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.
When we, as humans, are born into this world, we are born with sin natures. We have the propensity to do what is evil. And, because we are sinful creatures, we are separated from our creator. We all fall short of attaining his divine approval. We all fall short of being able to live in his righteousness, because we are fallen creatures from birth. We are not alive in God, but we are considered dead in our trespasses and sins.
As sinful human beings, thus, we walked (lived) in that sin. This is not to say that everyone of us did really horrible things like commit murder or adultery or stole from others. But, the Bible does say that to hate is the same as murder, and that to lust after another is the same as to commit adultery, and stealing can be as simple as taking anything from someone else, without permission, what is not ours to take, like cheating on taxes, for example.
Satan (the devil) is the author of sin. Thus, when we are born into sin, we are under his power and control. So, we end up following him and his ways instead of following after God and His ways. And, we end up adopting the ways of this sinful world into our lives, too. Instead of following God, we follow the sinful passions (lusts) of our flesh, to do what it desires. And, the end result of living in sin is spiritual death and eternal separation from God.
Ephesians 2:4-7 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.
But, thanks be to God, he did not leave us dead in our sins. Jesus Christ, God the Son, gave his life up for us on a cross so that we could be delivered from our slavery to sin, and so that we can now walk in his righteousness (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Thus, by his grace to us, through our faith in him, we can be set free from our bondage to sin, be set free from the curse of sin, and now live in Him and Him in us. Now we can walk in his love and grace, and we can have wonderful fellowship with him.
But, this faith to believe in him is not an emotional decision or an intellectual assent to who he is and was, and to what he did for us in dying for our sins. This faith is divine persuasion as to God’s holiness and righteousness. Thus, if we are persuaded, then we will submit to God’s purposes and his will for our lives. We will die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness because we are fully convinced that this is why he gave his life up for us.
Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
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.
It’s a Gift
For us to be saved from our sins, so that we no longer walk (live) in them, but that we now walk in God’s love and grace, Jesus Christ became the sacrifice for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us so that when he died, he put our sins to death. And, when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, death, hell and Satan.
Because he died to sin, we, too, can die to sin, and because he lives, we can also live with him and in him and him in us, and walk in his righteousness. Sin no longer has to have mastery over our lives, for Jesus Christ set us free! Satan no longer has control over our lives, for Jesus conquered him in his death and in his resurrection. So, we can now live under the control of the Holy Spirit, instead.
But, if we are trying to do this in our own flesh, it will never happen. If we are trying to gain God’s or human approval, or if we are hoping to gain heaven by being good enough, it won’t happen. For, if we could, Jesus would not have had to die. We can only be saved by God’s grace, through our faith in him, which submits to his will, and which yields to his Lordship, and which dies with him to sin so that we can live with him to righteousness.
So, we can never be saved via our own human effort. We can’t conquer sinful habits via our own human effort, either. We may be able to break some habits in our own flesh and strength, but we can’t solve the sin problem ourselves. We can’t deliver ourselves from the curse of sin ourselves. Only by God’s grace, through faith in him, can this happen.
BUT… this does not mean that faith is absent of works and that we do nothing now that Jesus set us free. For, we were made new creatures in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared for us to do, and which he empowers us to do, for we are his workmanship. We were made for obedience and submission and surrender to God, not so that we can continue in our sinful addictions without guilt or remorse.
Yes, God’s grace to us is a gift, but it is a gift we must appropriate to our lives. And, the gift is not just an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we die. The gift is freedom from our chains to sin, and freedom to now walk in his Spirit, in holiness and righteousness, living godly lives pleasing to our Lord, allowing God to work his will in and through our lives for his purposes, and for his glory and praise (See: Tit. 2:11-14).
Ephesians 2:19-22 ESV
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, not only are we set free from sin, and we now have a relationship with Almighty God, but we also become members of the family of God with the rest of the saints of God (See: Acts 26:16-18). We are not only in God and Him in us, but we are his body, his holy temple, his church, and we are one with each other.
We not only have a birth family from which we came, but we now have a spiritual family comprised of our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, our Lord. We, the family of God, make up the church. And, the church is us, the people, not a building or a denomination or a specific location or an institution of men or a corporation under the federal government.
Not only do we now have wonderful fellowship with our Lord, but we can enjoy sweet spiritual fellowship with other believers in Jesus Christ who are like-minded in faith with us and with our Lord. For, we each have a part in this body that we are to fulfill, and which is for the encouragement and strengthening of the other parts. And, when that works like it is supposed to, it is wonderful!
But, we all have to be following our Lord Jesus in surrender to him, listening to what he tells us, and doing what he says to do. If any of us are still walking in the ways of the flesh, that breaks that fellowship, for this fellowship is not man-made, but is of the Spirit of God. And, when we fellowship with one another in the Spirit, that is glorious!!
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!
Thursday, August 30, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for the sweet fellowship we can have with you and with one another because of your sacrifice for us on that cross in delivering us from our slavery to sin. Amen!