November 9, 2012 – Devotion Sharing (Ephesians 2)

Submitted by Chris C. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church 

Ephesians 2:4-6

  • Out of his rich mercy, God did something for sinful man while we were dead in our trespasses.  What is it specifically that he did according to vv. 5-6?  

According to vv. 5-6, God did the following:

o    Made us alive together with Christ

o    Raised us up with him

o    Seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus

  • What is the significance that these things are described in the past tense, as something that has already happened?  In what ways am I already “made alive with Christ”, “raised up with him”, and “seated … with him in the heavenly places”?

The significance that God’s actions in vv. 5-6 are described in the past tense is that they reveal that God Himself saved me before I could do anything regarding my sinful state.  While as a sinner, I was made alive, raised up, and seated with him because of God’s actions.  This highlights the fact that God is the one who initiated reconciliation.  He saved me by His grace and out of the richness of His mercy and great love.  I am not saved by my actions and good deeds.  I have not merited or earned what God gives me. I am saved as an act of God’s grace – something already done and completed.  God is the One who saw me in my sinful state, loved me despite that, and took the initiative to act.  Salvation is not something that I could have attained by my own doing.

I have already been “made alive with Christ” and “raised up with him” in that as a Christian I am united with Christ in his death and resurrection (according to Romans 6).  Once I was spiritually dead because of my sin and condemned to life apart from God.  In such a spiritually dead state, I did not want to please God nor was I able to please God.  I was doomed to an eternity separated from God.  But in Christ, I am “made alive”, “raised up”, or born again.  Although I was once spiritually dead, God gives me a new restored spiritual life.  Because Christ died on the cross and paid the penalty for my sins, I no longer owe that debt.  Now that I am “made alive with Christ”, I am restored in fellowship with God and am free to relate with Him without fear of condemnation hanging over my head.  I am a new creation freed from the bondage of sin and enslavement to my own sinful passions and desires.  I am made alive with Christ and am free to live my life for God, living as He intended.

I have already been “seated … with him in the heavenly places” in that God unites me with the exalted Christ, who has been given honor, authority, and glory at God’s right hand.  Because Christ is seated at God’s right hand and I am united with Christ, I am confident that I have a place, an inheritance in God’s kingdom.  I have been given citizenship in His kingdom.  I have hope, or confident assurance, of where I am headed – where my final destination lies.  I am not yet there in the heavenly places, but I have a sense of security that Christ has already went ahead and prepared a place for me.

Ephesians 2:8-10 

  • How is salvation truly a “gift of God?”

Salvation is truly a “gift of God” because God saved me by His own initiative, not based on my good deeds or works.  I did not earn salvation.  There is no way that I could work towards my salvation.  God gave it to me by His grace.  And I simply receive it by faith in Jesus Christ.  Like a gift, salvation is free.  I cannot purchase it nor are there any prerequisites in receiving it.  The gift of salvation reveals to me God’s enormous generosity, and His great love and concern for me.  God’s salvation, which is available to all sinners who would receive it, indicates that God is rich in His mercy.  Though He has every right to exercise righteous judgment on me because of my sins, He decided instead to issue a gift, or pardon, purchased by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross.  Because salvation is a “gift of God”, I no longer feel the pressure of the impossible task of earning God’s favor.

  • What implication does v. 10 have on my self-image and life purpose? 

Verse 10 indicates that I am God’s workmanship and that I am created for good works, which God has prepared.  This implies that my self-image as a Christian should not be based on my appearance or what I can do – my talents, accomplishments, intelligence, etc. Before I became Christian, my self-image was entirely based on what I could do.  I would feel inflated or deflated based on how I could perform relative to others.  This verse tells me that I am created by God and not only that but I am also a new creation in Christ Jesus and redeemed from spiritual death.  My sense of worth comes from the fact that God saved me out of His great love for me.  My identity then, is not to live life as I see fit, but to live life as God’s workmanship.  He gives me this identity and a purpose in life–to do good works that He prepared beforehand.  As the passage makes clear, I do not do good works in order to earn salvation, but I do good works as a result and consequence of being God’s workmanship.  When I was spiritually dead, I lived for myself–to satisfy my own selfish desires.  But as God’s new creation, I live for God – to do the work that He prepared for me to do.  And the good work that He prepared for me is to love the people that He has placed in my life.  And the most loving thing that I can do for them is to tell them of God’s great love for them and the salvation that He offers by grace.

