“The Christian’s deliverance” Ephesians 2:4-7.
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Having considered the lost estate in which we as sinners were born, Paul takes us on to consider the change God wrought and how it was God delivered us from such a dreadful condition. The picture Paul paints of the natural man’s spiritual state in verses 1-3 is a dark picture indeed! However, see how the next verse begins!
“But God.” He it is Who makes the difference!
The Christian has had a spiritual resurrection.
THE AUTHOR OF MAN’S SALVATION IS GOD.
Can we ever emphasise this truth sufficiently?
It is the chief of errors for man to believe that he is the author of his own redemption.
It is the chief of errors for it was the first manifestation of man’s sinfulness. “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD,” Genesis 4:3. This offering was in direct disobedience of what it was God required as an expression of faith in His mercy – A LAMB. The labour of man’s hand is considered by many sufficient to save their soul. It is a universal and utterly destructive error!.
This error is the greatest hindrance to conversion. As long as man feels that he controls this matter he will not heed God’s warnings and exhortations. Who will seek unto the doctor who believes himself fit and healthy!
This error is the last to be overcome in the sinner’s heart. This sin keeps the sinner hard and unbowed and defiant. It is built on pride! ‘I am good enough for heaven! It must be overcome before there is a bending of the knee before Christ and a recognising that “Salvation is of the Lord,” as Jonah cried out, Jonah 2:9.
This man must learn and believe before he can be saved.
SALVATION SPRINGS FROM GOD’S LOVE AND GRACE.
If it is not of man then it must be of God and that unmerited and undeserved.
1. Love is the foundation of God’s plan of salvation. Love is the spring of all that God undertook to do for His elect. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God,” John 3:16. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins,” 1 John 4:9-10. “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life,” Titus 3:4-7.
2. He graciously undertook the work of redemption. Out of His love sprang His free unmerited plan of deliverance. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) . . . For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:5, 8.
Please note the clear setting forth the truth that it was GOD, not man who wrought this work!
3. God’s salvation brings to the believing sinner the wonderful benefits of God’s mercy and grace. His benevolent action toward the sinner sprang from His love and grace. Note what it is the believing sinner enjoys as a result. “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in hiskindness toward us through Christ Jesus,” verses 6-7.
GOD’S SALVATION CAME TO US THROUGH CHRIST.
I must stress this for how many go, as it were, knocking at the wrong door looking for salvation! “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” verses 5-6. It is THROUGH CHRIST ALONE that we are saved! There is a story told us in 2 Kings 5:1-14, in which a Syrian General, Naaman, who suffered from leprosy is told that there was a man in Israel, Elisha the prophet, who could heal him from his disease. Naaman, like all men, made assumptions regarding the matter and didn’t heed the simple instructions given him. Consequently he turned up at the royal palace with a fortune in gold and silver to pay for his cure. Not until he heeded the instructions and went to Elisha and obeyed his instructions was he healed.
It is to Christ we must go for the saving of our soul, not the church or minister, the saints or any other. I repeat the words of Mary, recorded in John 2:5. “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” Peter said on one occasion, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life,” John 6:68.
There you have it listener! Salvation comes to us THROUGH the Lord Jesus ALONE! “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God,” 1 Peter 3:18. He purchased salvation for His people on the cross of Calvary.
Again I quote Peter: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.
Before we leave these words in Ephesians 2:1, please note that Paul speaks in the past tense. He says: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” The wonderful work of regeneration has taken place for them. They are presently ‘alive in Christ’! Their conversion was a past event. They were in Christ. Their sins were forgiven. THEY WERE SAVED!
Paul would have them know that this is what they have, where they are. The phrase “by grace ye are saved” means literally, “by grace ye have been saved.”
God’s grace is conveyed to us through Jesus Christ. You know nothing of God’s grace until you are united to Christ.
Every Christian has a real and vital union with Christ. We were joined to Christ in the covenant of grace before the worlds began but there came a time when experimentally, the Christian was brought into union with Christ and was made spiritually alive.
As the branch partakes of the life of the trunk, even so we are partakers of Christ’s life. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing,” John 15:5. We live off Christ. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me,” Galatians 2:20.
If you are not united to Christ the life then you are dead in your sins.
WHAT A GLORIOUS HONOUR IS THUS CONFERRED UPON THE CHRISTIAN!
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:6-7.
Not merely made alive but made to share in Christ’s glory. These are the eternal benefits and blessings of faith in Christ. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne,” Rev 3:21.
We are citizens of heaven. “For our conversation (or our citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20. Hannah, the mother of Samuel rejoiced in prayer and said: “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory,” 1 Samuel 2:8.
Hear John’s word on this matter. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is,” 1 John 3:2.
Dear listener, seek unto Christ for these blessings and be assured of them in time and eternity.