Salvation by Grace Through Faith
Eph. 2: 4 – 10
When we started studying this Epistle, I mentioned to you that this letter is considered as the most beautiful letter and the most beautiful word that have ever been written by any human being. It is also said that it is the “divinest composition of man” and the “Rolls Royce” of the epistles. The verses we will be discussing this morning I honestly believe, will further prove and support that claim. Despite of our being so sinful, worldly, carnal, walking with the world and the devil, God still did, I would say unbelievable things for us which is so great that I cannot put it all into writings. Let’s take a look at it.
I. He Loved us (Eph. 2:4)
A. This is the starting point or the beginning of the salvation of man.
B. God loved us in the past and continues to love us despite of our short comings.
C. God is holy. He hates sin but loves the sinner. He offers Jew and Gentile salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8, Jn. 3:16).
D. God’s love (Christ’s love) is shown in His:
1. Coming to seek the lost. Lk. 19:10
2. Praying for his enemies. Lk. 23:34
3. Giving himself for us. Gal. 2:20
4. Dying for us. Jn. 15:13; 1 Jn. 3:16
5. Washing away our sins. Rev. 1:5
6. Interceding for us. Heb. 7:25; 9:24
7. Sending the Spirit. Ps. 68:18; Jn. 16:7
8. Rebukes and chastisements. Rev. 3:19
E. His love also involves the “rich mercy” of God.
1. Mercy is tender pity; kindness; forgiveness; compassion.
2. God’s mercy is the cause of His salvation. Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:3.
3. Mercy is constantly available to the believer. Heb. 4:15-16.
4. To be rich is to be wealthy, and not only mercy is available for us but also justice, holiness, peace, and joy unspeakable.
Illustration: The Importance of Love
All religions have some idea of the importance of love. Christian theology stresses the importance of love because God has revealed that he is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is both what God is and what he has done; God always acts in love.
Love is a transitive reality—that is, it requires an object. In the Bible, love is described as personal (between persons) and selfless (desiring the best for others. Christians see God’s love in sending his Son to die on the cross to save sinners (Rom. 5:8; John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). Christians are to be known by the fact that they love God and others (Jn. 13:34-35). Their love is not to be like the love the world has (Lk. 6:32, 35). Love is best seen in actions and in most cases, is to be identified with what we do—in our compassion and commitment to those around us, regardless of the object’s virtue (1 Jn. 4:19). Our loving attitudes and behaviour are to reflect God’s love. Jesus said that only two commands are needed to govern our lives: love of God and love of neighbour. If such love is demonstrated, all the law and prophets are fulfilled. (The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook)
II. He quickened us (Eph. 2:5).
A. He made us alive, even when we were dead in sins.
B. Salvation brings spiritual life to the dead.
C. The Holy Spirit of God hath breathed into us the breath of a new life. We can now see, discern, appreciate, and understand spiritual things.
III. God raised us up together and made us sit together. (Eph. 2:6)
A. Besides being made alive, former unbelievers also have been raised…up with Christ. This speaks of their being positionally resurrected. Christ’s post-resurrection state was new, powerful, and unique. So too Christians, in whom Christ dwells, have a new, powerful, and unique life and position. This new life, power, and position demand that believers have a new set of values, as Paul stated in his companion letter to the Colossian believers: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2
B. Not only has God made alive and raised with Christ many who had been unbelievers, but He has also seated them with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 1:3,20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12) in Christ Jesus. Believers are positioned spiritually in heaven, where Christ is. They are no longer mere earthlings; their citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). He is the exalted Son of God, and they are exalted sons and daughters of God. These actions of God toward unbelievers are similar to what God did for Christ: “He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 1:20). Whereas Christ had died physically (1:20), unbelievers were dead spiritually (2:1-3). While Christ was raised physically (1:20), unbelievers are made alive and raised with Christ spiritually (2:5-6). Christ is seated in the heavenly realms physically (in His resurrected, ascended body; 1:20), but believers are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms spiritually (2:6). This divine power that can make an unbeliever have life, be raised, and exalted with Christ is the same power that presently operates in believers. (from Bible Knowledge Commentary).
C. Being seated with Christ in heavenly places is the most excellent place to be seated. Better than sitting in a “Rolls Royce” or in any “earthly throne”.
D. Our present condition and all its blessings are only a foretaste or just the beginning. There is more in the ages to come. There are “exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness” yet to be shown in Christ Jesus.
E. By now you should be convinced that the Epistle to the Ephesians is really what they claim it to be, the most beautiful letter and the most beautiful word that have ever been written by any human being. The “divinest composition of man” and the “Rolls Royce” of the epistles.
IV. Salvation is by grace through faith. (Eph. 2:8-9)
A. Man cannot earn his salvation.
B. Human works are dead to God because they come from the Sin Nature. Isa. 64:6.
C. Salvation is God’s gift to us through the gospel.
D. We can by faith accept this precious gift
E. Since man cannot earn his salvation, he has nothing of which to boast.
F. Human good promotes boasting and pride.
G. Grace is the opposite of boasting and pride. Grace promotes humility, growth, and divine good. It is God’s grace of which we must boast.
H. There are two sides to salvation — the human and the divine. Everything that God has done for us is an act of His grace. Everything that we do is an act of faith in Him.
Illustration: Unmerited Favor
When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award—yet receives such a gift anyway—that is a good picture of God’s unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God. (Clip-Art Features for Church Newsletters)
Illustration: Salvation Is the Deliverance from Sin
Salvation is the deliverance from sin. When someone appeals to God and seeks forgiveness in Jesus, his sins are removed. He is cleansed. His relationship with God is restored, and he is made a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). All of this is the work of God, not man. Salvation is a free gift (Rom. 6:23).
We are saved from damnation. When anyone sins, and we all have (Rom. 3:23; 6:23), he deserves eternal separation from God (Is. 59:2). Yet, because of His love and mercy, God became a man (John 1:1,14) and bore the sins of the world in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2). We are forgiven when we realize there is nothing we can do to merit the favor of God and put our trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross (Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). Only God saves. The only thing we bring to the cross is our sin.
Both God the Father (Is. 14:21) and Jesus (John 4:42) are called Savior; that is, deliverer from sin. Remember, it was the Father who sent the Son (1 John 4:10) to be the Savior. (Anonymous)
V. We are His workmanship (Eph.2:10)
A. The word “workmanship” (poiema), denotes a work of art or a masterpiece. We are His masterpiece. God works in us through the Holy Spirit.
B. The purpose of this creation is that believers will do good works instead of the “desires of the flesh and of the mind” (Eph. 2:3)
C. We cannot be saved by good works but the result or the fruit of our salvation is good works.
D. We are saved to serve God and our fellowmen.
God loves us and that is the reason He saved us. Salvation is by grace through faith alone. Good works cannot save you. Repent from your sins and receive Christ as your personal Saviour now. Tomorrow may be too late.