Ephesians 2



                        SPIRITUAL HISTORY OF THE EPHESIANS – (vs. 1-10)


This passage corresponds to Genesis 1. It is a history of creation, and we note the same

great stages.


  • Chaos  or Original State (vs. 1-3).


ü      It is a state of death, implying previous life, but present insensibility and

                        helplessness. The element of death is “trespasses and sins “ — their

                        killing power.


ü       Yet a state of unholy activity,


Ø      in respect of the objects pursued — “the course of this world;”

Ø      the authority obeyed — “prince of the power of the air;”

Ø      the companions accepted — “the sons of disobedience.”


ü      A state of unholy indulgence; seeking the fulfillment


Ø      of the lusts of the flesh, the lowest part of our nature;

Ø      the lusts of the mind, a little higher, but still most unworthy to

                                    be the chief aim.


ü      A state of condemnation; “by nature,” by our very constitution, we are

                        children of wrath. And this true of all.



  • The Dawn the Spirit of God moving on the face of the waters (v.4; Genesis 1:2). 

      “But.” Force of contrast. “The darkest hour precedes the dawn.”


ü      Gods work. God says, “Let there be light, and there is light.”  (Genesis 1:3)


Ø      The source of light and order — God, not man.

Ø      The attributes giving birth to the new creation:


o       God’s mercy;

o       God’s love.

o       The fullness and intensity of these attributes: He is “rich” in

      mercy and His love is “great.”

o       Our condition when visited by mercy and love: “even when

      dead in sins.”


ü      Results of Gods interposition.


Ø      “He hath quickened us with Christ.”

Ø      “Raised us up together.”

Ø      Seated us with Christ in heavenly places.


ü      Purpose of God in this process — to “show the exceeding riches of his




  • The Work of Creation (The New Creation – Salvation by Grace) — in successive

      stages (vs. 4-10).


ü      The Great Change. “Ye are saved.”


ü      How Effected.


Ø      On the part of God, salvation is “by grace.”

Ø      On the part of man, salvation is “through faith.” God offers it,

                                    and faith receives it, as a free gift.


ü      Relation of Salvation to Works.


Ø      Works do not procure salvation; for then boasting would come in.

Ø      Works are the product of God working in us; “We are his


Ø      Works are the result of a Divine foreordination.

Ø      We are not only to do good works, but walk (habitually) in



ü      Grandeur of this Work. Creation was grand; new creation is grander. To

                        bring a world out of nothing was great; to restore a world from chaos is

                        greater. At the first creation, God saw all that He had made, and it was

                        good. At the new creation, He experiences even a deeper emotion of joy.


ü      Imperfection of the New Creation in this Life in Human Souls. Let us

      seek that in us it may become continually more complete and more glorious.

      It is not that we are called to work, but rather to allow God to work — to

                        have all within us open and unobstructed for the full and free exercise of

                        God’s almighty renewing power.



1 – “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”  The

apostle returns from his digression, (ch. 1:19-23) in which he had shown the marvelous

working of the Divine power on Christ, to show the working of the same power on the

Ephesian converts themselves. The ὑμἀς humas -  you - is not governed by any

verb going before; it manifestly depends on the συνεζωοποίησεν - sunezoopoiaesen

hath quickened; He makes together live - of v. 5, but it is separated from it by a new

digression (vs. 2-3), on which the apostle immediately starts. While the same quickening

power of God was exerted on Christ and on the Ephesians, it was exerted to very

different effects: in the case of Christ,  raising Him literally from the dead and exalting

Him to heavenly glory; in the case of the Ephesians, raising them from spiritual death

and exalting them to high spiritual  privileges. We may observe the change from the

second to the first person, and vice versa, in this chapter as in ch. 1. Second person

(vs. 1, 8, 11); first (vs. 3, 10, 14); and the two streams brought together (v. 18). The

chapter closes beautifully with an emblem of the Church as the one temple of which

all believers are parts. The death ascribed to the Ephesians in their natural state is

evidently spiritual death, and “trespasses and sins,” being in the dative (νεκροὺς τοῖς

παραπτώμασι καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαιςnekrous tois paraptomasi kai tais hamartiaisdead

to the offenses and the sins), seems to indicate the cause of death — “dead through

your trespasses and your sins” (Revised Version); “dead of your trespasses,” etc.,

is suggested by Alford. It is not easy to assign a different meaning to the two nouns

here; some suggest acts of transgression for the one, and sinful tendencies or

principles for the other, but this distinction cannot be carried out in all other passages.

The KILLING EFFECT of SIN is indicated. As sins of sensuality kill truthfulness,

industry, integrity, and all virtue, so sin generally, affecting as it does our

whole nature, kills, or does not suffer to live, the affections and movements of the

spiritual life. A state of “death” implies previous life — the race lived before; it

implies also a state of insensibility, of utter powerlessness and helplessness.




                                                Spiritual Death (v. 1)


In this verse the apostle sets forth the greatness of Divine power in man’s salvation by

setting forth the greatness of his sin and misery, represented under the aspect of spiritual

death. Let us understand the nature of this death.


  • MARK THE EXPRESSIVENESS OF THE TERM. It is strange to find it

      applied to living men. But there are certain suggestive points of similarity

      between natural and spiritual death.


ü      The dead have all the organs of sense, but no sensibility. As the

                        psalmist said of the idols of the heathen, so are the dead: “Eyes have they,

                        but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not” (Psalm 115:5-6).

                        So the spiritually dead have no susceptibility in regard to the things of

                        God; they see not the beauties of holiness; they see not God or Christ.


ü      The dead have all the machinery of motion, but the machine is at rest.

                        So the spiritually dead have all the natural faculties of life — judgment,

                        memory, imagination, feeling, conscience — but they are unable to renew

                        themselves into spiritual life. The inability is not natural, but moral, and

                        therefore sinners are responsible for it. They cannot, because they will

not. Ye will not come unto me, that ye may have life” (John 5:40).


ü      The dead are cold to the touch. The living body retains its heat very

                        much in the same manner as a fire retains its heat, and, in a very true

                        sense, we are all literally burning out like the fuel that is consumed

                        in our fires.  The dead are cold as the grave that covers them. So are

the spiritually dead; they have no warmth of Christian love going out

either to God or man. Though intellectually alive to all purely worldly

interests, they are coldly indifferent, or even hostile, to the interests of

the kingdom of grace.