Personal Prayer 

Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your rich mercy, Your kindness, and Your great love for me demonstrated by the fact that You saved me even while I was dead in my sin.  The just response to my life of sin is spiritual death and condemnation.  But You showed me immeasurable grace and mercy through Jesus Christ.  Thank You for saving me and providing this free gift that I could not earn nor pay back.  As I now live as Your workmanship, please use me to do Your good work and bless others with the good news of the Gospel.  I give You my life and ask that You work in me and through me daily.

Submitted by Tommy C. from Gracepoint San Diego Church

Ephesians 2:4-6

·       Out of his rich mercy, God did something for sinful man while we were dead in our trespasses.  What is it specifically that he did according to vv. 5-6?

According to verses 5-6, God, out of his rich mercy, made us alive and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus.

·       What is the significance that these things are described in the past tense, as something that has already happened?  In what ways am I already “made alive with Christ”, “raised up with him”, and “seated … with him in the heavenly places”?

This means that these things are historical. They are things accomplished and done for us when Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead 2000 years ago, to which we can look back upon again and again for proof and assurance of God’s character and His love for us. Therefore, our greatest problem–sin and death (v5)–has been personally addressed and taken care of. It is a done deal. We do not need to live in fear or anxiety regarding what is going to happen in the future nor do we need to worry about our eternal destiny when we do fail and fall again to our trespasses. The cross of Christ stands as proof of God’s unchanging love and the salvation that He achieved by His mercy and grace.

I’ve been made “alive with Christ” the moment I declared Christ to be made personal Lord and Savior, committing my life and eternal destiny into his hands. For much of my life, I lived my life in much of a zombie-like state. I simply followed two things–my own fleshly desires and whatever else it took to gain other people’s approval. I followed these things blindly without regard for people around me and at the expense of hollowing out my heart. For someone who was once dead in my transgressions, someone who was numb to my sins, unfeeling, and enslaved to the media and other people’s approval, I indeed did experience made alive, made anew in my life when I decided to follow Christ. God restored true life, freeing me from the enslaving and deadening nature of my old sins. He raised me up with Christ and elevated my life in ways that once seemed so far-fetched. I’ve been set free, so that my life may be spent being a blessing for those hungry for the gospel. I could never have imagined my life outside of the rounded confines of my little bubble, but because He’s raised me up to this new life in Christ, I am now freed to be able to live this elevated and privileged life of serving the one true God. In seating me with him in the heavenly places, God has given me new eyes to look upon this world. God has given me a glimpse of how He sees the world from the heavenly places. Now that my eternal destiny is secured in heaven, I see my time here in the world as time to bring as many as possible with me to the “heavenly places”. I look upon people differently–they’re no longer people to compete against, or people to merely gain the approval of, but rather, they’re people precious to God in need of love and the gospel. This applies to my family, my coworkers at work, the students on the UCSD campus, and even a lot of my old friends. It does not cease to amaze that from this one historical event, the personal ramifications are so deep as to completely alter my life and eternal destiny.

Ephesians 2:8-10 

·       How is salvation truly a “gift of God?”

Salvation is truly a “gift of God” in that it has utterly nothing to do with our own efforts. God, who has seen the predicament of man in his complete brokenness and wretchedness, took it upon Himself to rescue us and usher forth salvation by paying the cost for sin–something no man can ever do. As verse 9 states, salvation is not a result of works. Even with all the accolades, accomplishments, achievements of man, the reality is that none of that can ever adequately cover for the guilt and marring effects of sin upon our souls.  Salvation is therefore only available as something we receive as a gift from God.

