You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
One in Christ
11 So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision”—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually[f] into a dwelling place for God.
What does the passage say?
V. 1- 5 Paul talks about the sinful nature of humans. By ‘following the ways of the world’ (v.2), Paul says that even though we live we are dead to our transgressions. However, it is the grace of God that saves us from the bondage of sin, and we are ‘made alive in Christ.’ (v.5)
V. 6 -10 Through the grace of God, we are saved, not by our understanding or work (v. 9). We are called righteous, sitting in the same place of Jesus. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, calls this a ‘Justifying Grace, where we believe that we become God’s children, through His grace.
V. 11 – 18 If you remember, Paul is the founder/ church planter of the church in Ephesus. Ephesus is a city in Asia Minor. Many of the people were Gentiles, non-Jews while some might have been Diaspora Jews. I found an excellent post, which talks about the history of the Church in Ephesus. If you are interested click, http://www.housetohouse.com/HTHPubPage.aspx?cid=2611
Paul emphasizes that through Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace, the two groups units. “For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” Ephesians 2:14
V. 19 – 22 Now Paul introduces a new identity to the church and the people of God. He not only shares that through Christ we all become one, but also we become the temple being built up. “in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.” Ephesians 2:22
Have you ever thought that your body, your life becomes a temple of God?
What does this mean to me/us?
As we start the new year, and as I am focusing on our new sermon series ‘Fresh Start’ my eyes is captured by the beginning of this chapter.
We need to remember the state of our life when we didn’t know/understand or even believe in this grace.
We were “dead through the trespasses and sins” – Ephesians 2:1
Even though we thought we were living, spiritually we were dead. And as our Spirit was dead, it eventually overburdened our physical life. We might remember that stage of your life. Or you might still be in that stage.
In the Message it says, “You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. “
This verse reminds me of what David Ramsey said, in the first session of our Finacial Peace University held at our church yesterday, “We tend to defend our way of spending.” Just switch the word ‘spending’ to ‘living.’
Are we still living in that stage of life? Even though we know about the grace that saves our soul, do we still defend our lifestyle or ways the world tells us to live? By any chance, are we not spiritually dead, by being blinded by the worldly living?
Then let me share something that might change our view. We, who believe in God’s grace are called to live in this world as a temple of God. Temple means that God lives in us. The Spirit is willing to work in our life and clean up all the mess/ worldly pollution in us. But what if we are not willing to allow the Spirit to work in us, but instead ‘defend our way of life?’
What does this MEAN to you?
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