Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
“you” = the believer
“quicken” = to make alive
Every person since Adam and Eve has been born spiritually dead. “Hath he quickened” has been added by the translators, but expresses the obvious implication from “were dead.” If Paul is addressing people who spiritually “were dead,” they are obviously spiritually “now alive.”
Eph. 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
The wording of this verse emphasizes that Paul’s context is spiritual death and life. If in “time past” when you were dead, you “walked,” you were obviously physically alive.
In our spiritually dead state we walked “according to the prince of the power of the air,” Satan, the god of this world, “the spirit that works in the children of disobedience.”
2Cor. 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
1John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Scripture is clear in stating that friendship with the world positions one as God’s enemy. To walk according to the ways of the world is to position yourself as a friend of Satan.
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
1John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Eph. 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
The word “conversation” is a reference to one’s lifestyle. Before becoming a child of God through Christ, our lives were lived according to the desires of the flesh and our own reasoning. This was according to the nature that we inherited through Adam. From birth we inherited a natural tendency to rebel against God and were deserving of His wrath. This is true of every person born into this world.
Eph. 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Eph. 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Almighty God, our Creator, is an amazing Being. His defining characteristic is love.
1John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Nothing about our God is small or limited in any way; He is rich in every attribute. His love is great and His mercy abundant. Beyond my understanding, His love toward every sinner is “great”—so great that He determined to provide for our spiritual rebirth through His Son, Jesus Christ, even before He created us. God loves every sinner with the greatest love even though He hates their sin. It’s by His grace, His gracious loving influence on our heart, that we are saved from His wrath, the just judgment of our sin.
I never get tired of repeating the precious old adage that grace is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Eph. 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
I always love the verses that declare God’s purposes as a done deal. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God already sees us positioned with Him as joint-heirs in heaven.
Eph. 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
God has created man to think in reference to time. “The ages to come” is a reference to what we would call broad segments of time. Because the context is in reference to our sitting in heavenly places, I believe this is a reference to what we will experience in eternity. I don’t think one can discount the evidences of the richness of God’s grace towards His children in this life, but scripture seems to indicate that these riches are nothing compared to what is to come.
1Cor. 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
We are going to be blown away and greatly humbled as we consider how little we evidenced our gratitude in this lifetime for such provision.
Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph. 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
“By grace” – God’s divine influence upon your heart
“are you” – the sinner
“saved” – delivered from the wrath of God to restored fellowship with Him
“through faith” – implicit belief in God’s truth and authority
“and that not of yourselves” – Absolutely everything necessary to provide our
salvation is done by God.
“it” – your salvation
“is the gift of God” – an undeserved present from God the Father that only needs
to be accepted
“not of works” – There is absolutely nothing we can do to add to the value of
God’s gift. His gift alone is sufficient to redeem us.
“lest any man should boast” – It is God’s purpose for man to recognize that his whole life is dependent upon God. Nothing man can do is a basis for bragging or considering himself deserving of glory. ALL glory belongs to God.
Is. 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another….
Eph. 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
I love the way the NLT expresses this verse.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
God is the master of everything He does, and it stands to reason that His workmanship produces only work of the highest quality, a masterpiece. (1/11) While reading this section again, I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs—A Picture of Grace.
How skillful the hands of the artist
Who painted this picture of me.
He saw with the eyes of a Master
How beautiful my life could be.
Where once was a portrait of gloom and despair,
This masterpiece hangs in its place,
It's signed with His blood and it's framed with His glory,
This beautiful picture of Grace.
Because we have been created anew in Christ Jesus, we have been imputed His righteousness and declared of the greatest value to God the Father.
2Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
Every person who places their faith in Christ Jesus as Savior has been created to follow His example and do good works. In fact, it is only in Christ that we can do “good” works--works that have eternal benefit. Any actions men perform on this earth that we classify as “good” I think is better classified as kind. It may bring temporary benefit to the flesh for the recipient, but has no eternal benefit unless it leads to salvation, restored fellowship with the Lord or encouragement and edification in the body of Christ. It has no eternal benefit to the “doer” unless done “as unto the Lord” and leads to heavenly reward.