·       What implication does v. 10 have on my self-image and life purpose? 

The implication of verse 10 is that I’m not just an “accidental collocation of molecules”.  I am God’s workmanship, created with a clear purpose to which I am called to live towards fulfilling. This is actually very good news, because before coming to Christ, I’d actually feel pretty depressed by the thought that my life was purposeless and without meaning. I’d hate the thought of death, and it’d scare me to no end, because the logical conclusion was that if I was accidental and in a short span of 80 some years I was just going to be re-assimilated to dust, then whatever meaning I sought to create for myself was merely an illusion. However, here in Scripture, it plainly states that no, that is not the case; rather God knew me before He formed me in the womb and I’ve been set apart for His work. There is security that my life ultimately counts for something; when I choose to obey and engage in struggle to better fulfill the “good work”, God is pleased. Indeed this has been the case in my life. There’s a feeling of rightness when I find myself lost in God’s work, witnessing His hand powerfully at work. As I continue to labor and invest my life into ministry, especially here at our church here in San Diego, there is a sense of a firming up in my trust of God’s leading and that He had prepared this good work in my own life and on the college campus ahead of time. As I am ministering to yet another group of freshmen this year, no matter how difficult or how tired I might feel, I think about what’d the alternative be and how foolish it’d be refuse to obey. To deviate and call my own shots would be to return to a life of chaff-likeness devoid of purpose. As I try to walk in obedience, my life has actually grown to become fuller and fuller. I’ve come to know myself more fully, and be able to grow in relationship with others through obedience to God’s work. Moreover, I serve knowing that however God chooses to use my labor, that it is not in vain when I obey. I thank God that I can live with this kind of anchor and confidence in my life.

Submitted by Jesse C. from Gracepoint San Diego Church

Ephesians 2:4-6

  • Out of his rich mercy, God did something for sinful man while we were dead in our trespasses.  What is it specifically that he did according to vv. 5-6?

Specifically in v.5, God “made us alive together with Christ,” and in v.6 “raised up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places.”

  • What is the significance that these things are described in the past tense, as something that has already happened?  In what ways am I already “made alive with Christ”, “raised up with him”, and “seated … with him in the heavenly places”?

The significance that these things are described in the past tense is the fact that it is already done for me and that there is nothing I can do to work towards it expecting that to somehow happen again.  It is not something I can look forward to and hope for it wondering if I can be changed from a person of death to a person of life.  It is a gift already done to me and is available for me.  I have the assurance that Christ Jesus saved a sinner like me “who was dead in my transgression” to become alive and have eternal life to look forward to.  It was, as Apostle Paul says, “Out his rich mercy” and “by grace you have been saved.”  This tells me that I can only accept it and be thankful for God’s love towards us.  What is done is done and I can either choose or reject what took place already.

The ways I am already “made alive with Christ” is when I made my decision to accept Christ into my life as my Lord and savior.  Before I was Christian, I did not have a relationship with God and thus, I was cut off from the source of life.  But now that I have a relationship with Jesus, I can have life now and be “made alive” because Christ enables me to live again and be made new as it says in 2 Cor. 5:17.  I am “raised up with him” and “seated…with him in the heavenly places” through the resurrection of Jesus Christ because I know that God raised Jesus from the grave and that he promises those who believe in him shall have eternal life i.e. John 3:16.  I have the assurance of eternal life and being in God’s presence forever.  And by having a relationship with Jesus, I don’t have to listen to what the world or others say about what “being alive” means.  The world says that I need to live it up and experience thrills and adventures that make me feel alive.  I know that I don’t need to because I already have and know that Jesus is the way the truth and the life and I’m thankful for what God has done already for me.

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