Ephesians 2:1-9 is one of all-time favorite passages of scripture. It is a passage that reminds me of who I am apart from Christ and who I am because of Christ. It’s a great passage for both a reality check (when I’m feeling proud, arrogant, or that I can control this life on my own) as well as a reminder of God’s AMAZING love and grace.
The passage begins by describing who we were as sinners living in this sinful world.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (verses 1-3)
It says we were dead in our sins, and that we followed this world and the prince of this world (referring to Satan). It referred to us as sons of disobedience, saying that we were simply living out the passions of our flesh and desires of our body and mind, and were children of wrath.
The picture it paints of us is that we were slaves to our fleshly desires, dead in our sins. We see that we were children of wrath since our sins deserved to be punished. It is a picture of us that does not include any sort of hope, only sin and death and wrath.
That is who we were/are in our flesh. It’s not a depiction that is very flattering or that gives me any sort of pride.
Then the 2 greatest words in this passage show up…”But God“. These 2 words change everything. EVERYTHING! Because when God stepped in, everything changed.
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—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 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. (verses 4-9)
While the first 3 verses painted a bleak picture of us and our sins, these verses paint the opposite picture; it is a picture of hope, grace, love, and salvation. Instead of being dead in our sins, we have been made alive. Instead of being children of wrath and sons of disobedience, we have been saved by God’s grace.
We didn’t make any of these changes on our own, it was all a gift from God. And it all happened because God stepped in. When God stepped in, everything changed.
Think seriously about that truth…when God steps in, everything changes.
What do we try to hold onto in this life, seeking to have control of ourselves? What area’s of our life have we not fully given over to God? What aspects of our personality, lifestyle, thinking, and even way we claim we are living for God are we doing in our own fleshly strength and under our own control?
Re-read verses 1-3 again. Still want to be in control of things yourself? Still think you or I or anyone, apart from Christ, has any real control in this life? Still think we make good decisions on our own apart from God’s leading and guiding?
Perhaps it’s time to have a “But God” moment in your life. Maybe for the first time, or maybe again because you’ve gotten off track. We all get off track at times…that’s why we continually need God’s grace in our lives. There are times we need to stop, take a serious look at the mess we are creating in our life, and allow a “But God” moment to happen.
God’s grace is so amazing, that even when we were what verses 1-3 describe, God chose to love us and give us his love, salvation, and provide us hope. That is truly life-changing grace!
Have you allowed it to change your life?
This journey I’ve been on to better understand grace has been an incredible one…difficult, messy, frustrating at times, but also incredible, uplifting, and truly life-changing. Below are links to the other blogs I’ve written so far on this journey to understand grace.