Ephesians 2: A New Life In Christ
To understand our new identity, we’ve got to uncover our old identity. We’ve got to dig deeper into who we were, beyond our ancestry and family of origin, to see the ugly truth. Paul is going to show us an unfiltered picture of who we really are.
– Tony Merida
Before we can understand just how much God has done for us, we must understand where we have come from or better yet, where we were without Christ.
Chapter 2 of the book of Ephesians begins with four very strong words … “And you were dead…”. Every human being that is a son or daughter of Adam (which is pretty much everyone!) entered the world spiritually dead. We have no inclination toward God and no ability to please Him (Romans 8:8). As Merida puts it, “Apart from Christ, we are spiritually dead”.
We all know the first line of Amazing Grace: “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me”. That is who we are – dead wretches!
Just as verse 1 starts with four strong words, verse 4 starts with two of the sweetest words found in the bible – BUT GOD!
Just when things look the most desolate, Paul utters the greatest short phrase in the history of human speech: “But God!” – ESV Study Notes
Ephesians 2:4-5: But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.
It is said that grace is “God’s unmerited favor to us”! Praise the Lord for His grace! This “grace” has been given to each of us who have transgressed His law and have sinned against Him. Again, this is everyone!
Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Tony Merida goes on in his teaching of Ephesians to say:
Works matter to the Christian, but we’re not working for salvation; we’re working from salvation. The words for and from are subtle but incredibly important.
It is vital to understand that what God has to offer us is a gift and not a prize! A gift is something that we are given – no strings attached; no “if you do this, then I’ll do that”. Whereas a prize is something that can be obtained or worked for. A prize is given to those people who have accomplished a set of guidelines or list of things to do. If we could do something to work for our salvation then the gospel would be in vain.
Merida points out that the difference in Christianity and a lot of other so-called religions is that their’s is a “do” religion whereas Christianity is a “done” religion. Jesus has done everything for us and it is only through Him. He went to the cross. He shed His blood for me. He died for the sin of mankind. When Jesus uttered the words “It Is Finished” on the cross of Calvary, there was nothing else that needed to be done.
Remember in Ephesians: Your Identity In Christ – Part 1 where we talked about the phrase “In Him”. This is the only place that salvation can be found. Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ”. John tells us in John 14: 6 that Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.
Because Jesus has become our substitute, we now have life in Him. Ephesians should compel us to hope and to understand that no one is beyond the reach of God’s amazing grace. – Tony Merida
Let me leave you with these thoughts on our new identity in Christ. Tony refers to these as the “formerly … but now” expressions:
- We were dead in sin, but now we “are alive together with Christ” (2:4)
- We were separated from Christ, but now in Christ Jesus, we ” have been brought near by the blood” (2:13)
- We were foreigners, “but now we are fellow citizens” (2:19)
Who are you in Christ? You are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works!
My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, my God my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns, unending love – Amazing Grace!