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.
(Ephesians 2:6-10 NIV)
The Apostle Paul told the Ephesians (and us) yesterday that we were spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins, and Christ raised us spiritually from the dead through His death on the cross, taking on our sins and replacing them with His righteousness. Thank You, Jesus!
As a quick review, yesterday we saw that Christ freed us from sin, by love, into life.
Today, we move on and see three more pieces of the story.
Verse 6 is so amazing – Paul reminds us as Christ followers that what Christ did in the past (dying on the cross for us) gives us (in the future) a place in heaven. For those who have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives, we have a place reserved for us in heaven – with our name on the door! Not an impersonal hotel room with a keycard access, but a place with our name painted on the door, held just for us. In his letter to the Philippian church, Paul reminded them (and us) that our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth (Philippians 3:20).
Paul then tells us why Christ does all this – His purpose. We have seen that Christ freed us from sin, by love, into life, with a purpose. Verse 7 gives us that purpose – that Christ may show His grace and kindness to us. In other words, He does this because He loves us!
Next, Paul tells us that faith is the key. We see that Christ freed us from sin, by love, into life, with purpose, and now, we add “by faith”. Verse 8 tells us that God’s grace is what saves us – not anything that we might do, but only our faith in Christ.
We cannot earn God’s favor or our way into heaven – it is only by Christ’s actions that we are allowed into heaven. Paul reminds us that our citizenship in heaven is a gift from God, not something that we can earn or demand from our own merits. Otherwise, if it were something we could earn or demand, we could brag about how we worked our way into heaven, and we would have no need for God. Life would be all about us.
But we know that God is holy and righteous, and we are so… not either of those. But yet, God, in His love for us, made a way through Christ to give us His holiness and righteousness as a gift.
And why would He do that? First, because He loves us, and secondly, He wants us to share the Good News of Christ with others who have not heard.
Verse 10 is our final piece of the story – the capstone of His work in and through us. And what is that? To do good works. Paul says God has a purpose for our lives – to do good for others. This is not to earn our salvation, but rather, to step into the purpose God has for us on this earth – to love God first, and to love others second (Matthew 22:34-40).
In summary, in Ephesians 2:1-10, we see that Christ freed us:
- from sin,
- by love,
- into life,
- with purpose,
- by faith,
- for good works.
This section of Scripture, especially verses 8-10, has long been one of my favorite of Paul’s writings, as it clearly and succinctly tells me of God’s love, my sin, His salvation, my redemption, and His purpose for my life.
May we, as Christ’s followers, saved by His grace, through faith, step into His calling and purpose for our lives, to live for His glory, so that others might come to Him as well.