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Made Alive in Christ April 8, 2012

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Ephesians 2:1-10.

Summary: Paul begins by telling the Ephesians that just as God raised Christ from the dead, He has given life to them, as they were separated from Him due to their

  • outer transgressions
  • manifestations of their sinful nature.

They had been living according to the spirit of the world and had been subject to Satan – who influences the wicked. Indeed, all believers were previously influenced by Satan; they satisfied the commands of the flesh and of the mind. Moreover, when they were born they were already subject to God’s condemnation. Yet because of God’s love for believers and His desire to support the miserable, He forgave them and regenerated them – just as He raised Christ from the dead; their salvation stems from the unmerited love of God. God has also exalted believers to a favorable state – the kingdom of heaven – which they begin to experience on earth. God has done this so that in the future He can show His grace, which is exercised through Christ. Now believers are saved – freely – by merely receiving God’s offer of salvation (even their ability to receive this offer comes from Him); their salvation cannot be earned, and so no one has merit in His eyes. Paul concludes by inferring that believers are saved by God and united with Christ for a life of holiness, as God has decided before the beginning of the world to prepare them for this type of life.

Thoughts: Verses 5 and 6 show that God has already given believers spiritual life and enthroned them with Christ in heaven. Hodge offers some insightful thoughts on this point:

Hence, all the verbs used in this connection – made…alive, raised…up, seated…with – are in the past tense. They express what has already taken place – not what is future, not what is merely in prospect. The resurrection, the making alive, and the raising up of Christ’s people were in an important sense accomplished when he rose from the dead and sat down at the right hand of God.

This is a concept that had vexed me, especially during a previous excursion through the parallel passage of Colossians 3:1. Paul explains this notion of the close union between the physical resurrection of Christ and the spiritual resurrection of His people more fully in Romans 6, which I blogged about in this post. Clearly the reality of the resurrection of Christ and the surety of His promises allow Paul to use the past tense in this and in similar passages. We can be encouraged by Paul’s use of the past tense here, knowing that our spiritual resurrection and exaltation with Christ is so certain that we can speak of these events as having already occurred. This illustrates the magnitude and impact of the resurrection event.

In verse 8, we see that God freely saves believers, and even our ability to receive His gift of salvation comes from Him. Hodge defends this assertion as follows:

1. It fits the purpose of the passage best. The apostle’s aim is to show the free nature of salvation. This is most effectually done by saying, “You are not only saved by faith in opposition to works, but your very faith is not of yourselves – it is the gift of God.”

This is a point that I had missed in my previous excursions through Ephesians, and I am grateful that Hodge illuminated it in his commentary. Indeed, this apparent subtlety highlights the utter wretchedness and misery that enveloped believers before God extended His offer of salvation to them. We were so hopelessly lost that we completely lacked the ability to receive His offer of salvation – God had to plant that desire for salvation in us. We – in our state of misery – would have rejected His offer of life, so God went even further and enabled us to receive it. We can be thankful that God left no stone unturned in order to save us – to our benefit and for His glory.

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1. Freedom From Human Regulations Through Life With Christ « Ringing In - October 16, 2012

[…] This passage is analogous to Ephesians 2, which I’ve blogged about. Now in this passage, we are reminded of the supremacy of Christ, especially in verse 15; […]


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