I’m so excited that over the next two days, we get to dig into Ephesians chapter 2. I love Ephesians 2:8-9….and we will SOAP those verses tomorrow! For today, however, let’s look at the verses leading up to my favorite. Our reading takes us into verses 1-5, with our SOAP on verse 4. Which is also our memory verse this week. However, let’s read verses 1-10 since tomorrow’s SOAP includes verses 6-10.
Made Alive in Christ
2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
(NIV; emphasis added to verse 4)
From the moment that Eve ate the apple, God has had a plan all along to restore us for His glory. God has always wanted us from the very beginning. But when sin enter our world, God had to kick us out of His kingdom, because He is perfect. But that didn’t stop Him from still wanting us there with Him! So, God gave us an amazing gift…the gift of grace.
Let’s look up the definition of gift: something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned
Now, let’s look at what the Halley’s Bible Handbook Notes say about this part of chapter two:
Saved by grace (2:1–10). First God reconciles individuals to Himself as an act of grace. The body of Christ is being built up out of unworthy, sinful people, to be an everlasting demonstration of the kindness of God. When God’s work in us is completed, we will be creatures of unutterable bliss in a state of heavenly glory beyond anything we can now imagine. It will be God’s work, not ours, and through the ages heaven will never cease to resound with the glad hallelujahs from the grateful hearts of the redeemed.
It’s nothing we deserve, it’s nothing we can earn. God’s grace is a gift…and it is that gift that saves us.
The application here is easy…it’s the execution that is the struggle. We still feel as if we need to do something MORE than what has already been done, and what has already been given to us. Can this gift from God really be enough to save us? What about all the good works I do? Surely, those must count towards something! (They don’t and we’ll look at that tomorrow.)
We are all guilty of such thinking, but God is telling us otherwise. No, we don’t need anything else, other than God’s Word. And when hasn’t that been enough? My application is to simply stop questioning God when it comes to grace. It’s a gift that is new each morning…so I will joyfully accept it and take the weight off my shoulders.
Lord, You’ve given me a gift that I in no way deserve, but You keep telling me I am worth it and that You want me. What an amazing realization to know how much You love me. You’ve given me the gift of grace, and allowed the blood of Jesus to pay for all my sins so that I can know You! Please forgive me for thinking I need so much more, and help me to live under the knowledge that You and You alone are everything I need. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.