Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The salvation of God to the glory of God - Ephesians 2:1-10

At present in my devotions I'm working through Ephesians - just slightly too late for the summer preaching study in Magheralin Parish, but still beneficial, nonetheless. I'm using John Stott's commentary as a useful guide - but only after I have done some hard work myself. This passage is particularly great, as it shows us that our salvation is all because of God - to whom we give praise and glory!

Ephesians 2:1-10
1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

What is Christianity? It is all of God. In Ephesians 2:1-10 Paul reminds the Christians at Ephesus what Christianity is, and who is behind it.

The passage starts us by showing what men and women are by nature - dead; in trespasses and sins (both positive overstepping the mark and negative missing the mark); following what we know collectively as 'the world, the flesh and the devil'; as we carried out the desires of our flesh and mind.

The end result of this behaviour (which we all were part of) was that we were children of wrath. The situation certainly looks bleak.

BUT GOD - What an amazing couple of words, that completely change our situation!

The characteristics of God:
- rich in mercy (4)
- great love with which he loved us (4)
- gracious (5, 7, 8)
- kindness towards us (7)

What has God done?
- we who were dead, he has made alive together with Christ (5)
- we who were following the evil powers, he has raised us and seated us on the throne of heaven with Christ, ruling over them (6)
- we who needed rescuing were saved (by grace)
- all a work of God (5, 8)

Why is it God's work?
- it is a gift (8)
- it is not by our works (9)

What about our works?
- We are not saved by our works (9)
- But we are saved for good works (10)

And notice - we are created in Christ for good works - we cannot create ourselves, if we are dead - salvation is all a work of God, from start to finish!

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