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Basic Bible: God’s Workmanship

Ephesians 2:1-10

“And you hath he quickened . . .” (v. 1). The “you” whom Paul addresses consists of many, many more than those in the church at Ephesus who had been quickened. You consists of all who have ever been and shall ever be quickened by God. The words which Paul speaks are deep, penetrating and personal because every individual who has been quickened knows that he has passed from a state of not knowing God into an eternal spiritual relationship with Him. All who have been quickened know with absolute certainty that they have been transformed from a state in which they were hopelessly separated from God to a state in which one experiences the fullness of His love.

In verse 2, Paul reminds believers of their former walk, walks directed by the prince and power of the air, by him who said “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods” (Gen. 3:4, 5). It was a walk characterized by trusting self and powered by the spirit of disobedience to God.

“Among whom also we . . .” (v. 3). Paul includes himself because he, like all others have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). All have been driven by lust of the flesh and possess the nature of the first Adam. Paul’s words cut to the bone. No man, not one, can escape his failure to meet God’s standard. Our works are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). Despite our failures, God reached out to us in mercy and revealed His love — His great love which exceeds our understandings (v. 4).

We were dead and He “hath quickened us together with Christ” (v. 5). There is only one quickening. Jesus died once bearing the sin of all and was raised from the dead on the third day. All believers (past, present and future) were quickened with Him. We became as He (without sin) because He became our sin. We are joined with Christ. We were raised with Him who was without sin. There is no separation. When God the Father looks upon believers, He sees Christ who is without sin. It is by grace, His amazing grace, that He has raised us up together with Christ to sit in heavenly places (v. 6). We once were dead but now we live. By grace, we are new creatures in Him. The old is transformed in the twinkling of an eye. Borrowing from John Newton, “How precious did that grace appear, The hour I first believed.” By grace, and grace alone, we are no longer separated from God.

The opposite of grace is works. If one walks the path of works, one treads the path of the dead — eternal separation from God. The path of the dead is the wide road that leads to destruction. Before being changed by grace through faith, all are bound by chains which only God can break.

God’s grace is beyond our understanding. It is an unmerited gift which is to be received. That said, Paul was moved by the Holy Spirit to state the purpose for which God has raised us up with Christ. “That in ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (v. 7). The ages to come extend far beyond the present realm. He has raised us up by grace through Christ to be an exhibit for all to see in times that shall unfold in eternal ages to come. We shall be and are a statement of His glory — things which angels desire to know (see I Pet. 1:11, 12). We are an unfading testimony of His love that shall ring throughout eternity.

His glory is seen in us because: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (v. 8). His glory is seen in us (believers) because we have been saved through faith — saved through the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). We are saved through a faith which is not of our manufacture. It is not a faith which can be acquired through diligent study or self sacrifice. It is a faith that cannot be attained through works. It is a faith which is given. It is the gift of God. God does the impossible. God made our dead nothingness come to life, our blind eyes to receive vision and our deaf ears to become unstopped.

His glory shall be seen in us for ages to come because we are His workmanship (v. 10). We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works. We were created in Christ in the same manner in which He, the Word, made all things which are made (Jn. 1:3). We are created unto good works by the same power and force which brought all things into being. We are not created to perform works of the flesh (filthy rags, Isa. 64:6); we have been created anew to do good works, works which are of Christ.

By grace we are empowered to love one another as He loves us. By grace we are empowered to go, to teach, and to baptize in the name God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). We are empowered by grace to do that which no man can do. He transforms our littleness into the brightness of His greatness.

These words were recorded such that the fullness of His love should be revealed to all. He would have all repent and receive the love that He freely gives.

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