ü      The dead go onward to corruption. The process of corruption may be

                        arrested for a time by the skill of man, but it will prevail in the end, and

                        man returns to the dust whence he came, as the spirit has returned to the

                        God who gave it. So the spiritually dead are corrupt, constitutionally, in

                        virtue of the sin of Adam, and they are still more corrupt through

                        temptation to actual transgression. The absence of love to God interposes

                        no check to the progress of corruption in a human heart. What a terrific

                        picture is that of a dead soul!



      see our dead surrounded successively by the shroud, the coffin, the hearse, the

grave. So likewise the spiritually dead are surrounded by trespasses and sins.”

These two expressive terms indicate, not simply the cause of death, but its

conditions and circumstances.


ü      Trespasses. This term is exceedingly expressive as embodying what is

                        involved in the original term.


Ø      It suggests the idea of a landmark fixed by God, which He has

                                    commanded us not to pass. Yet who can say that he has not passed

                                    the landmark? Who can say that he has not trespassed upon God’s

                                    preserves?  For what God had reserved for Himself out of all the trees

                                    of the garden of Eden, our first parents trespassed upon; and who

                                    among ourselves has not again and again trespassed upon that reserved

                                    territory of love wherewith God has surrounded Himself and surrounded

                                    each one of our neighbors?


Ø      The word suggests the further idea of a barrier which God has placed in

our way, and told us that we are not to force it or pass it.


o        There is the barrier of His Law, which He has strengthened

      by terrible penalties, and upon which He has inscribed His

      own fearful curse: “Cursed is every one that continueth

not in all things which are written in the book of the

Law to do them” (Deuteronomy  27:26;Galatians 3:10).

            Yet who can say that he has not passed this barrier,

            though God’s curse was inscribed upon it?


o        There is the barrier of conscience which God has built

      up strongly in every man; and who can say that he has

      not again and again passed this barrier, often bringing the

            artillery of worldly advantage or pleasure to bear against

            it and break it down?


ü      Sins. This term points to the sinful movements of the soul — sins of

thought and purpose, as trespasses seem to point to the various

developments of a sinful nature. The sins are the fruit of moral corruption

which has its seat in the heart, and radiates thence to every department of

human conduct. The principle of sin is not merely negative, for it is a

positive negation of the Divine will, putting something else in its place. The

term sins would, more exactly than the other, include sins of omission,

which are necessarily much more numerous than sins of commission. It is a

solemn thought that men are “dead in sin” by every duty they omit, by

every opportunity they neglect, by every blessing they despise, as well as

by every positive transgression of the Divine Law. The radical significance

of both terms implies a real hostility to God, which is only brought into

prominence the moment the sinful spirit comes into sharp and painful

collision with the pure Law of God. This dark picture of the sinner’s state

suggests that:


Ø      we ought to mourn for the dead, as we mourn for our dear ones

      who are carried forth to burial;

Ø      that we ought to pray for the dead, that God may grant them “a

quickening together with Christ;” (v. 5)

Ø      that we ought to warn the dead that, if they die in their

      trespasses and sins, they will be buried in their trespasses

      and sins.


2  “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according

to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of

disobedience:”  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world.

The  idea of a dead creature walking is not altogether incongruous.  It implies that a

kind of life  remained sufficient for walking; but not the true, full, normal life; rather

the life of a galvanized corpse, or of one walking in sleep. The figurative use of walking

for living, or carrying on our life, is frequent in this Epistle (ch. 4:1; 5:2, etc.). (“Enoch

walked with God; and he was not; for God took him [translated him”]) - “The course

of this world,” elsewhere “the world,” denotes the present system of things, as conducted

by those who have regard only to things seen and temporal, and no regard to God or to

the future life. Where there is spiritual death there is insensibility to these things.

According to the prince of the power of the air.  It is obvious that this is equivalent to

“the god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4), but the explanation of the term is difficult.

Allusion is made to a corporate body, “the power [or, ‘government’] ἐξουσίαexousia

power) of the air,” and to one who is “prince” of this government. There is no difficulty

in identifying the evil one and his host, of whom Milton gives such graphic pictures.

But why should they be specially connected with the air? The notion, entertained by

some of the Fathers and others, that storms and disturbances of the atmosphere are

caused by them, is  preposterous; it is unscriptural (Psalm 148:8) and quite unscientific.

The term seems to denote that evil spirits, who have some power of influencing us

by their temptations, have their abode in the atmosphere, or at least haunt it, being

invisible like it, yet exercising a real influence on human souls, and drawing them in

worldly directions, and contrary to the will of God. (Once again, I recommend The

Spirit World by Clarence Larkin – CY – 2010).  The spirit that now worketh in the

children of disobedience.  The fact that this spirit is still working in others makes

the escape of the Ephesians from him the more striking. He is not destroyed, but

vigorously at work even yet. Though Jesus beheld him fall from heaven as lightning

(Luke 10:18), and though He said that the prince of this world had been judged,

(John 16:11) these expressions denote a prophetic rather than an actual condition.

This spirit energizes in the “sons of disobedience.” This designation is striking;

it denotes persons born of disobedience, bred by disobedience, having disobedience

in their very nature; compare Romans 8:7, “The carnal mind is enmity against God,”

and passages where fallen man is called a rebel (Isaiah 1:2; 63:10; Psalm 68:6; Jeremiah

5:23). It denotes the essential antagonism of man’s will to God’s will, arising from

man’s devotion to this world and its interests, and God’s regard to what is higher

and holier — an antagonism often held in check and suppressed — but bursting

out wildly at times in fierce opposition, like as:


o       at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11, or

o       the crucifixion of Jesus.


The devil inflames man’s inherent dislike to God’s will, and encourages outbreaks

of it.



                                    The Walk of the Dead (v. 2)


The expression is very significant, “In which ye walked.” Superstition tells

us that the dead walk in the shades of night. This is mere folly. Yet, day by

day, we are really surrounded by the dead — not by spirits of the (lead,

walking their hour in the darkness of night, but by living men like

ourselves, pursuing their courses of worldly activity with all their wonted

energy and zeal, yet “dead while they live,” and unconscious of their death.

The term “walking” implies the habitual course and tendency of life. Men

were dead in sin just as they lived in sin, for the apostle says of the same

sins, “In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them”‘

(Colossians 3:7). The direction of their walking is — away from God,

with their backs turned upon Him, for unbelief is a departure from the living

God; and the end of their walking is death, as it is all through, for “it is the

way of death” (Proverbs 2:18), and their steps take hold on death”

(ibid. ch. 5:5). Well may we pray with David, ”Lord, search me and

know my heart: ... see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the

way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).




