Ephesians 2 (NRSV)
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[a]—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.
- Chapter 2 begins with verse 1 and the strong statement, "You were dead in your trespasses and sins..." Now think about that for a moment. You were dead. DEAD!! What can a dead person do? The answer is NOTHING. A dead person cannot do anything, because they are dead. Because of our sin, we were dead...unable to save ourselves...unable to do anything for ourselves. We followed the ways and the ruler of this world, and were unable to follow our Lord. We were creatures of desire, creatures of the flesh. It goes on to say on 3 that we were by nature children of wrath. Wrath is defined as "extreme anger". In other words, we were dead spiritually, and a hot mess in any other sense of the word.
- But then our gracious Lord comes in. Starting in v4 we learn that out of God's great mercy and love, even though we were dead, though Jesus Christ he made us Alive!! Much like the Lord on Easter Sunday, we are brought from death (in our former state), to life in Christ Jesus (in our current state). How wonderful!
- This is followed then by the famous verses 8-9, that tell us that it is our faith that saves us, and that the faith is given as a gift of God, not a work of man, so that we may not boast. This is pivotal to understand: there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. Our God, in His infinite mercy has given us Jesus, and the gift of faith, so that through belief we can be saved. This is His gift to us, not our action!! We cannot boast of our salvation as something we earn, because we do not earn it. It is gifted to us by an all loving, all merciful God.
- Vv10-22 go on to then speak of the unification between Gentile and Jew. There is no more differences amongst the people of God. There is unity in Christ. Those who believe are all God's children, the wall has been brought down, the distinction of the circumcision, the law has all been brought down and we are one in Christ. I love the imagery in vv 11-15, that at one time we were strangers in the land, aliens, we had no hope, we did not have God. But then, we are brought near and unified to the Kingdom through the blood of Christ. How awesome. I mean seriously how awesome!! Once unified, all of the people of God are brought in under Jesus Christ, the cornerstone.