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 2:6-7 – 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. NASB
A. 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, – Not only were we “raised up with Him,” in union with Him and “made alive together with Him,” but Paul explains that He “seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” This is to say that our union “with Him” extends even to that place of authority where He reigns, “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.(v-1:21)” We are “seated with Him in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” Notice the emphasis on our union with Him and “in Christ.” And Christ, going before us as our Forerunner, has secured for us a heavenly glory and citizenship which is already our possession because of Him. We are therefore said to be “seated with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” We were raised from our former state of spiritual death to the very height of heaven with Christ! It is into “heavenly places”, that is the heavenly realm where Christ is seated with God. We now have the spiritual and divine perspective of God and the revelation of regeneration in which to view our world. We NOW see the world and everything in it from the divine perspective of God in heaven. Again this tremendous spiritual blessing of grace is granted us “IN CHRIST.” Oh dear Christian, now that your eyes have been opened, look no longer to the things of earth, but rather to the things of heaven!
Colossians 3:1-3 – 3 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. NASB
Calvin comments “It is as if we had been brought from the deepest hell to heaven itself. And certainly, although, as respects ourselves, our salvation is still the object of hope, yet in Christ we already possess a blessed immortality and glory; and therefore, he adds, in Christ Jesus. Hitherto it does not appear in the members, but only in the head; yet, in consequence of the secret union, it belongs truly to the members.” This is to say believers are positioned spiritually in heaven, where Christ is. They are no longer mere earthlings; their citizenship is in heaven.
Philippians 3:20-21 – 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. NASB
B. 7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus – Here in chapter 2 we have been told of our PAST state (v-1-3), our PRESENT state (v-4-6) and now here our FUTURE state. In the ages to come speaks of our ETERNAL state of exalted glory and honor of which we will partake with Christ. We shall be united with Christ forever, enjoying and receiving all the blessings which God has bestowed on Him. The terms “ages” [aion in the Greek] are not limited to some ages, but include all the coming ages, or eternity. This is of course according to the eternal and ultimate purpose of God in salvation through Christ that we should glorify His grace, as Paul explained in chapter 1 verses 1:6, 12, 14. God predestined us to the praise of His glory forever. Destiny-end!
Ephesians 1:5-6 – 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. NASB
Ephesians 1:12-14 – 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. NASB
Note also here the profound words, “He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Here the purpose of our salvation may be seen, “in order that” God may lavish the “riches of His grace” upon us. God saved us to lavish all the treasures of His glory and virtue on us forever and ever, and this of course for the purpose of magnifying His glorious grace for all the eons of eternity! The “surpassing riches”, what must such expressions imply? How surpassing are the riches of God’s grace? This is a rapturous thought to be pondered and meditated on. The Father has chosen and redeemed a bride for the Son, and will now bring them together into His Kingdom to lavish all the riches of His Kingdom on them both forever and ever, world without end! Christian, do you realize what profound things have been granted you in Christ?
Matthew 25:34 – 34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. NASB
Ephesians 2:8-9 – 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. NASB
A. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; – It is through no merit of our own that we have been saved , but is an act of God’s free mercy raising us up from the death of sin and transgression. But here we are told that this grace comes to us “through faith.” Faith then is the medium by which we receive salvation. It is the conduit through which the graces of salvation flow to us.
Romans 3:22-26 – 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. NASB
Paul goes further explaining that the grace and the faith are “not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God.” Here any idea of man’s ability to earn or merit salvation
is annulled. It is clearly, “the gift of God” which man did not possess and that
God freely gave, which is “not of ourselves.” This is to say we didn’t make
faith, it did not originate with us, but rather it was a gracious gift from God
which came to us while we were dead in transgression and sins.
Philippians 1:29 – 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, NASB
Because of the context of verses 5-8, see that grace and faith are gifts of God granted in regeneration. Prior to salvation that comes through faith, we are dead in transgression and sins. Consider that the biblical metaphor for our state before salvation is death, like a corpse that is unresponsive, inanimate and unable to even hear or see. In the act of regeneration God granted us faith, which we then employed, believing and repenting, resulting in salvation. Thus regeneration precedes faith.
B. 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast – Here is a contrast (grace↔works) whereby Paul clarifies that salvation is an entirely free gift of grace and unmerited. It is “not the result of works” which man can do and so boast about His abilities. It is rather God granting a blessing which the poor, dead man was in desperate need of and could not furnish on his own. God has done this so “that no one should boast” but rather God gets the glory for His grace toward us. (Rom 3:27-28, 4:2-8, 9:11,16, 11:6, 2 Tim 1:9, Tit 3:5-7)
Romans 3:27-28 – 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. NASB
Romans 4:2-8 – 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. 8 "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account."
Titus 3:5-7 – 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
Ephesians 2:10 – 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. NASB
A. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus – Here is another emphatic statement showing salvation as the free gift of God. He “created us in Christ.” Here not the general creation of our physical bodies but rather the special spiritual creation of regeneration. We were not, and then we were, by the creative power of God. There cannot be conceived to be a stronger expression to denote the agency of God in the conversion of people, or the fact that salvation is wholly of grace.
2 Corinthians 5:17– 17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASB
Ephesians 4:24 – 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. NASB
We are His “workmanship,” His special work “created in Christ Jesus” for
His special purposes.
B. for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them – See here a very intentional purpose on the part of God in making us new creations, “for good works.” Having been powerfully created by God in His likeness, we are now to lead a holy life and render to God those acts of worship which properly honor Him. No longer walking after the course of the world, or after the lusts of our flesh, we are to love God with all of our being and love our neighbor as ourselves, by performing all of the commands of holy writ with diligence and zeal. These “good works” are that which Paul will lay out in Ephesians chapters 4-6 in great detail which describe the holy life of God’s holy people.
Titus 2:11-14 – 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. NASB
And not only this, but God has “prepared beforehand” the “good works” that we shall carry out in this life. This is to say that we are so far from boasting about the supernatural life of salvation that we now possess, that even our own good works have come from God so that all the glory goes to Him, even for our own “good works,” for God has “prepared” the “beforehand.” Calvin comments, “He says, that, before we were born, the good works were prepared by God; meaning, that in our own strength we are not able to lead a holy life, but only so far as we are formed and adapted by the hand of God. Now, if the grace of God came before our performances, all ground of boasting has been taken away. Let us carefully observe the word prepared. On the simple ground of the order of events, Paul rests the proof that, with respect to good works, God owes us nothing. How so? Because they were drawn out of his treasures, in which they had long before been laid up; for whom he called, them he justifies and regenerates.” See here that even the “good works” of our holy lives are the gracious gift and “workmanship” of God to us “in Christ” and are a result of our union with Him.
Ephesians 1:4 – 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love NASB
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