One of my favorite sections of Scripture is Ephesians 2:1-10. In these ten verses we have a glorious picture of our salvation in three parts: 1) We were spiritually dead, 2) God has supernaturally delivered us from spiritual death, & 3) being delivered from death to life, we are given good work to do. As a new year approaches, this is a great opportunity for us to remember God’s glorious gospel.
Spiritually Dead (vs. 1-3)
Everyone begins spiritually dead. This is the result of the fall of Adam recorded in Genesis 3. Paul makes this point clear in Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” If you are not a Christian, you are spiritually dead. If you are a Christian, you were spiritually dead. Paul describes spiritual death as living a life in obedience to: 1) the course of this world and 2) the prince of the power of the air. In other words, the Devil and his spiritual forces of evil are at work in an ungodly world and those who are spiritually dead are following this course of life. Verse 3 mentions that the spiritually dead are living out the passions of the flesh and are by nature children of wrath; deserving of God’s judgment for their sin.
Supernaturally Delivered (vs. 4-9)
The answer for spiritual death is spiritual life. Paul writes that God made us alive together with Christ (v. 4). Jesus told Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God’s gift of life is given out of His great love, His richness of mercy, and His immeasurable riches of His grace. Salvation means that we are safe with Christ. We have been transferred out of the course of the world and into the heavenly places in Christ. Paul says we have been seated with Christ in the heavenly places. Just as Christ has rested from His work, so He invites us into His rest. We do not have to work for our salvation. In order to make this point even clearer, Paul says we are saved by grace through faith and not of works. If we were saved by works, then we would have something to boast about. But, we are saved by God’s grace as a gift to be received by faith alone.
Strategically Deployed (v. 10)
The result of our salvation is that we are God’s workmanship. Being God’s workmanship means that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works. These works have been prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. We are not saved by works, but we are saved for good works. James echoes Paul in his letter when he says that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). Peter H. Davids has said, “works are not an ‘added extra’ to faith, but are an essential expression of it.” We are saved for good works and good works are the evidence of our salvation.
Are you a Christian? Have you admitted that you are a sinner? Have you repented of your sins? Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action. Do you acknowledge that your sin deserves death and that you are spiritually dead without Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ who died to take away your sin and give you spiritual life? Do you confess your faith in Jesus? If so, are you living your life in obedience to Christ? Are you doing so out of love and not obligation? Do you love Jesus and desire that others know Him as you do? Are you bringing the love of Christ to a hurting world?