March 1 – A Very Clear Explanation of Salvation

Ephesians 2: 1 – 10

  1. What were we like before God intervened? I’m going to have you read the first 3 verses in 2 different translations since the wording in both gives us a clearer picture.

“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. (New Living Translation NLT)

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  (New American Standard Bible NASB)

That answer to what we were like before God intervened is very blunt – dead! We may have looked like we were alive, but inside, our spiritual selves were dead and controlled by Satan. Verse 2 couldn’t be any clearer “obeying the devil – the commander of the powers in the unseen world”. Our reason for living was to live life for ourselves. That started in the Garden of Eden when Eve and Adam decided they wanted to be like God Himself, and followed Satan’s suggestion that they eat the forbidden fruit. If you are ready to admit it, you know that your first inclination in life is make sure what you want is what you get – what you want for your emotions, your physical body, and for your mind. Me first.

  1. But … what did God do for us?

“But God” (v. 4)

“ But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”

God loved us so much that He sent Christ Jesus to earth to show us what God is like, and most importantly to provide a way that we can be united with Christ. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus took the punishment for our sin and self-centredness, and demonstrated victory over death. This is only because of “the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us”.

  1. How can I know that God has saved me? What do I need to do?

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

It’s simple – you believe what is said in these first verses in Ephesians. Period. Apart from believing, there is nothing you can do – nothing!  Because of our sinful nature, our focus is on ourselves; we tend to think there must be something we can do – that somehow we need to prove to God that we are sincere and trying hard. But we can’t earn our salvation in any way – it’ a gift from God! Sometimes I think we have a hard time accepting this. We think there must be more to it than that. We’re not sure what, but somehow we think we need to do more. God just doesn’t accept us only because we believe that Jesus died and rose again for us. That seems too simple. But that’s exactly it – “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (v.9)

  1. So … is that it?

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Actually, there is more. When we believe that what God has done through Jesus is enough, we are “created anew”. Another verse tells us the same thing. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” There is a transformation in our lives when we believe. In Romans 8, Paul tells us this: “10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. … 15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.”

We do not become God’s children by doing good works. We can’t earn our way into God’s family. But once we are adopted/renewed by God, God has good things for us to do. We are now part of God’s plan for this world. That’s exciting, and Ephesians will go on to talk about some of those practical things in the coming chapters.

As you have read through these verses today, you may have been nodding your head and saying – ‘Yes, that’s exactly what I believe. Thank You so much for saving me’. Or you may have been thinking – ‘Is that all there is? Don’t I have to do more?’ I want you to reread these verses, and ask God to help you to truly understand how much He loves you.

“ But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”

Our song for today is Amazing Grace by Pentatonix

4 Replies to “March 1 – A Very Clear Explanation of Salvation”

  1. That was very clear! It’s not the first passage you think of for explaining the gospel, but it’s really perfect.

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