Saved By Grace
For by grace you have been saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God NASB
Ephesians 2:1-3 – 1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. NASB
A. 1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, – Here Paul endeavors to show the actual former spiritual state of the believers. We know it is a spiritual state because this is not their physical state. This state he points out is that “you were dead” and this was as a result of being “in your trespasses and sins.” See here the biblical description of the state of the unregenerate unbelieving person. They are spiritually dead, unable to have any mental awareness to the things of God and unable to do anything of their own ability to move towards God or stimulate themselves into spiritual life, as dead people have no abilities of their own. This is a theme in the teaching of the Lord Jesus who frequently refers to unbelievers as “dead” and in desperate need of regeneration (Matt 8:22, Luke 15:24-32), and explains that faith is the necessary condition for life.
John 5:21, 24 – 21 "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes…. 24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. NASB
This is why regeneration is the necessary element in salvation v-5, there is a need for resurrection or new birth, which only God is able to do and without which “no one can SEE the kingdom of God.”(John 3:3-6, John 6:65). Here is seen the consequence of sin and transgression, DEATH! Not that they were physically dead, but in that wretched state of spiritual death which rendered them helpless to hear or understand the things of God and His kingdom. Here is the definitive statement in the bible on depravity or natural inability.
Romans – 8:5-8 – 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. NASB
1 Corinthians 2:14 – 14But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. NASB
B. 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. – See here the former state of every Christian explained in terms of their life of unbelief, “in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world.” They were living and acting according to the dictates of this fallen world, steeped in transgressions and sin as followers of Satan, whom Paul describes as “the prince of the power of the air.” He further explains that Satan is that “spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience,” with deceiving influence leading all unbelievers daily into “disobedience,” that is sin and transgression. The Greek here for disobedience is 543 apeitheia, which means [disbelief (obstinate and rebellious):–disobedience, unbelief]. Paul makes it clear that this is both our former state as Christians, and therefore the actual state of all unbelievers as he repeats this idea that “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” Here he has described our disobedience which we all committed against God as living “in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” The flesh is defined as the “sinful nature” and here “ALL” of us formerly lived “in the lusts of the flesh” and “indulging the desires of the sinful nature.” This is the state of every person apart from REGENERATION. Because the unbeliever has not received the Spirit, he/she is in bondage to the flesh (Rom 6:17-23), they always and continually live after the flesh. Until we have been raised from our dead state, we have no communion with God and live to please the SELF, satisfy SELF, and follow and indulge in the desires of SELF, rather than the desires of God. Indeed before REGENERATION, we cannot see (John 3:3), cannot understand (1 Cor 2:14), cannot accept (John 14:17), cannot obey (Rom 8:7) and cannot hear (John 8:43) God. And this because we have no ability being enslaved by sin and Satan.
Romans 6:17-20 – 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. NASB
Romans 8:7-8 – 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. NASB
Titus 3:3-3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. NASB
Colossians 3:5-7 – 5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. NASB
He further points out that the results of such behavior makes us objects of the very wrath of God, saying that when we were in that natural state of being dead in transgressions and sin we “were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” See here that “children of wrath” is the designation of the natural state of all who are apart from Christ, being made clear by the terms “we were by nature… even as the rest.” This is the truly wretched state of all who are not in Christ! They are without hope and without God in the world (v-2:12), destined for eternal destruction in hell (2 Thess 1:8-9) and storing up wrath (Rom 2:5) for the day of judgment! Woe to one who rejects God’s free grace in Christ!
Colossians 1:21– 21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, NASB
1 John 5:19 – 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. NASB
Ephesians 2:4-5 – 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), NASB
A. But God, being rich in mercy – Mercy is an attribute of God, which is part of His very nature. See here God is “rich in mercy!” His mercy is complete and full, never changing and infinitely abundant. So it is said of the Lord that He is "the Father of mercies" (2 Cor 1:3), "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4), "full of pity, and of tender mercy" (James 5:11). What a beautiful characteristic of God, He is merciful!
Exodus 34:6-7 – 6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." NASB
Psalms 145:8 – 8 The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
Micah 7:18 – 18 Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. NASB
Mercy is defined as “the active compassion of God to assist and provide for the miserable and bestow benefit on the needy.” In the grand scheme of the history of redemption, mercy presupposes sin and death. Since we, as His creatures, have “all sinned and fallen short of His Glory” (Rom 3:23), we are all in need of Divine mercy. In our miserable fallen and deadly state, God has actively come to our aid and provided for our needy souls an abundant provision of eternal life and peace through Jesus Christ. Mercy is not something that we merit or earn, but is freely given of God to the miserable.
1 Peter 1:3 – 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, NASB
Titus 3:4-7 – 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. NASB
B. because of His great love with which He loved us – See here the motivation of God toward His elect people in mercifully raising them from their dead state. Here the special love of God toward His elect is described, in this context as toward “us” who “by grace have been saved.” It is because of God’s great love that he did these things, says Paul.
1 John 3:1 – 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. NASB
1 John 4:9-10 – 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. NASB
C. 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), – See here the “great love” of God held in contrast to our sin, “even when we were dead in our transgressions,” this love of God is the cause of our being “made alive together with Christ” and “raised up with Him.” These are terms describing God’s work of REGENERATION in the believer. We were “made alive together with Christ.” This is powerfully expressive of our union with Christ in the regenerative act of God. The Greek here is 4806 suzoopoieo; [to reanimate conjointly with (figuratively):–quicken together with]. As Paul says in verse 6, God “raised us up with Him.” This is to say that were we not raised independently of Christ, but “with Him,” in the power of His resurrection, we were born again (regenerated) by “working of the strength of His might” v-1:19, by the “surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”
Ephesians 1:18-22 – 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. NASB
The basis of this REGENERATION is God’s free grace, this being expressed as “by grace you have been saved.” See here the act of being “saved” expressed as regeneration and Paul pointing out that this is an act of unmerited, undeserving, free grace by God. The Greek here for grace is 5485 charis, which means; [graciousness, of manner or act–acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace(- ious), with joy, liberality, and pleasure]. Our salvation is “by grace,” that is unmerited (we did not earn it), undeserving (we deserved wrath instead), and free, that is God was not owing to us but freely saved us because of His great love for us. This He carried out by raising us from the death of sin and transgression into eternal life “together with Christ.” Consider these profound words, “even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)”
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