The first three chapters of Ephesians discuss God’s creation of a Holy community by His gift of grace in the death and resurrection of Jesus. These profound theological truths are the cornerstone of our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36, NIV
It is not that we are great, but that God is merciful. It’s not our goodness, but His love.
Read verses 4-10 of Ephesians 2. If possible, read out loud.
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:4-10, NIV)
Signs of the Times
- Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians sometime during Ad 60-61. He wrote Colossians and Philemon around the same time; Tychicus and Onesimus hand-delivered all three letters Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:709; Philemon 1:10-12). Paul was in his first Roman imprisonment at the time (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1). Along with Philippians, these letters commonly became known as the Prison Epistles.
- What does it mean to “be seated in the heavenly realms” in Ephesians 1:6? Daniel 7:27 (MSG) says: Then the royal rule and the authority and the glory of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the people of the High God. Their royal rule will last forever. All other rulers will serve and obey them. By this text and others, many Jewish thinkers understood that the righteous will reign in the coming world. But in verse 6, Paul uses the past tense—we are already “seated” in the heavenly realms. Because Christ already had brought victory over Satan and death, believers have already also experienced this though our attachment with Him. We are no longer bound to evil spirits that compelled us to sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). Don’t be afraid; we are overcomers in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit in us.
- Don’t miss a basic theme of these verses: as the Old Testament makes very clear, God did not choose His people because they were righteous (Deuteronomy 9:5-6). We are redeemed (Exodus 20;20 before we are instructed how to live (Deuteronomy 30:6). God lavishes love on His people.
Read through our text a second time using The Passion Translation.
4 But God still loved us with such great love. He is so rich in compassion and mercy. 5 Even when we were dead and doomed in our many sins, he united us into the very life of Christ and saved us by his wonderful grace! 6 He raised us up with Christ the exalted One, and we ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now co-seated as one with Christ! 7 Throughout the coming ages we will be the visible display of the infinite riches of his grace and kindness, which was showered upon us in Jesus Christ. 8 For by grace you have been saved by faith. Nothing you did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the love gift from God that brought us to Christ! 9 So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving. 10 We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works] we would do to fulfill it! (Ephesians 2:4-10, TPT) Let’s look back at these verses and chart the information that we find there.
|God is love, compassionate & merciful (4)||We are dead in our sins (5)|
Wow! I’m excited. Lord, open our hearts and mind for the truths of your love for us as we read these verses one more time, this time in The Message.
4-6 Immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. 7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (Ephesians 2:4-10)
What stands out to your listening ears? Write what you heard, doodle a picture to show it, or find a picture that represents God’s message to you.
We could spend weeks or months just in these six verses, moving from head knowledge to heart trust and belief: God is good and He truly loves me.
Share your thoughts, beliefs, comments with me in the comment sections below (it won’t take pictures, sorry). Email: KSEvenhouseWWV@gmail.com