But God: the great conjunctive leap!

Last week we studied Ephesians 2:1-3 and addressed the issue, “How dead were we?”

Brief review:

  1. Our hopeless condition (and its causes) – we “were dead in trespasses and sins” (2:1)
  2. Our sinful behavior – we “once walked according to the course of this world” (2:2)
  3. Our demonic prince – we were energized by “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (2:2)
  4. Our selfish lifestyle – “we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind” (2:3)
  5. Our nature and destiny – we were “sons of disobedience” who as “children of wrath” deserved the judgment of a Holy God (2:2,3)
  6. Our crowd – “just as the others” (2:3)

Verse 4 (oh the glory of this!) begins “But God

Linguistically the Englism word “but” is a conjunction (it’s a conjunction in the Greek as well (“ο δε θεος”)!). In grammar, a conjunction is a part of speech that connects two words, phrases, or clauses together. Verse 4 is the great conjunctive leap in this sentence. We were dead! “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (verbs underlined)

These two words – but God – represent a contrast. When we were dead, when we were absolutely hopeless, then God did something. This is what the apostle wants us to see. God took action. God broke through. Ray Stedman, commenting on this section, wrote:

If we had a corpse here tonight, and it had been dead for four or five days, and if we had known this person in life, but we knew now that he was utterly dead, that he had lost all ability to think, to react, to communicate, to move, or to live in any sense whatsoever, and if we had the power to lay hands on him so that he came to life again here and now — this would be heralded all over town within hours, wouldn’t it? We would be astonished at what a miracle had happened. And yet that is exactly what the apostle says occurs in the inner life of man when he passes from death to life, when he believes in Jesus Christ. That same dramatic, completely contrasting condition occurs within us. We are no longer dead when we believe. We are alive in Jesus Christ. A life has been imparted to us.

John Wesley’s comment on vs 4: “Mercy removes misery: love confers salvation.”

This Wednesday, we will conclude our study of Ephesians 2:1-10. Hope to see you then!

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