lifestyle not just a religion. The way we know we are in Christ, by faith in him, is by our walks.
If we live our lives still to please our sinful nature, we are not in Him and he is not in us. But, if we walk in his light, according to the Spirit, then we have eternal life with God and forgiveness of sins (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Hymn lyrics and music by Helen H. Lemmel, 1922
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!
His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
*copyright status is public domain
Monday, August 13, 2018, 4:44 a.m. – Thank You, Lord, for Your grace to us in saving us from our slavery to sin so that we can walk with You in Your righteousness and holiness. Amen!