                        Three Fatal Guides in This Walk (v.2)


They are represented as the world, the flesh, and the devil. These are

inextricably linked in the common death of men, for the whole world lieth

in the wicked one” (I John 5:19), and it includes, as its totality of possession,

“the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.”  (ibid. ch. 2:16) 

There is no schism in this dread conspiracy against man’s life.


·         THE WORLD. Sinners walk “according to the course of this world.”  (v. 2)


ü      The world is here to be distinguished from worldly objects and

pleasures, or mere things of the world,” which are more definitely

included in “the lusts of the flesh” (v. 3). It refers to men of the world,

as where it is said, “The whole world lieth in the wicked one” (I John

5:19), and, The world will love its own” (John 15:19). These are “the

children of the world,” who are “wiser in their generation than the

children of light” (Luke 16:8). The world is a great creator of opinion,

sentiment, and habit, and thus becomes an immense obstacle to the

Church of God.


ü      The course of the world. “Every age hath almost a new dress, though it

is the same world, and still carnal men live according to it” Though

no age is independent of the ages which go before it, each age has its

own-peculiar drift or tendency, which makes it influential for good or

evil. We hear of the spirit of the age — the zeitgeist the defining spirit

or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs

of the time -  which is supposed to shape the thought and the action of

men; but it cannot command Christian homage, except so far as it works

in the line of truth and righteousness. The Ephesians were neither before

their time nor after their time, but in their time, living like other Gentiles,

in the same:


Ø      errors,

Ø      delusions, and

Ø      idolatries;


above all, being specially attached to the worship of Diana.


ü      It is the duty of Christian people to oppose the course of this world. The

apostle solemnly commands us, “Be ye not conformed to this world”

(Romans 12:2), and. the reason is because “we have not received the

spirit of this world, but we have received the Spirit which is of God”

(I Corinthians 2:12). Let the world be ever so refined, it cannot divest

itself of carnal principles and ideas, and the saying of our Lord will

always be true, “The things that are in great esteem with men are

an abomination unto God” (Luke 16:15). His own mission was

to deliver us from this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4). Therefore,

while we use this world, with all its lawful callings and occupations,

so as not to abuse it, and honor every true principle that is held by

them that are without” (I Corinthians 5:13), let us resolutely

stem the tide of the world’s evil tendencies in the strength of that faith

which will yet give us the complete conquest of the world (I John 5:4).


·         THE DEVIL. This enemy, older than the world, has a vast influence in

controling its tendencies and movements.


ü      He is described by two names“the prince of the power of the air,”

which seems to point to his headship over the fallen angels; and the spirit

that now worketh in the children of disobedience,” in relation to his power

as the “prince of this world.” (John 12:31)  The moral nature of his influence

may be inferred from the character ascribed to him in Scripture: as a sinner

from the beginning; as a homicide from the beginning; as an arch-liar —

“the father of liars” (John 8:44) — as a renegade, who, with the angels

under him, fell from his first estate, probably through pride, as the

principal cause of his fatal fall. His name is expressly identified with:


Ø      the sin of Adam, the murder of Abel,

Ø      the treachery of Judas, and

Ø      with a constant opposition to the kingdom of God.


He is an accuser, tempter, corrupter, and has, in virtue of

sin, a certain power even in death (Hebrews 2:14). The existence of

such a being is no more a difficulty than the existence of wicked men, who

live to corrupt and destroy their fellow-men.


ü      It is not easy to understand the mode in which he acts upon the minds

and hearts of men, nor to distinguish a direct temptation of Satan from

those which spring from the world or from our own hearts. He works in

and through these two things. An evil man or an evil woman can inject an

evil thought and suggestion into the nature of another, either by word or by

glance. If God, who is a Spirit, can have access to our minds so as to

influence us supremely for good, why may not Satan, as an evil spirit, have

a similar access for evil? Accordingly:


Ø      he is represented as putting it “into the heart of Judas to betray

     Christ” (John 13:2).

Ø      He can, like a bird, pick up the good seed out of the heart

(Matthew 13:4; Luke 8:12);

Ø      he can fill a man’s heart so as to instigate falsehood (Acts 5:3); and

Ø      he can dwell in a man’s heart, like a strong man in a castle (Luke 11.).


His action is, indeed,with all deceivableness of unrighteousness”

(II Thessalonians 2:10), as if he were bent upon destroying the moral order

of the universe.  (The Progressive Movement in American Politics and

around the world have this characteristic today!  CY – 2019)


ü      Though Satan is the tempter of men, the sins of men are not the less

their own sins. If the tempter were human, there would be no question

about responsibility. They are called “the children of disobedience,”

because they refuse to obey God, and therefore “the wrath of God” is said

to come upon them (ch. 5:6). These are they who are “carried

away captive by the devil at his will” (II Timothy 2:26). Believers are

therefore warned not “to give place to the devil” (ch. 4:27); “to

resist the devil” (James 4:7), as they are led to glorify that grace which

originally translated them out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom

of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13).


·         THE FLESH. The spiritually dead find an instigation to sin in “the

lusts of the flesh,” as well as in the suggestions of Satan and the

temptations of the world. The flesh is a large term, which covers more than

mere sins of the body, for it includes hatred, variance, emulation, wrath,

strifes, seditions, heresies,” as well as “adultery, fornication, murder,

drunkenness, and revellings (Galatians 5:19-20). There is a “spiritual

wickednessthat cannot be traced to the body of man. The reason of the

term being thus applied is probably, first, to distinguish it from the spirit;

then because the things of the flesh” are the supreme objects of desire to

worldly men, or, as they are differently phrased, “earthly things”

(Colossians 3:2); and, thirdly because it comes by birth: “That which is

born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6). Thus the lusts of the flesh have

their outlet in the desires at once of the flesh and of the mind. They are

described as “ungodly lusts” (Jude 1:18), because they are based on a

disregard for or on an enmity to God; “worldly lusts” (Titus 2:12),

because, in the absence of God, they “run out to all things in the world;”

“foolish and hurtful lusts” (I Timothy 6:9), because they end in shame,

disappointment, and ruin; deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22), because

they fail to answer all a sinner’s expectations. Therefore we see the glory

and fitness of the gospel, which leads us “to cleanse ourselves from all

filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”

(II Corinthians 7:1). The Apostle Paul suggests the danger of the flesh

in setting forth the grand principle of his life — “The life I now live in the

flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.” (Galatians 2:20)  All life is in

this world exposed to risk of some sort. Spiritual life exists in a body with

passions prone to evil, as well as in a world with many seductions and cares.

