We remain in the Ephesians Chapter 2 where in verse 3 we learn that before we came to Jesus Christ the Saviour, we were objects of wrath. That is not a very pleasant description of what we were like – and how mankind remains.
There is a-coming a Day of Wrath - it will be a dreadful day.
It is bad enough when someone in your family is angry with you - but when God is angry with you - and shows it - that is really serious.
Paul is spelling all this out to believers in Jesus - to disciples of Jesus Christ - and notice how he emphasizes that all this would have happened to us - we were objects of wrath. But because of His Great Love for us – verse 4 - God Who is rich in mercy - made us alive with Christ - even when we were dead in transgressions.
It is by GRACE you have been saved. This is a difficult letter in places but worth wrestling with when we see these glorious truths.
We have seen over the years - that the Gospel - heralds bad news before we come to the good news. We are convicted of SIN by the Holy Spirit - and then led by the mercy and grace of God the Father to the cleansing forgiving Blood of Jesus.
The Gospel is for dead men - and for hopeless men - and for men who are facing the wrath of God - and men try to hide sin and disguise it. And GOD comes Himself and deals with it - and He provides the only CURE that works - and the nature of that CURE is LIFE. You were dead - but now you have been made alive.
Verse 6 – And we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms. Now we have life - eternal life - the very life of God within us - and we are able to respond to God's Love - and respond to God's call.
You will never save a man through politics - education - or the military - because that assumes we are dealing with someone who is ALIVE. But to receive this LIFE we need the only One Who can provide it - and the only source and provider is Jesus Christ.
He makes a corpse live - and then we begin to hear and see things which we previously could not hear and see. The Holy Spirit gives us insight - spiritual discernment. We become aware of all kinds of things going on - and as God raises us up we are able to see more clearly and perceive what is going on all around us.
And see how it happens - in Mercy - by Grace - through Faith - truly wonderful.
Verse 3 - He speaks about our former way of living - all of us - we were all involved – and it was nothing to be proud of – rather we were objects of wrath. There are people marching around under the banner of ‘pride’ – that is a highly dangerous thing to do.
Verse 4 - BUT - then we come to read of His great love - God Who is so rich in mercy - He made us ALIVE - He gave us life. He came in Mercy and by Grace He saved us - Rescued us - Salvaged us - AND raised us up to be seated with Christ.
Verse 4 is such a powerful word - after what he has been saying.
It is like being in the doctor's surgery - or the surgeon by the bedside - "I am very sorry to have to tell you - you have got something very seriously wrong with you - BUT THERE IS A CURE - JESUS."
MERCY - God loves to give people what HE has - and not what they deserve. GOD is more than faith - HE is merciful.
Verse 9. For it is by Grace you have been saved - through faith - or through faithfulness - or through being obedient.
There is a contrasting between being disobedient - and being obedient.
Verse 9 is the opposite of being disobedient in verse 2 - and this is not of yourselves - it is the GIFT OF GOD - not by works - so that no-one can boast.
The cure for sin comes BY GRACE. Many think this is offensive.
You will never get the cure by anything you do - it is by the Grace of God.
This means - that the good deeds you have done cannot help you to be cured - and the bad things you have done need not hinder you from being cured.
Now - that is Good News - that is the Gospel.
A thoroughly bad character can meet Jesus Christ - and receive the Grace of God - and be given a place in heaven.
If any man should know that - Paul should know.
For we are God's Workmanship - verse 10 - created in Christ Jesus to do good works - which God has prepared in advance for us to do.
In one sense Jesus has lifted us up out of this atmosphere where the ruler of the kingdom of the air is so influential - we can be lifted right up out of and away from having to live in all that day and night.
Now - we are still here - the body is still here - and that is how the enemy gets hold of us - through the body - through the flesh - and the desires of the flesh - and that is why Paul writes elsewhere as we saw in Galatians regarding keeping in step with the Spirit.
In mercy - by grace - through faith - just as Paul needs all the little words as well as the big words - so do we.
We are not saved simply through faith - but by grace through faith. It is God's free gift - His Generosity - by Grace - not of works - and God will not permit any man to boast.
Boasting leads to pride - or can spring from pride.
It is through Grace – again, God takes the initiative - it is HE Who draws close to you - it is grace that draws you and keep you and teaches you.
Through grace we can overcome the evils and temptations of jealousy - lust - selfishness - bitterness - resentment - the urge to gossip - greed - pride - and much more.
There are people who will not receive this free gift - these free gifts - and they struggle.
When God comes to you - you take it and receive it - and this mercy and grace changes you.
But a corpse cannot reach out and receive from Jesus - and that is why the Holy Spirit has first to come to you and do His Sovereign Work.
We are saved in Mercy - by Grace - through Faith - for Good Works.
Saved – from – for – note the order.
We are His Workmanship.
The good works we do spring from the good deed done in us by GOD, through Jesus Christ, the Saviour.
He has already worked on us - and in us - and that is why we have this longing - this yearning - to do good works for others - and to see others meet God in His Mercy and Grace.
This makes the work we do profoundly different.
God has done this amazing work in us - so that we can serve HIM in the world.
“Loving Father – gracious God – open my eyes, so that I may see clearly what you have done for me through Jesus – and let me see the work You have for me to do in this world – protect me – guide me – use me – allow me to lead a meaningful life – through Jesus my Saviour. Amen”
'Word from Scotland' Copyright 2019 © Sandy Shaw. 'Word from Scotland' articles may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions: 1) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each story, along with their complete bio and a link to https://www.liveasif.org/ 2) 'Word from Scotland' content may not be arranged or "mirrored" as a competitive online service.