Paul had just finished praying for the Ephesians that they might see all they truly had in Christ. Now in chapter 2, he lays it all out for them.
Just as a side note, I think it’s important to remember that whenever we share God’s word, whether it’s the gospel or anything else from the Bible, that should be our pattern. To pray first that God would open the eyes of those we talk to, and then lay it all out for them.
At any rate, we see here just how amazing the grace of God is. We were dead in our sins. There was no spiritual life in us at all. We were simply walking in the ways of Satan, in utter rebellion against God. We had no desire to please God. Rather, we just lived to please ourselves. And the thing is, we were born this way. Paul says,
Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. (3)
In other words, all of us were born with a heart that was in rebellion toward God and as a result, lived under God’s wrath.
Some people today, like the Jews of old, think that because they were raised hearing the Word of God and in a religious tradition, they are okay with God. But Paul says of the Jews, “We like the rest, were objects of wrath because of our rebellious hearts. Though we had the law, we couldn’t keep it.”
And the same is true of all those raised in church before Christ saves them. Yes, they have the Bible. Yes, they may be “better” than others. But because they can’t keep the law perfectly, they are still under God’s wrath. As Paul said in Romans 3,
There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:22-23)
But when God saw this, did he toss us aside. Did he just throw up his hands in despair and say, “It’s hopeless?”
No. Paul says,
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 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. (4-7)
We were dead. What can dead people do? Nothing. But God made us alive. He gave us a new heart that could respond to him, and when we turned to him in faith, he breathed new life into us, lifting us out of the dirt and grime of our sin, cleansing us from our sin, and making us whole like Adam and Eve had been when they were first created.
And the thing is, God could have stopped there and we would have marveled at his grace. But God did more. He has seated us with Christ and adopted us as his children. We will reign with him one day as his heirs. Why? For the simple reason that he wanted to show the riches of his grace to us and that we would glory in it.
Paul then concludes,
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. (8-9)
The wonder of God’s grace is that he saved us though we neither sought it nor deserved it. Our salvation totally comes from him. Our ability to believe in him itself comes from God. No one can boast that they deserved salvation. It is his gift to us from first to last.
And the wonder of his grace is that God didn’t stop at saving us, but he gave us gifts far beyond mere salvation from our sins. He made us his children. He made us his heirs.
May we all marvel and glory in that grace each day.