Christians must strike the true mean between the sensualism which dishonors

the body, and the asceticism which, regarding it as an enemy, denies it

those innocent enjoyments which Scripture and nature equally sanction.

(a la Genesis 2:15-16 – “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying,




THEREOF THOU SHALT SURELY DIE.” – CY – 2019)  It is not the body

of flesh, but the body of sin in the flesh, that is the real trouble of the

Christian. We must learn, by God’s grace, to honor the body as the temple

of the Holy Ghost; to make it the servant, not the master, of the soul; to

dedicate it as a vessel unto honor sanctified and “meet for the Master’s

use.”  (II Timothy 2:21)


3  “Among whom also we all had our conversaation in times past in the lust of our

flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the

children of wrath, even as others.”  Among whom also we all had our conversation

in times past in the lusts of our flesh. The apostle here brings Jews and Gentiles

together. “We also,” as well as you — we were all in the same condemnation,

all in a miserable plight, not merely occasionally dipping into sin, but spending

our very lives in the lusts or desires of our flesh, living for no noble ends, but in

an element of carnal desire, as if there were nothing higher than TO PLEASE

THE CARNAL NATURE!  Fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.

Desires of the flesh, the grosser and more animal propensities (the flesh, in Scripture,

has  often a wider sense; see Galatians 5:19-21); and of the mind or thoughts, διανοιῶν -

diamoion - through minds; comprehension; mind; understanding -  the objects that we

thought about, whatever they might be, — the waywardness of our thoughts seems to

be denoted, the random  roaming of the mind hither and thither, towards this pleasure

and that, sometimes serious, sometimes frivolous, but all marked by the absence of

any controlling regard to the will of God.  (For comparison note the word incontinent,

ἀκρατεῖςakrateisuncontrolable; without self control; powerless; impotent; as

applied to controlling oneself sexually – in II Timothy 3:3, a sign of the last times and

instrumental in bringing back Jesus Christ to the earth prior to THE JUDGMENT –

CY – 2019)  The life indicated is a life of indulgence in whatever natural feelings may

arise in us, be they right or be they wrong.   And were by nature the children of wrath,

even as others.  This is a substantive clause, standing on its own basis, a separate

fact, not merely an inference from the previous statements. The life described would

have exposed us to wrath; but beyond and before this we were by nature children of

wrath.  “By nature” denotes something in our constitution, in our very being; and

“even as the rest (others) denotes that this was universal, not a peculiarity affecting

some, but a general feature applicable to all. “Children of wrath” denotes that WE


our INDIVIDUALITY was so far absorbed by the social body that


of Barak Obama’s “collective salvation” of which there is no doubt,  a doctrine of

“the prince of the power of the air” mentioned in v. 2 – CY – 2010; nothing has

changed for the better; this being August 30, 2019 - CY)   If there be something in this

that seems contrary to justice, that seems to condemn men for the sins of others,

we remark:


  • that in actual life we constantly find individuals suffering for the sin of

            the corporation, domestic, social, or national, with which they are



  • that apart from this altogether, our individual offenses would expose us

            to God’s wrath; and


  • that the moral and legal relations of the individual to the corporation is

            a subject of difficulty, and in this case makes a strong demand on our faith.

            We should accept the teaching of the Word of God upon it, and leave our

            righteous Judge TO VINDICATE HIMSELF!   “Wrath,” as applied to God,

            must be regarded as essentially different from the same word when used of man.

            In the latter case it usually indicates a disorderly, excited, passionate feeling,

            as of one who has lost self-control; when used of God, it denotes the holy,

            calm, deep opposition of His nature to sin, compelling Him to inflict the

            appropriate punishment.




                        The True Fountain of Spiritual Death (v. 3)


“And were by nature children of wrath, even as others.” The apostle traces

the pedigree of all the elements that enter into this spiritual death up to our

birth itself. He does not say that it is on account of “nature” or natural

depravity that we are children of wrath, but “by nature;” that is, we are

simply born in a state of condemnation. There is no express reference here

to Adam or to our relation to his sin, though it is certainly implied that we

had our probation in Adam, and are therefore born in a state of

condemnation. To say that we are condemned on account of our hereditary

depravity is to say that we are condemned without a probation. The

doctrine of original sin is one of the “deep things of God.” (I Corinthians 2:10)

Pascal well says, “Original sin is folly in the sight of man, but this folly is wiser

than all the wisdom of man. For without it who could have said what man is? His

whole condition depends upon this imperceptible point.” The recognition

of the doctrine is the starting-point of the doctrines of special revelation:


ü      of redemption through Christ’s blood,

ü      of regeneration through the Holy Spirit.


This passage implies:



BIRTH The sacrament of baptism is meaningless on any other theory. “The

wicked are estranged from the womb.”  (Psalm 58:3)  Why do all men

certainly sin from the beginning?



STATE OF CONDEMNATION. Because “all in Adam die”

(I Corinthians 15:22).


·         THAT GOD’S WRATH IS A REALITY. It is grounded in His

essential holiness, as appears from the fact that God swears in His wrath

(Hebrews 3:11), and it belongs to the idea of the personal God as He

acts in history, who cannot look with equal indifference or equal

satisfaction upon virtue and vice, piety and impiety, wisdom and folly. It is

not to be regarded as a mere modification of Divine love, as either

love/sorrow or the anger of love. It is not Biblical to say that a God who has

wrath is not a God of love. The objective reality of Divine wrath on

account of sin is an axiom of natural theology (Romans 1:32) as well as

of revealed; it is presupposed in the atonement, and must be carried into

            any conception we may form of future retribution.


