Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Thursday, May 7, 2020

2020.05.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 2:1–7

Questions from the Scripture text: What was the original condition of the Ephesian Christians (Ephesians 2:1)? According to what two entities did they walk (Ephesians 2:2)? In whom does the prince of the power of the air continue to work? Who else once conducted themselves among them (Ephesians 2:3)? In what did they conduct themselves? What did they fulfill? What were they by nature? Like whom? In what is God rich (Ephesians 2:4)? What caused Him to act? Whom does Paul include among the dead in Ephesians 2:5? What did God do to them? In Whom? By what were they saved? What two things did they do with them in Ephesians 2:6? Together with Whom? What did God want to show (Ephesians 2:7)? In what? In Whom?
There is a resurrection that must come before faith.

It is to the Ephesian saints that the apostle writes, “you were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), and then he begins including himself in this death in Ephesians 2:3, “among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” But this was not just a behavioral pattern; the apostle says that it had been his and their nature, “and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

What had to happen to undo this? Spiritual resurrection! God “made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” We sometimes read of people saying that what is “not of ourselves” in Ephesians 2:8 is the grace and salvation, but that somehow the faith does come from ourselves. This kind of thinking completely misses the first “by grace” in Ephesians 2:5. Those who are dead and need resurrecting cannot believe. They must be “made alive” first.

And praise God that He gives this faith according to His rich mercy and great love (Ephesians 2:4)!
And this passage teaches not only the resurrection of the believer in Christ before faith, but the ascension and session of the believer in Christ by that faith. And He “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

This is how faith works unto justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. It doesn’t just give us credit for merit that belongs to Christ or access to power that belongs to Christ; it is the means by which we are joined to Christ Himself. We are crucified in union with Him. We are resurrected in union with Him. We ascend in union with Him. We sit in union with Him.

Again (cf. Ephesians 1:23), the Holy Spirit says something here that would be a terrible blasphemy if we had come up with the idea. But this is the richness of God’s mercy (Ephesians 2:4) and the greatness of His love (verse 4)—to give us such honors and privileges by means of our union with Christ!

And ultimately, that is the purpose of seating us with Him, and in Him, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” The purpose is, “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

The church is like a trophy unto the exceeding riches of God’s grace in His kindness toward us. And Christ Himself, as we have been united to Him, is the great display of that grace. And God has taken His trophy and set it upon the highest pedestal of the highest heaven. Praise be to His grace!
What happened to you, in Jesus? Where “are” you, in Jesus? What difference does it make?
Suggested songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace!”

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