I have been studying through Ephesians during the summer months. There is so much rich teaching found in this short, six-chapter book.
I was reminded anew at the grace that our great God has shown to me and to you. Ephesians 2:1-3 tells me who I was before God showed incredible mercy and grace to me through the sacrifice of His Son. It reads, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 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. 3 Among them we too 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.”
These three verses tell me who I once was:
- Dead in sin
- Followed the course of the world, designed by Satan, leading to disobedience to God
- Lived in lust of the flesh
- Indulged in desires of the flesh and mind
- By nature, a child of wrath
I do not like that description on me, but the truth is, that is who I once was. Then we find these beautiful words in Ephesians 2:4, “But God…”. There was nothing I could do to get myself out of the situation I was in as described in verses 1-3. No number of good works could help me. Going to church more would not help me. God was the only one who could do anything about my situation.
Ephesians 2:4-10 reads this way: 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
These verses describe God and the gift of a relationship with Him that only He can provide:
- Rich in mercy.
- Because of His great love he made us alive with Christ.
- He raised me up with Him and seated us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so that in the coming ages He might show the surpassingriches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
- He provided a way to have a relationship with Him, a gift: By grace, through faith – I could not do this for myself, it is not a result of works because I would be boastful, it is a perfect gift of God.
- We are His workmanship,created in Christ Jesus for good works.
In the first three verses there is no hope. This life is filled with fleshly living that leads to death. There is a big difference in what we see in verses 4-10. So, what is the difference? The answer to that question is found in those two very special words, “But God”. God made a way, the only way, for us to move from death to life. This is not something we can do for ourselves. It is the gift of God that provides a way to be reconciled to Him. “But God”…two beautiful words that matter so much. Be thankful today for those words and God’s provision for us.