4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us,”

But God, who is rich in mercy.  The preceding verses convey the idea of a

rushing towards inevitable ruin — towards some frightful cataract, when all help from

man is hopeless. Man’s extremity becomes God’s opportunity. The but” is very

emphatic, and WONDERFULLY REVERSES THE PICTURE!   The sovereignty of

God is very apparent, on its gracious side.  It interposes to rescue those who would

otherwise plunge into irretrievable ruin. We have here the filling up of that Divine

saying,  O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help.” (Hosea 13:9)

The genesis of salvation is declared to be in two of God’s attributes, of which the

first is “mercy,” or compassion. God has a tender, yearning feeling towards men

brought to misery by their own sins.  (“....sin, when it is finished bringeth forth

death.”  James 1:15)  And this feeling of God is not shallow or miserly —

He is rich in mercy. It is an exuberant, full-flowing feeling in God “Thy mercy ...is

in the heavens,” Psalm 36:5), and may therefore be appealed to trustfully.  For His

great love wherewith He loved us.” The other attribute from which the plan of

salvation sprang is GOD’S LOVE! Love is more than compassion. Compassion

may be confined to the breast, but love goes forth in active beneficence. It makes

common cause with its object. It cannot rest till its object is put right. Two

expressions are used intensifying this Divine love:


  • His great love;
  • Love with which He loved us;


the verb of love governing the noun of love makes the idea rich and strong.  This

view of the exuberance of the Divine attributes from which salvation has its rise

is in harmony with the whole character of the Epistle.




                        The True Origin of Salvation (v. 4)


It is interesting to observe the variety of terms here employed to describe

the source of all the blessings of salvation. It is no longer a question of

power, as it was in the first chapter (ch. 1:19-20), but of love,

mercy, grace, and kindness.


·         OUR SALVATION IS OF GOD’S MERCY. “God who is rich in mercy.” 

      (v. 4)  There is a distinction between mercy and love, for love is the foundation

of mercy. God is called the “Father of mercies” (II Corinthians 1:3); mercy is

His delight, for “He delighteth in mercy” (Micah 7:18); He betrotheth us to

Himself in mercies (Hosea 2:19); He begets us again according to His

abundant mercy” (I Peter 1:3); and we are led to pray, Lord, according

to the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions”

(Psalm 51:1). Believers are therefore well described as “vessels of mercy”

(Romans 9:23).


·         OUR SALVATION IS OF LOVE. “According to the great love

wherewith He hath loved us.” The apostolic saying, “GOD IS LOVE”

(I John 4:8), supplies us with the best Christian idea of God, as well as

with the right key to explain all His actions. God’s love is more than kindness,

which is, indeed, one of His attributes, but LOVE is, properly speaking, the

nature of Him who unites all these attributes in Himself. The incarnation

of the only begotten Son is the greatest fact of the Divine love, but is not

disjoined from the deep humiliation and suffering to which it enabled Him

to descend. The love of God to sinners is:


Ø      a great love (ch. 2:4), “a love strong as death” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7);

Ø      an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3);

Ø      an unchanging love (Malachi 3:6);

Ø      an invincible love (Romans 8:39);

Ø      it is like the Father’s love to the Son, “As thou hast loved me”

            (John 17:23).


·         OUR SALVATION IS OF GRACE. “By grace ye are saved.”


Ø      It is not of works, but of grace (v. 8). It is “of faith, that it

might be of grace” (Romans 4:16).

Ø      We are accepted by grace (ch. 1:6); our calling is by grace

(II Timothy 1:9).

Ø      We have a good hope THROUGH GRACE!

Ø      Our election is of grace (Romans 11:5).

Ø      The grace of God abounds in faith and love (I Timothy 1:14).

Ø      We are under a reign of grace (Romans 6:14); we have our standing

      in grace (ibid. ch. 5:2).

Ø      It is the greatest of all concerns to establish men’s hearts in “the true

      grace of God” (I Peter 5:12).


·         OUR SALVATION IS OF GOD’S KINDNESS. (v. 7.) “The word

here,” says an old writer, “implies all sweetness, and all candidness, and all

friendliness, and all heartiness, and all goodness, and goodness of nature.”

Scripture speaks of GOD AS KIND! (Psalm 36:5; Luke 6:35), and of

His “loving-kindnesses” (Psalm 63:3; Isaiah 63:7). It is made the root

of mercy in God (Titus 3:4); for the apostle here speaks of His kindness

toward us in Christ Jesus. Thus our salvation, first and last, is attributed

to nothing in ourselves, BUT TO:


Ø      love,

Ø      mercy,

Ø      grace, and

Ø      kindness IN GOD!


5  “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,

(by grace ye are saved:)”  Even when we were dead in sins.  Repeated from v. 1,

in order to set in its true light the declaration that follows of WHAT GOD DID

FOR US to make more emphatic the free and sovereign mercy of God!  Though

sin is the abominable thing which He hates, loathsome to Him in the last degree,

He did not turn from us when we were immersed in it; nor did He wait till we

began to move towards Him: (“....while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8)  He began to influence us even when we were DEAD!  Hath

 quickened us together with Christ.  (συνεζωοποίησε τῷ Ξριστῷ - sunezoopoiaese

to Christovivifies [enlivens; animates] together, quickens with the Christ). 

sunezoopoiaese is the same word as in v. 1.  A parallel is run between the way

in which God’s power operated on the body of Christ, and the way in which it

operates on the souls of believers in Him in respect of


  • the quickening;
  • the raising up from the grave;
  • the seating of them in heavenly places.


The Father, having “given to the Son to have life in himself, and the Son quickening

 whom He will” (John 5:21, 26), by God’s decree we were first quickened by Him, made

partakers of Christ’s life (John 11:25; compare John 14:19; 15:5; Colossians 3:4;

Galatians 2:20).  All the life we had lost was restored the life forfeited by

transgression, the life of a calm and well-ordered heart, the sublime life of fellowship

with God – By grace ye are saved.  “by grace have ye been saved” - This is a

parenthetical clause, more fully dwelt on in v. 8, thrown in here abruptly by the apostle

in the fullness of his heart, to throw light on this great wonder — that Christ should

impart His own life to souls dead in sin.   Grace in opposition to human merit is at

the root of the whole arrangement; free, undeserved mercy. It is not anything that

God is bound to by the necessity of His nature. It is the result of His will, not of

His nature. Had it not been for His good pleasure, SALVATION HAD NEVER

BEEN!   “Saved” is the past participle (σεσωσμένοιsesosmenoi - ), from σώσω

sozoto save - denoting, not the act of being saved, but the fact of having been saved.  

Salvation in a real sense is a present possession. When we are one with Christ we are

justified freely by God’s grace, our trespasses are all forgiven. The spirit of new

moral life has been given to us; we are made alive to God.  But while salvation is a

present attainment in a real sense, its full realization is future, for that includes:


Ø      perfect holiness, and

Ø      also the glorification of the body.


In this sense salvation is to come (Romans 8:24; 13:11).




