Saturday, February 13, 2010

The #Churches' #Wealth In #Christ> #Life And #Unity> #Ephesians 2 - 3

Theme: Christ's body, the church

1. Its wealth (1 - 3)
     G. Life (2:1-10)
     H. Unity (2:11 - 3:21)

Life (1-10):

Before we trusted Christ as Savior, we had only a fallen nature, were spiritually dead toward God, and were children of His wrath (1-3). This was evident because we walked in the disobedient ways of the Satanically energized and controlled world system (2; cf. 1 John 5:19), by indulging in the sinful things our fallen nature craved and thought about (3; cf. Romans 3:9-18). As spiritual corpses, we were unable to respond favorably to God.

God, however, even when we were dead in our sins, made us alive together with Christ, raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places (5-6). At the moment of salvation, God the Spirit (and Christ) indwells us (Eph. 1:13; cf. John 14:17-20; 17:21-23; Colossians 1:27), imparting the eternal life of Christ (John 3:15-16; 1 John 5:11-13, 20) and giving us a new, living, spiritual nature (John 3:3ff.; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).

Romans 6 says the Spirit of God places (baptizes) believers into Christ, so uniting them to His person and work, that they have spiritually and positionally died with Him to sin, and been raised with Him to newness of life (6:4). Since God raised Christ from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand (Eph. 1:20), and since believers are "in" Christ, Christians are (presently, spiritually and positionally) seated with Christ in heaven.

God's main goal in providing this life to the church, is to display an eternal trophy of His grace (7). (cf. 1:6, 12, 14; 2:7) . For Him to get all the glory for our salvation, we must be kept from boasting (8-9). This passage shows that, our salvation, and the good works we do once saved, all come by the grace of God, through faith, not our merits (8-10). 

Since we were spiritually dead when God made us alive in Christ, we were unable to respond favorably to God, so He gets all the credit for our saving faith in Christ. Because God is the one who created them beforehand, He also gets all credit for the good works we do after we're saved, as He works in us both to will and do of His pleasure (Philippians 2:13). There is no room for man to boast about any aspect salvation. Eternal glory belongs to God the gracious.

Unity (11-22)

Gentiles, as a whole, were formerly excluded from Israel as partakers of God's promise of salvation, and further separated from fellowship with Jews by the OT Law. All men are separated from God by sin (Romans 3). The bloody death of Christ, however effected a change which makes all believers one with each other (11-15) and God (16-22), through faith in Christ (cf. John 17:21-23).

Christ's death makes believers one with each other (11-15). In the OT, God made an unconditional covenant with Abraham, which included "blessing" (salvation through faith in Christ
[Genesis 12:3; 15:1ff.; cf. Galatians 3:8]). In Genesis 17, He gave circumcision as a sign that Abraham, by faith, was an heir of this promise (Genesis 15:6; cf. Romans 4:9-13).

Circumcision, then, became a sign that Jews were heirs of God's salvation, but uncircumcised Gentiles were excluded. The OT Law also separated Gentiles from fellowship with Jews. In Acts 10:9 - 11:18, for example, God had to show Peter he could now eat food the Gentiles ate, and enter their houses--something the OT Law prohibited (Leviticus 11:20-25; cf. Galatians 2:7; 3:13-14).

Christ was the "seed" of Abraham, through whom the promise of "blessing" would come to "all nations", (Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:16), and His death abolishes the curse of the OT Law (Galatians 3:13). The Spirit, by faith in Christ, circumcises all believer's hearts (Romans 2:29), and brings believing Gentiles into one body with Jews, as God's heirs and people--the church (Eph. 2:18-22; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 11; Galatians 3:14, 23-29). Christ's death makes believers one with each other.

Christ's death also makes believers one with God in Christ (Ephesians 2:16-22). The death of Christ paid the price (redemption) which satisfied God's righteous demands against the sin of man ("propitiation": Romans 3:23-26; 1 John 2:1). This change in man's condition enables God to be at peace (Romans 5:1-11) and one with those who trust Christ as Savior ("reconciliation": cf. 2 Cor. 5:14, 18-21).

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The Gospel


Have you heard Christ died for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead? Did you know God saves you from hell and gives you eternal life through faith in this finished work alone, not your merits (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)? This is so man cannot boast, and God alone gets the glory (Eph. 2:8-9).

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