All of Scripture is precious to the believer; it is the very Word of God. As it happens, at different times there will be specific passages that stand out to us, or that the Spirit uses to convict, encourage, exhort or teach us. Then there are portions of the Word that we especially cherish. Passages that cause praise, awe and gratitude to well up in our hearts, overflowing in worship and rejoicing to our Lord. For me, that passage is Ephesians 2:1-10. Let’s take a look at the passage:
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 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.3 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. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (NASB)
That is one of the most glorious conjunctions of all time. But God… I cannot help but rejoice when I hear or read those words! What grace!
Dr. James Montgomery Boice, in his book Come to the Waters: Daily Bible Devotions for Spiritual Refreshment comments on this portion of the second chapter of Ephesians: The words “But God” show what God has done. If you understand those two words—“But God”–they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely. (p. 312)
Christian, we were dead in our trespasses and sins, but God in His mercy made us alive together with Christ! There is no better or greater truth than this!
In his commentary on Ephesians Dr. John MacArthur gives an illustration to help us understand this miraculous passage. He paints for us a picture of a man who runs over and kills a child with his car. The man is arrested, tried, and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He serves his time in prison, and when that is finished, he is free and guiltless before the law. However, it would do nothing to restore the life of the child or relieve the grief of the parents. “The only way a relationship between the parents and the man who killed their child could be established or restored would be for the parents to offer forgiveness. No matter how much the man might want to do so, he could not produce reconciliation from his side. Only the one offended can offer forgiveness, and only forgiveness can bring reconciliation.” (p. 58, emphasis my own)
Dr. MacArthur again: “The two words but God show where the initiative was in providing the power of salvation.” (p. 58)
God is the one who has been offended and wronged by our sin. And God is the only one who can provide forgiveness of those sins! Christian, contemplate how awesome and worthy of worship God is! He was wronged, and He was the one who paid the price of that wrong doing so that we, the offenders, could be free, forgiven, and restored.
In the words of Charles H. Gabriel in his hymn My Savior’s Love:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Sermon’s on this passage (click to go to link):