                        The Believer’s Union with Christ (v. 5)


The apostle teaches that, in virtue of the union between Christ and His

people, His death was their death, His life their life, His exaltation their

exaltation. It is the familiar doctrine of Romans 6:4, “Therefore we are

buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up

from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in

newness of life.” These words indicate a bond of connection between the

spiritual life of the believer and the resurrection of Christ. The new life is,

in fact, a participation in the risen life of the Savior.




Ø      Consider the nature of this quickening. It implies a previous

identification with Christ in His death. “We are buried with Christ by

baptism into death.” We have, in fact, died unto sin exactly as Christ died

unto sin; for in that He died, He died unto sin once” (Romans 6:10).

Christ died unto sin when He underwent death as the wages of sin and

exhausted all the woe that sin entails as its punishment. He died for sin that

He might become dead to sin; the parties having become dead to each

other, taking their own path henceforth, never to meet or cross each other

unto eternity again. And we are dead unto sin in precisely the same sense in

which Christ is dead unto sin; for the apostle says, “Likewise reckon ye

also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin” (ibid. v. 11) because we are

exempted from all its curse on the ground of its curse being already executed.

How can this be, as we never suffered the curse of sin? Because we have been

baptized into Christ. Mere water-baptism cannot accomplish this blessed

result. It is the Holy Spirit who is the Baptist, for he engrafts us into Christ

and makes us one body with Him (I Corinthians 12:12-13). We are

united to Christ by faith.


Ø      Consider the effects of this quickening. This new position involves our

seeing what the dead can never see. When we are quickened by the Spirit

of God:


o        We see God: Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

(Matthew 5:8)  We see Him as a Father, because we have seen Christ,

for he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9)  We see

a Father’s power, love, and compassion.


o        We see Christ in His person and in His work, as a:


§         sufficient Savior,

§         willing Savior,

§         loving Savior,


with a work accomplished on the ground of which we shall be

accepted and saved.


o        We see the sin that is in ourselves and the sin that is in the world.

      The dead see nothing. “They have no speculation in their eyes.” Men

of the world do not see sin as sin, but often as a source of profit or

amusement.  “Fools make a mock at sin.”  (Proverbs 14:9)  But the

quickened sinner sees the sin of the world as he sees the sin of his

own heart, and mourns over it.


o        He sees heaven and hell. The eye of man sees many stars in the sky

      on a dark night, but there are many blank spaces in which no twinkling

glories can be seen. Men of the world see heaven and hell as blank

spaces, or, at best, as dim and shadowy. But the quickened see them

as supreme and transcendent realities.


§         They see heaven as the home of Jesus and the saints;

§         they see hell as the place prepared for the devil

            and his angels.


o        He sees the world in its true character. How different the view of the

same city from two opposite standpoints! Not more different is the view

of the world from the standpoint of eternity, for the saint sees it as a

doomed world at enmity with God, and is thus led to place his

citizenship on high, “setting his affections on things above,

not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).


·         RAISED TOGETHER WITH CHRIST. For as Christ was raised from

the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of

life. The connection between the believer’s life and the Redeemer’s

resurrection is one not merely of certainty and similarity, but of

participation, and thus we come to know the power of His resurrection

(Philippians 3:10). There was a change in Christ’s own relation to God

established by His resurrection; “for in that He died, He died unto sin once:

but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God” (Romans 6:10) - in an entirely

new relation to God, WHICH SHALL ENDURE FOR EVER, for when

He shall appear the second time, it will be without sin unto salvation.

(Hebrews 9:28)  Formerly He was condemned, now is He justified in the

Spirit; He liveth now to God with:


Ø      no curse to bear,

Ø      no sacrifice to offer,

Ø      no suffering to endure,

Ø      no service to achieve; and


therefore the God of peace, in token of the acceptance of the Surety,

brings again from the dead that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the

blood of the everlasting covenant. (ibid. ch. 9:28)  So likewise we are to

count ourselves “alive unto God through Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:11) in that

same relation of irreversible acceptance into which Jesus has entered. The

apostle here not only represents believers as ideally raised in Christ, but as

actually raised just as Christ actually came forth from His sepulcher, leaving

His grave-clothes behind Him. Similarly we are not to be as “the living among

the dead”  (Luke 24:5) we are to cast from us our grave-clothes, which only

impede the free movements of our spiritual life.



We are enthroned with Christ. Christ is already represented as “set at

God’s own right hand in the heavenly places” (ch. 1:20). We sit

there representatively, because our Head is there, and therefore we are,

though still on earth as to our practical calling and life, citizens of heaven

(Philippians 3:20). We are guided by the laws of heaven; our hearts are

cheered by the hope which, as an anchor, is fastened within the veil, and

we now by faith enter the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus.  (Hebrews

6:18-19)  We are even now “kings and priests”(Revelation 1:6). We are

justified in regarding our future glorification as only a continuation of

our present spiritual life.  The guarantee of both is alike in Christ.

Meanwhile, though representatively in heaven, we are personally and

actually here. SIN IS HERE;  we are to watch and fight against it; but

“our life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), only hereafter to



6  “And hath raised us up together” (compare Philippians 3:10); so that we no longer

walk “according to the course of this world,” but according to the life of Christ; we

walk “in newness of life.”And made us sit together in heavenly places in

Christ Jesus.  As God placed Jesus at His right hand in heaven, so He has placed His

people with Him (Christ) in heavenly places; i.e. places where the privileges of heaven

are dispensed, where the air of heaven is breathed, where the fellowship and the

enjoyment of heaven are known, where an elevation of spirit is experienced as if

heaven were begun. Such was the case of the three disciples on the Mount of

Transfiguration; of the two on the way to Emmaus, when their heart burned within

them; of the beloved disciple when he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day;”

(Revelation 1:10) - of many at the Holy Supper, or in fervent communion

with brother and sister believers, when they seem at the very gate of heaven. This is

sometimes the experience at conversion, but the vividness of the feeling does not always

abide.  (We are to place our trust on what the Word says and not what we feel anyway!

CY – 2019) The repetition of “in Christ Jesus” in this connection emphasizes the fact

that this gracious proceeding of God towards us is in immediate connection with

the work and person of Christ. It is as being one with Christ Jesus that all this

raising up comes to us.


7  That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in

His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”  That in the ages to come He might

shew the exceeding riches of His grace.  A special purpose served by God’s free grace

bestowed on such persons as the Ephesians.  It was intended as a lesson for future ages.

