Ephesians 2: By Grace Through Faith

THE GOSPEL IN Ephesians 1 (1).jpg

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And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Today, we get to a lot of the stuff we were talking about – our deadness, our love of evil, God’s love for completely unworthy people, how HE made us alive, and how we’re set free to do good works.

Let’s talk about US this time: where were we and what did God do?

1. We were dead in our sin. Dead. Unable to accept Jesus. ¬†Like a corpse that’s been under dirt for a thousand years.
2. We were doing it the world’s way. We were following the world, the flesh, and the devil. We were completed opposed to God.
3. God is merciful. Though we are sinners, though we opposed, even hated God, he made us alive. We were dead, but he made us alive in Christ. He saved us from our sinfulness and hatred and woke us up!
4. God’s grace saved us. Not our works, at all. Our faith isn’t a work. We would NEVER have faith in God unless God woke us up and saved us first.
5. We are God’s creation. We’re God’s workmanship. And we’re here to do good works.

So get the order: we’re dead, God makes us alive through his grace alone, and we’re freed to do good works for him, like we’re created to.

We aren’t alive, doing good works, and God helps us out.

We’re DEAD, stuck in the bottom of the ocean with hundreds of pounds of weight on our neck.
The Creator of the Universe steps in, rescues us, and frees us of all that weight.
He’s made us righteous in CHRIST. When God looks at us, he sees Jesus’ perfection in us. On our own, we’re nothing. But through Jesus, we are completely righteous.
Of course, we still are sinners in our human flesh. But instead of fearing God’s wrath on unrighteousness, we’re free to live for him, set free¬†to grow into what we already are in Christ.

But instead of fearing God’s wrath on unrighteousness, we’re free to live for him, set free¬†to grow into what we already are in Christ, to do what we’re ultimately made for: obeying, glorifying, and enjoying God.

The Gospel in Ephesians 1

THE GOSPEL IN Ephesians 1
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Today I’m kicking off a blog series on Ephesians. The main change is I’m not going to spend a post on one verse. We’re going to delve into each chapter and learn about Jesus.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth,the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
What’s super cool about Ephesians 1: 1-16 is how the whole gospel is right here.
What do we see about God in this passage?
  1. God chose us before we were born, before the earth was formed, before we even knew ourselves.
  2. He chose us so that “we should be holy and blameless before him”. We’ve broken God’s perfect will and apart from Jesus are ANYTHING but holy and blameless. But God chose us to save us from our total, utter deadness so that we could live for Him.
  3. He loves us. He adopted us through his grace which we see in Christ’s death at the cross.
  4. He’s redeemed and forgiven us. Because He loves us so much. Not because we’re awesome.
  5. As chosen children of God, God’s given us an inheritance: Heaven.
  6. The Holy Spirit lives in every single Christian, and He is the promise of this inheritance.
It’s crazy: God CHOSE all Christians before the earth was formed. To think that our name would cross the King of everything’s mind is pretty amazing. But he’s chosen, adopted, and saved us. He sent his Son to die a murderer’s death to save who? ¬†God-haters.
It’s not like we loved God and he wanted to love us back because we’re so awesome.
No. We hated God. Apart from God saving us, we’re the very ones who’d spit at Jesus, mock, even kill him beside two common criminals.
But God loved us with such an awesome love that though we hated him, he chose us, he sent his Son to the earth, not to become an earthly King and punish us (like we deserved), but go to a cross and take our punishment. Because He loves us.
And now,
we get to glorify God,
and to enjoy him forever.
We’re set free, not to keep on sinning, but to live for Jesus. ¬†To love others, to obey his commands, to follow, and glorify him.
Because this is what we’re made for and this is the only thing that will truly satisfy us – glorifying God forever.

Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional (6/28)

This one’s really good!

“Looking unto Jesus.” ‚ÄĒ Hebrews 12:2

It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ.

He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.”

All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.”
Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument-it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith.

We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him.

Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee.

“My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness: I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”