Updated: Jun 13
Paul begins by reflecting on the Ephesian's deplorable condition before they came to believe in Christ and received God's grace. What does it mean to come alive in Christ? What does it mean to be saved? What does it mean to be born again? What does it mean to be a Christian? In this chapter, Paul explains the wonderful truth about salvation, essential reading for a fuller understanding of what we have in Christ Jesus. Very simply put, when we have Christ, we have everything. We have the same power that raises all who believe from the dead and exalts them to sit — as sons of God — with Christ at God’s right hand.
We’re spiritually raised from the deadness of sin and exalted from the moment we believe, not from a physical death but the death of our spirit separated from God. Chapters One & Two are linked, God’s plan of salvation in Chapter One and how you enter into the plan in Chapter Two. In verses 1-10 below, Paul describes the wondrous gift we receive when we believe and become complete in Jesus, the miracle of salvation that draws us into God’s eternal plan.
Here we have a mystery. Paul insists that it’s by grace alone that we are saved (5), that works have nothing to do with our salvation, yet he continues by saying that we are created by God to do good works (10). All the good works in the world cannot put us right with God, yet there is something wrong with a Christianity in which no good works are achieved. Actually, this is no mystery at all, but the law of love. God loves us, and although we do not and cannot deserve that love, by His grace and the urgings of the Spirit we know we must do everything we can to be worthy of that love.
Before receiving God’s grace, we were controlled by another spirit, a “spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.” We were spiritually dead because of our disobedience and sin. Unconverted people are by nature inclined toward fulfillment of their carnal desires, subject to sin and therefore subject to God’s anger. But by God’s mercy, kindness, and love, those who belong to Jesus are saved from the consequences of their sins and enjoy the benefit of Christ’s resurrection. A fundamental principal of the gospel is that people are made righteous through belief in Christ rather than by any good works of their own. Good works are the result of salvation, not the cause of it!
The world today is one of division. Denominationalism, historic and theological viewpoints, our traditions, opinions, even our preferences, all divide us and create disunity. Paul emphasizes that God’s grace had also been given to the Gentiles, uniting them with Jews in a unified community, creating the body of Christ which is the church. And in this new body, love and acceptance are valued while ethnic and gender distinctions no longer apply. This is what the Church should be, but will become only when it no longer tries to propagate a point of view. Instead, the church should provide a home where the Spirit of Christ dwells and all who love Christ meet in that spirit. Paul tells us the church’s foundation is the apostles and the prophets. Paul is speaking of New Testament prophets, and lest we forget, prophets are not so much predictors of the future as they are God’s messengers.
In Christ we find unity, unity of Jew and Gentile, unity in Spirit, and unity in body, for by joining with Jesus our bodies become living and holy temples for the Lord. The message is simple yet powerful: The church is a holy temple for the Lord because the Lord himself lives among us.
Food for Thought
What motivated God to save us?
What has God done for us and why would He do it?
How has our relationship with God been changed through the blood of Christ?
What do we become when we join together in Christ?
What purpose does this serve?