“The ages to come” denotes eras to begin from that time, running on now, and to

continue hereafter. It would be a profitable lesson for the people of these ages to think

of the Ephesians, far as they were by nature from God, receiving His blessing so

abundantly. From this they would learn how great are the riches of God’s grace.

In His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus.  The particular channel

in which the riches of His grace flows is kindness shown to us in Christ Jesus.

Kindness in the matter of the blessing, forgiving us freely, and accepting and

adopting us in Him; kindness in the manner of the blessing, dealing with us as

Jesus dealt with”


Ø      the woman that was a sinner, or

Ø      with the thief on the cross, or

Ø      with Peter after he had fallen, or

Ø      with Saul of Tarsus;


kindness in the extent of the blessing, providing amply for every want;

kindness in the duration of the blessing — for evermore. But again,

the Medium or Mediator of blessing is specified“in Christ Jesus.”

It is not the kindness of providence, not the natural bountifulness of God,

but that kindness and bountifulness which are specially connected with

THE ATONING WORK OF CHRIST!   “God was in Christ,

reconciling the world unto Himself.”  (II Corinthians 5:19)




                        The Resurrection and Ascension of the Soul (vs. 1-7)


Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians was, as we have seen, that they might appreciate

the mighty power of God to usward who believe. This power was first manifested:


ü      in the person and experience of Christ in raising Him from the dead,

ü      in exalting Him to the Father’s right hand,

ü      in putting all things under his feet, and

ü      in constituting Him Head of His Church.


We are now to notice a parallel experience of power in the case of the believer.



these verses the apostle represents our souls as by nature dead like Christ’s

body in the tomb. They are not sick through sin, but dead. And the death

of the soul is manifested in the corruption of the nature, so that we live as

the world lives, according to the devil’s desires, fulfilling the desires of the

flesh and of the mind, and becoming most deservedly the “children of

wrath” (v. 3) like others. All this corruption of the nature is the manifestation

of the death in sin. But the Spirit, who raised up Christ’s body from the

tomb, comes to quicken our dead souls. We are quickened together with

Christ. The Father in His wondrous love works this miracle within us, so

that we are raised out of death into a new life. Now, just as Jesus entered by

resurrection into a new immortal life, so we by resurrection enter

into a new and immortal existence. We feel assured that we cannot die,

since we have been raised into the new life with Christ. This idea of the

death of the soul is found in the ancient and in the modern classics. In such

authors as Plutarch, Cicero, Heraclitus, and Persius, as well as in such a

modern as the poet Gautier, it may be found; but in them IT IS AN

UTTERANCE OF DESPAIR.  It is only Paul who can take it and show

how the death can be terminated in the victory of resurrection.


·         CONSIDER THE ASCENSION OF THE SOUL. (v. 6.) Not only is

the soul raised together with Christ, but it is “made to sit together in

heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” In other words, we are made to have an

ascension experience as well as a resurrection experience. Now, when

Christ ascended far above all principality and power, He must have entered

a joyful experience such as this world could never afford. He would never

have enjoyed such a delight had He lingered in a limited world like this. In

the same way the risen soul is enabled to ascend into a seraphic experience,

a joy in the Lord such as was never dreamed of. (“Eye hath not seen, nor

ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that

God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  I Corinthians 2:9)  It is to be

feared that many have experienced the spiritual resurrection who have not

gone on to the experience of the ascension; in other words, they are living

lives comparatively joyless. They do not live as if they were already within

the golden gates and rejoicing always in the Lord. But the thing is not only

possible, it is pre-eminently desirable. The world would be vastly the better

of souls that had realized the ascension.



For Jesus ascended that He might occupy a throne. And we ascend in spirit

that we may be kings of men. It is Christ’s purpose that we should be kings

and priests unto God and His Father (Revelation 1:5-6). Now, joyful

Christians cannot but influence others for good. They come to their

kingdom, and others are glad to submit to their sway. They hold men by

the heart and assert a proper sovereignty over others. The reign of Christ is

carried out in some measure when we have learned lovingly to reign.




(v. 7.) For if we had never died in sin, God’s mighty power in raising us

would never have been appreciated. If the creatures had never fallen, who

would have known the wealth of God’s love and power in lifting them up

again? The physical universe can only illustrate a small part of the power

and love of God. It requires the moral universe as a background to set off

the brightness of His redeeming mercy. It is out of a sinful world the

greatest examples of Divine power shall be forthcoming. GOD IS RICH IN

MERCY,  how rich only sinners can illustrate and with some fullness

appreciate. Every risen, ascended, and reigning soul is intended to be a




From Death to Life (vs. 1-7)


The process. This is a history of spiritual life. It reverses the order of

natural history. Instead of “funeral marches to the grave,” we have a

resurrection gladness, as the soul grows upward from death to life eternal.


  • THE PROCESS BEGINS WITH DEATH. The death here referred to is

not a future penalty, but the past condition of many men and the present

state of all others.


ü      There is a spiritual death in the midst of natural life. The body is flushed

with the glow of health; the intellect is keen in worldly affairs; but the

spirit is dead. The busy life of the lower nature may hide the scene of

death, but it cannot destroy it, and to right-minded observers this noisy

energy is painful and revolting like the revelry of a wake. Spiritual

death bears all the hideous marks of real death:


Ø      a failing of spiritual strength;


Ø      a loss of faculties of spiritual discernment — Divine truth fades from

the darkened vision, the ear of conscience grows deaf to the voices of



Ø      an unconsciousness of its own mournful condition — the spiritually

dead give no more evidence of realizing their condition than we can

see in the mute, immobile countenance of a corpse;


Ø      the commencement of corruption — the dead soul rots and

      spreads a miasma of sin.


ü      Spiritual death is caused by sin. There are positive trespasses,” in

which men go beyond the bounds of the lawful and commit what is

forbidden; and negative “sins,” in which people miss the mark, fail

of their duty, and omit what they ought to do. Both have fatal

consequences — the one killing with the poison of bad thoughts,

imaginations, and affections; and the other with an atrophy of

spiritual organs that waste away for want of exercise.


ü      Innumerable influences provoke to sin:


Ø      from without, in the general customs of the times, “the course of this

world,” and. indirect temptations, “the prince of the power of the air;”


Ø      from within, in bodily appetites, lusts of the flesh,” and in mental

propensities, “desires of the mind.” The resulting condition of death

becomes a second nature, normal and chronic; yet it is not the less

odious in the sight of God, but rather the more so, treasuring up

wrath against the day of wrath.


