Read Ephesians 2
Made Alive in Christ
2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Jew and Gentile Reconciled Through Christ
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
In today’s reading, Paul wastes no time before getting to some incredibly important theological truths for the people of Ephesus (and us) to hear. If you only half-read or skimmed this chapter–stop. Go back and re-read because what Paul is laying out here is something you don’t want to miss. Today, we are going to explore each truth that Paul is telling us, comparing them to verses from his letter to the Romans. Take a look at the chart below:
Verses 1-2: Paul lays out clearly how dead and deprived we were when we lived by the flesh and sinned however we wanted.
Verse 3: Paul says that because of how we lived, we deserved God’s wrath and judgment.
Verses 4-5: God in his great love and mercy made us alive through Christ, and v. 6-7 describe how God sent his Son to die and be brought up to heaven.
Verses 8-9: These two verses are arguably the most important in the chapter. We are saved by grace through faith. Salvation isn’t based on what we do; it’s entirely dependent on our faith in Jesus and our belief that he died, took on all our sins, and came back to life three days later.
How revolutionary are these truths to the common “religious” way of thinking? These verses make it clear that there is nothing we can do, say, or think, to earn our way to heaven. We don’t deserve it. But Jesus provides a way for all of us to be saved and live eternally with Him. Romans 8:1 says this: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We are in Christ Jesus, so we are saved, pure, free from death and sin and shame and hiding.
So, now what? Now that we understand God’s saving grace and the message of the Gospel, what do we do? Verse 10 of today’s chapter says that we are God’s handiwork, created to do good works that He has prepared. We can devote our lives to showing others this truth. As the second portion of this chapter describes, we can seek oneness with all of God’s people, and be on mission with them to change lives.
- If you were to die today, how sure are you that you would go to heaven? Give a number from 1 to 10 and explain why.
- If you were standing before God and he asked you why he should let you into heaven, what would you say?
- When was the last time you shared the Gospel? This question isn’t meant as a guilt trip; it’s a call to action. If you haven’t been reaching the lost, it is never too late to start.
Interested in sharing the Gospel, but not quite sure how to do it? The Romans verses above are a part of the Romans Road, a very common and simple way to lay out the revolutionary truth of the gospel. A summary of it can be found here. Additionally, if you are unsure how to begin a Gospel-centered conversation, asking the first two of today’s reflection questions are a great way to do so.
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