Coming Alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-10)

Tonight’s study will be from Ephesians 2:4-10.

John MacArthur provides this helpful outline:

  1. Salvation is from sin (2:5, “even when we were dead in trespasses”)
  2. Salvation is by love (2:4, “because of His great love with which He loved us”)
  3. Salvation is into life (2:5, “made us alive together with Christ”)
  4. Salvation is with a purpose (2:7, “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus”)
  5. Salvation is through faith (2:8,9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”)
  6. Salvation is unto good works (2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”)

I find the following to be be interesting & challenging about the text:

  1. The stark contrast between vs 2:1-3 and 2:4-10: (the giant conjunctive leap!). We were dead … God made us alive!
  2. The wrap of “but God … so that no one may boast”. All glory to God alone! No glory for Jim!
  3. The text conveys both the human element and the divine element of salvation: “by grace … through faith” (The why of salvation = “grace”; the how of salvation = “faith”)
  4. As simple as 2:8-9 is … it is also very complex: what is the gift of God? Is it salvation? Faith? Both? (See helpful John MacArthur quote below).
  5. The verbs: “made us alive together with Christ … and “raised us up with him and “seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”
  6. The emphasis upon the mercy & love of God
  7. The foreordained walk of the Christian. Even the good things / works I do were foreordained by the Almighty!

John MacArthur on “Salvation is through faith”:

Our response in salvation is faith, but even that is not of ourselves [but is] the gift of God. Faith is nothing that we do in our own power or by our own resources. In the first place we do not have adequate power or resources. More than that, God would not want us to rely on them even if we had them. Otherwise salvation would be in part by our own works, and we would have some ground to boast in ourselves. Paul intends to emphasize that even faith is not from us apart from God’s giving it.

Some have objected to this interpretation, saying that faith (pistis) is feminine, while that (toutu) is neuter. That poses no problem, however, as long as it is understood that that does not refer precisely to the noun faith but to the act of believing. Further, this interpretation makes the best sense of the text, since if that refers to by grace you have been saved through faith (that is, to the whole statement) the adding of and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God would be redundant, because grace is defined as an unearned gift of God. If salvation is of grace, it has to be an undeserved gift of God. Faith is presented as a gift of God in 2 Peter 1:1, Philippians 1:29, and Acts 3:16.

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