Made Alive in Christ

Door B B Koster gepubliceerd in Theologie

Part one

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:1-10)

 

The need for reconciliation

In chapter one the apostle Paul started with the topic of the blessings of redemption the Ephesian believers have obtained. Now he continues his letter with the words that remembers them of their dissolution (separation) in their trespasses (offences) and sins. Once they were spiritual dead and contact with God was impossible, they challenged His boundaries. (Verse 1)

"The most vital part of man's personality - the spirit - is dead to the most important factor in life - God." (Wood)

Trespasses speaks of man as a rebel, sins speaks of man as a failure. "Before God we are both rebels and failures." (Stott)

 

Notice that the apostle includes himself as well: “among them we too all formerly lived in the lust of our flesh, indulging (satisfying) the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. (Verse 3)

"The converts are to be reminded what they have been delivered from, as well as what they have been lifted into. They must be led to look down again into the pit, into the grave, from which grace called them out and set them free." (Moule)

We must take seriously the idea that the children of wrath rightly deserve God's wrath. They are not "victims" at all. Instead, they are just targets of God's justice. (Guzik)

The process of personal reconciliation to God

 

God's motive in reconciliation

But God (being rich in mercy), because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places (our citizenship is in heaven - Philippians 3:20) in Christ Jesus,

 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches (outperforming treasures) of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Verse 4-6) God is begging man to receive the free gift of grace of eternal life, so to say.

 

We must stop trying to make ourselves lovable to God, and simply receive His great love while recognizing that we are unworthy of it. This is the grace secret of the Christian life. (Guzik)

Made alive together with Christ: This is what God did to those dead in sin. He shared in our death that we could share in His resurrection life. The old man is crucified and we are new creations in Jesus with the old things passing away and all things becoming new. (Guzik)

"When all the saints shall be gathered home they shall still talk and speak of the wonders of Jehovah's love in Christ Jesus, and in the golden streets they shall stand up and tell what the Lord has done for them to listening crowds of angels, and principalities, and powers." (Spurgeon)

 

Every true believer was a poor beggar but now saved by grace through faith by the gift (salvation) of God. If man is saved by works he may boast but man isn’t! Under God's plan of salvation, God alone receives the glory. (Guzik) For we are His workmanship (work of art), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (good works). (Verse 8-10)  

Yet, even our faith is a gift of God. We cannot believe in Jesus unless God does a prior work in us, for we are blinded by our own deadness and by the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4). (Guzik)

This shows us the essential place of prayer in evangelism. Since God initiates salvation, we should begin our evangelism with asking God to do the initiating, and granting the ability to believe to those we want to see saved. (Guzik)

The meaning of grace is: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense God’s grace can overflow in our lives because Christ became our savior and substitute. That is the true meaning of the gospel!

"Our new life is as truly created out of nothing as were the first heavens, and the first earth. This ought to be particularly noticed, for there are some who think that the grace of God improves the old nature into the new. It does nothing of the sort." (Spurgeon)

"Works play no part at all in securing salvation. But afterwards Christians will prove their faith by their works. Here Paul shows himself at one with James."

 

Part two

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. and he came and preached peace to you who were far away,, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11-22)

The apostle is keen to point to the Ephesians from there descendance; formerly they were Gentiles in the flesh, separated from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Verse 11-13)

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups (Jews and Gentiles) into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing (dissolved, wiped out) in His flesh the enmity (hatred, animosity), which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances (rules), so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man,

"As Chrysostom explained, it is not that Christ has brought one up to the level of the other, but that he has produced a greater: 'as if one should melt down one statue of silver and another of lead, and the two together should come out gold.'" (Wood)

thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. and he came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access* in one Spirit to the Father. (Verse 14-18)

* Access is probably the best translation of prosagoge, though it could be 'introduction.' In oriental courts there was a prosagoges who brought a person into the presence of the king." (Foulkes)

Prosagoge: pros=toward and ago=bring, lead

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Verse 19-22)

 

Written by B.B. Koster © - Translated from Dutch by Google; corrected by author.
Used Bible translation: New American Standard Bible
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19/10/2017 12:59

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