Ephesians is an encyclopedia teaching us about salvation. It gives a clear understanding of it. It’s something we should read and re-read to realign our grasp of it. One can almost dread the book thinking it’s too deep. It’s really more about detail than being deep. The book shows us why we need to be saved, who and what we were and what we became because of Jesus Christ. It tells us where we’re headed because of Jesus. It certainly bears a good study.
Ephesians 1:18-19 states the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power. This is Paul’s prayer for all believers. When someone asks you how you got saved, you need to know. If you just say “I went up to the altar,” some may think you must go to the altar to be saved. You don’t. On the other side of that, many have gone to the altar and that’s all they’ve done—gone. They did not get saved.
Ephesians 2: 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
The effectiveness of our witness depends on how familiar we are with the gospel. When we take time and study, the Lord helps us learn. Before we were saved we didn’t understand a lot. Now we have help. We view things with the natural eye. We look at the physical things we did. Walking down the aisle of the church didn’t save me. Kneeling at the altar didn’t save me. The preacher came over and prayed. It helped me, but it didn’t save me. I was saved when I called on the Lord in faith believing. I realized I was a sinner. I trusted what Jesus did on Calvary. I used faith I didn’t know I had and turned from trusting the devil and put it in Jesus. When I did that, I was saved. External things can be different, but we’re all saved the same way—by God’s grace.
Think of your past this way as shown in verse 1. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. I was alive, living it up in sin; however, I was dead and did not know it. Jesus Christ came from the dead and raises us up. The dead can’t do anything about their state, but the Master over death brings us alive when we call in faith.
Verse 2-3 state wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. It doesn’t matter how bad you were or how good you were (or are). Prior to salvation we all follow the natural course of this world. We are driven by our own lusts and desires. That’s why we come short and can’t get out of it. I tried to quit sinful things many times but couldn’t. I needed help. I fail, but I am not what I was. If you’re saved, you’re not either. When our old nature jumps up, we can overcome the flesh by putting our trust in Jesus and saying no to sin. Notice that verse 3 says WE ALL were like that. We were all bad. You may not have been as bad as I was. I wasn’t as bad as others, but all are sinners deserving of hell. We all fail. This was our way of living (conversation) in the past. We were under the power of the devil and obeyed him. We were driven to fulfill the desires of the flesh. We were the children of wrath. Sin has a pay day, and if we don’t accept Jesus as Savior, we’ll have to pay ourselves. I do not miss my sinful days. I was introduced to a new way of life. It’s good to be saved. Remembering what we were shows us how much we have to be thankful for.
Verses 1-3 tell us how bad we were. How could we who were in that shape change? God interrupted our sinful life and gave us hope. Verse 4 starts with BUT GOD. He put a halt to things. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. God showed us tremendous kindness. Did we deserve to be saved? No, but God is rich in mercy and love. What about me could he love? I openly rejected him as did many of you, but he moved toward us and knocked on the door of our heart.
Verses 5-7 say even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Even while dead in our sins, God came to us. We’re saved undeservedly, but God took that first move.
Next week we’ll consider what “by and through” means. I want everyone to answer this question. Open your Bible and your heart. Don’t research it. Let God speak to you. What is God’s grace? Write down your answer.