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Ephesians Part VIII

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"THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS"
Salvation By Grace Through Faith (2:4-10)
INTRODUCTION
1. In the previous lesson we saw our true condition outside of Christ:
a. Dead in trespasses and sins -
b. Walking with world and the devil -
c. Fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind -
-- Truly we were "sons of disobedience" and "children of wrath"!
2. At the close of the previous lesson, I asked, "How can such 'sons of
disobedience' and 'children of wrath' ever become..."
a. "Holy and without blame"?
b. "Receive the adoption as sons"?
c. "Accepted" by God?
3. In the text for this study () we find our answer, where we
learn that "salvation by grace through faith" involves many elements
besides just grace and faith
[To begin with, "Salvation By Grace Through Faith"...]
I. INVOLVES THE "GREAT LOVE" OF GOD (4)
A. THIS IS THE BEGINNING POINT OF SALVATION...
1. From this, all else flows
2. What mercy, grace, etc., that God shows mankind is founded upon
the fact that God has a great love for us - cf.
B. THIS LOVE IS NOT BECAUSE OF WHO WE ARE, BUT WHO GOD IS...
1. God did not love us because we were lovable, but because God is
loving!
2. As John wrote in an effort to inspire his brethren to love one
another, God is love, and that moved Him to offer His Son -
cf.
[Starting then with the love of God, "Salvation By Grace Through Faith"
also...]
II. INVOLVES THE "RICH MERCY" OF GOD (4)
A. DEFINING MERCY...
1. The word "eleos" is defined by Vine's Expository Dictionary as
"the outward manifestation of pity"
2. Mercy, then, is compassion that one has for those in trouble
B. GOD'S "GREAT LOVE" MAKES HIM "RICH IN MERCY"...
1. His great love for sinners enables God to be filled with
compassion toward them
2. The riches of His mercy seek to reach out to all who will
accept it - cf. ;
[Unfortunately, not all receive His great mercy. But for those who do,
they soon learn that "Salvation By Grace Through Faith" also...]
III. INVOLVES BEING "MADE ALIVE TOGETHER" WITH CHRIST (5)
A. HERE IS WHERE "GRACE" REALLY ENTERS IN...
1. For notice that Paul says "WHEN we were dead...(God) made us
alive"
2. While STILL "dead in trespasses" God has somehow made us alive
together with Christ!
3. Though not fully explained in this passage how (and when) this
happened, it occurred because of God's "unmerited favor" (the
definition of "grace")
B. HOW (AND WHEN) WE WERE "MADE ALIVE TOGETHER WITH CHRIST" IS
EXPLAINED ELSEWHERE...
1. Especially in
2. Where we learn that it is in baptism...
a. We are buried with Christ and then raised with Him - :
12; cf.
b. We, who were "dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision
of your flesh", were thus "made alive together with Him
(Christ)" -
c. Our trespasses were all forgiven - ; cf. ;
22:16
[So while our text in Ephesians doesn't actually refer to baptism
itself, it describes that which occurs when one is baptized into Christ:
by the grace of God we are being "made alive together with Christ"!
But there is more, for as we continue to read our text we learn that
"Salvation By Grace Through Faith"...]
IV. INVOLVES BEING "RAISED UP TOGETHER" WITH CHRIST (6-7)
A. WE SAW IN ...
1. Where Christ was raised from the dead
2. And then was seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly
places
B. NOW WE LEARN FROM ...
1. That we too are raised up and made to sit together with Christ
in the heavenly places!
a. This speaks of our present condition in the "spiritual
realm" (heavenly places)
b. Because of our union with Christ, we enjoy an exalted
position together with Him
c. Which union serves as the basis for our wonderful spiritual
blessings - cf.
2. But our present condition, and the blessings it entails, are
only the beginning!
a. There is more "in the ages to come"
b. There are "exceeding riches of His grace in kindness" yet to
be shown in Christ Jesus!
[How wonderful, then, is this salvation by grace! Not only does it
pertain to "this age", but looks forward to the "ages to come"!
As we continue, we find Paul making sure we understand the basis of this
wonderful salvation, and that it...]
V. INVOLVES "FAITH", AND NOT MERITORIOUS WORKS (8-9)
A. SALVATION IS FIRST AND FOREMOST, BY "GRACE"...
1. Up to this point, Paul has said nothing about man's part in the
process of salvation
a. It was GOD'S mercy, love, and grace which made salvation
possible
b. It was GOD's working that "made us alive...raised us up...
made us sit together with Christ"
2. Truly, salvation is...
a. "not of yourselves; it is the gift of God"
1) Some understand this phrase to refer to "faith"
2) But I understand Paul to be referring to salvation
b. "not of works, lest anyone should boast"
1) We are not saved by works of merit, whereby we earn
salvation
2) But as Paul told Titus "according to His mercy He saved
us..." -
B. NEVERTHELESS, SALVATION IS BY GRACE "THROUGH FAITH"...
1. "Faith", together with the "working of God", is how we were
"raised with Christ" in baptism - cf.
2. In other words, it is an obedient faith that receives the
salvation in Christ - cf.
3. So when a person in faith is being baptized...
a. They are not "earning" their salvation
b. Rather, they are "receiving" their salvation which is by
God's grace and God's working, for in baptism they are
receiving Jesus Christ and all He accomplished by His death
and resurrection! - cf.
[Finally, we note that while "Salvation By Grace Through Faith" does
not include meritorious works whereby we try to earn our salvation,
it...]
VI. INVOLVES BEING "CREATED...FOR GOOD WORKS" (10)
A. IN CHRIST, WE ARE "HIS WORKMANSHIP"...
1. As Paul intimated in his discussion of baptism in ("the
working of God")
2. Through God's "working" in which He...
a. "made us alive"
b. "raised us up"
c. "made us sit together in the heavenly places"
...we have truly become "a new creation"! - cf.
B. THE GOAL OF THIS "WORKMANSHIP": CREATED FOR GOOD WORKS...
1. Though not saved by good works, we are to do good works!
2. God "prepared beforehand that we should walk in them"
a. It is part of His predetermined plan
b. Not just to save, but to create a people diligent in good
works! - cf.
3. Therefore, the people of God should...
a. "be ready for every good work" -
b. "be careful to maintain good works" -
c. "learn to maintain good works" -
CONCLUSION
1. So it is "by grace through faith" that...
a. "Children of wrath" can become "children of God"!
b. "Sons of disobedience" can "receive the adoption as sons" of God!
c. We can be "accepted" by God!
2. Because "Salvation By Grace Through Faith" involves:
a. God's great love
b. God's rich mercy
c. God making us alive together with Christ
d. God raising us up together with Christ to sit with Him in the
heavenly places
e. An obedient faith that trusts in God's workmanship, not one's own
works
f. A new creature that is diligent in doing good works to the glory
of God
How can one receive this wonderful salvation? Let Jesus and His
apostles show you the way, for it is when we in faith submit to the
Lord's command to be baptized that we enjoy the blessings of God's love,
mercy, and workmanship... - ; ;
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