“God hath before ordained” – Again, this goes back to God’s omniscience—an attribute I can define, but I can’t really comprehend. God knows everything there is to know and has always known it. I know that there have been many in Christendom who have denied that God could have known every choice we would make, reasoning that such knowledge would deny man’s ability to choose since what God “knows” is locked in, so to speak. I strongly disagree with that reasoning. In my thinking they are limiting God’s abilities—not man’s. They are reasoning with man’s logic and labeling God with the same limited reasoning ability. Not so. His ways and understanding are far beyond our capabilities to understand.
Is. 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Eph. 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Eph. 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Eph. 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
The church in Ephesus predominantly consisted of Gentile believers. The Jews, known as the Circumcision, would reference them as the “Uncircumcision.” Paul is clear to clarify that these labels were a reference to the cutting away of the flesh done by human hands. This circumcision of the flesh was a sign of the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob, the nation of Israel. Gentiles were not included in that covenant unless they chose to become proselytes and convert to Judaism. Having no relationship with God and no part in His covenant promises, the Gentile had no hope and no real God. Things were now different for the Gentile. Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ Jew and Gentile alike are invited to enjoy fellowship with God and take part in His promises through the New Covenant.
Matt. 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Eph. 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
“he” = Christ Jesus
The Greek for peace is a form of the primary verb that means “to join.” In other words, through Christ both Jew and Gentile are one in fellowship and relationship to God. There is no longer a separation or distinction between the two regarding access to a covenant relationship to God.
Eph. 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Eph. 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
In this verse Paul identifies the law and the commandments established by God for the Jews as the cause for hostility between Jew and Gentile. The Jew had been specifically chosen for special relationship to God. This distinction resulted in hostility since the “law and commandments,” (from God to Israel through Moses) were established to allow the Jew to maintain relationship with God and their fellowman, while the Gentiles lived according to the laws of men serving false gods. The willing sacrifice of Jesus on the cross reconciled both Jew and Gentile to God under a new covenant. He fulfilled the law on behalf of every person who will accept His gift of salvation. In Christ, the believer--Jew or Gentile--has been declared righteous and can no longer be judged guilty according to the law. In Christ we are one.
Rom. 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Rom. 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Gal. 3:26-28 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Eph. 2:17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
“you which were afar off” = Gentiles
“them that were nigh” = Jews
During Jesus’ ministry He preached the message of peace, the gospel, the good news. Though His ministry was directed to Israel, His message was meant for all people, and He instructed His disciples to get the message out to all nations.
Luke 7:22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
Luke 24:46-47 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
After His ascension, Jesus in essence preached through His disciples through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Eph. 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Again, Paul emphasizes that through Jesus all believers, both Jew and Gentile, have access to God the Father through the indwelling Holy Spirit. No longer was access to God’s presence limited to the temple in Jerusalem. No more was man separated from God’s presence by a huge curtain. No more was man limited to communicating with God through an earthly high priest. Christ is now serving as our Great High Priest in heaven and is ever interceding with the Father on our behalf.
Heb. 7:22, 24-25 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament…. But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
The indwelling Holy Spirit also intercedes for us to verbalize the prayers we can’t find the right words for and according to God’s will for us.
Rom. 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Eph. 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
In Christ, the Gentile is no longer a stranger and foreigner to the Jew regarding relationship to God. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile in God’s kingdom, God’s household.
Eph. 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Eph. 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Eph. 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Jesus is positioned as the chief corner stone upon which all the apostles and prophets built. Without Jesus there would be no “church” body of believers. The temple in Jerusalem was designated as God’s dwelling place on earth. After the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, God chose to dwell in the heart of every believer through His Holy Spirit. We can boldly approach the throne of grace at any time.
1Cor. 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Heb. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Being “fitly framed” is a reference to being “close-jointed” and “compactly organized.” It is because we are “in Jesus” that we are given the Spirit of God to indwell us and to gift and empower us to promote spiritual growth. It is God’s desire that we grow in holiness—pure, free from sin and consecrated to the worship of God. We are meant to function as a unified whole, not as independent operators giving no thought to others that make up that temple.