  • THE PROCESS RESULTS IN LIFE. The life is described in three



ü      A past quickening. “He quickened us.” This is accomplished in the

Christian. It is what Christ calls being “born from above” (John 3:3),

and Paul, a new creation” (II Corinthians 5:17).


Ø      It is not an external change, such as the removal of penalties, the gift

      of blessings, and the entrance to a place called heaven, but an internal

change in the soul of the redeemed.


Ø      It is not the soothing of a troubled conscience nor the endowment of

mere comfort and happiness, but life — energy, Fewer, activity —

life that begins with painful cries and the awakening of sad repentance

rather than with peace and comfort. The other blessings may be added,

but this is first and most essential. It is useless to load the grave with

treasures. The dead soul must come out of the tomb before it can be

loosed from its cerements and enjoy its inheritance.


ü      A present exaltation. “Raised us up;” “Made us sit with Him in heavenly

places.” Lazarus comes forth from the tomb. The Christian does not linger

long among the scenes of his miserable past. He is not forever sitting on

the stool of the penitents. In his new life he walks in God’s sunlight, he

breathes the free air of heaven, he is called to a high vocation and endued

with glorious privileges.


ü      A future blessedness. The Divine life is but in the germ on earth. Its

fairest flowers will bloom on a happier shore and its sweetest fruits ripen

in a sunnier climate. There are “exceeding riches” of grace to be

revealed in “the ages to come.” The life for which they are preparing



Ø      No disease will blight it,

Ø      no age bring it decrepitude,

Ø      no death lay it low.


As it develops eternality, so will the riches of Divine love fill it in an

ever increasing abundance.



            From Death to Life (vs. 1-7)


The secret. What is the secret of the wonderful reversal of the order of nature that is

seen in the spiritual transformation from death to life? The power is put forth by

the grace of God, and the method of its influence is through union with Christ.





ü      The power is Divine.


Ø      Men cannot quicken themselves. The dead can never rise from their

graves. Silent, stiff, and cold, dead souls will never shake off their

lethargy and begin a new spiritual life.


Ø      Men cannot quicken one another. Before life is extinct, by chafing the

chill limbs, by giving cordials and other remedies, the fast-ebbing

vitality may be restored to the dying man. But when the last breath

is breathed, and the heart has ceased to beat, and the patient is

really dead, science and love are both baffled. We can galvanize

the corpse into a shocking mockery of life, but that is worse than

useless. Now, nothing short of death has come upon those who are

under the power of sin. They are too far gone for human restoratives

such as:


o        education,

o        social influence,

o        reward and punishment,

o        exhortation and rebuke.


Ø      GOD ALONE CAN AND DOES effect the great transformation,

      because He is the Source of all life, and because this return from

death to life is a pure miracle.


ü      The power is put forth by the grace of God. He might leave the dead to

bury their dead, and concern Himself only with fresh new lives. But He

has infinite pity even for the dead. Nothing but grace could inspire such

pity.  For we have no claim upon God after we have become “by nature

children of wrath.” We must look for the motive in the love of God

alone.  But that love is so great that it is a very treasure-house of

mercy. God is rich in mercy.” Then our very helplessness appeals

to His compassion. The more dead we are the more will God desire

to quicken us.





ü      All through the history of the wonderful process, Paul traces, step by

step, the progress of the Christian, in the very experience through which

Christ went.


Ø      We begin in death as Christ stooped to die for us.

Ø      We are “quickened together with Christ,” and have fellowship with the

resurrection of Christ.

Ø      We are exalted in the likeness of Christ’s ascension (v. 5).

Ø      And we look forward to sharing in His future glory. Thus we are not

merely to receive the benefits of the death and resurrection of our Lord;

we have to enter into His very experience and pass through it ourselves

spiritually. Then His life and His victory become ours.


ü      This experience is realized by our union, with Christ in faith. It is vain

and hopeless to attempt to follow Christ by painfully attempting an

exact imitation while we are going alone and in our own strength. The

way is too dark, too steep, too rough. And this is not what is expected

of us. But if we trust Christ our faith unites us to Him, and by the

influence He puts forth over us He carries us along with Him; so that

THROUGH HIM we receive the gift of life from the grace of God.




                 The Design of the Dispensation of Mercy (v. 7)


The salvation of these Ephesians was to stand out as a remarkable

monument of “the exceeding riches of God’s grace” to all succeeding

generations. It was in this sense that the apostle regarded himself “as a

pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting”

(I Timothy 1:16).



IN GOD’S MERCY THROUGH CHRIST. Sinners often, when pressed

with the urgent calls of the gospel plead that they are too wicked to be

reached by it. Note the examples of salvation in the Scriptures, those of:


Ø      the Ephesians,

Ø      the dying thief,

Ø      Lydia,

Ø      the Philippian jailor,

Ø      the Apostle Paul himself,


are all designed to meet the difficulties that men interpose in the

way of their receiving Christ, as if any worthiness could attach to the

persons thus described. It is a great comfort THAT WHAT GOD DID


WORLD!  His mercy and grace are not exhausted.



GRACE. This fact cuts up by the roots all theological systems which imply

that man has any power to save himself.



THROUGH “ALL THE AGES TO COME,” in spite of all:


Ø      the malignity,

Ø      the ungodliness, and

Ø      the unbelief of men.




GENERATIONS.   (Think of the great error of modern thought that

the Bible, God’s Word, is outdated?  CY – 2019)  We could not know

of God’s gracious work at Ephesus but by the Scriptures. How much we

ought to prize such records!



APOSTLES proves how God has fulfilled the design involved in the

dispensation of mercy. The stream of grace has flowed more or less freely

and fully IN EVERY AGE!


·         MARK THE TRUE SUBJECT OF PREACHING. Not mere moral

counsels, not mere philosophizing, but “the exceeding riches of His grace

in his kindness to us in Jesus Christ.” A noble text for THE PULPIT




OWN GLORY. Not the mere glory of His power and wisdom, but of

His abounding grace and mercy.




WAS AT HAND. There were ages to come in which the exceeding riches

of His grace could be shown forth in the salvation of sinners. (Now that

the world seems to be gravitating towards a one world, global system,

with no intention of God being a part of it, but a government built

on anti-christian principles and worship of THE ANTI-CHRIST,

I think the position of God can be explained by a planned removal of

all things antagonistic to Him along the lines of the parable found in

Luke 13:6-10,  “Then said he unto the dresser of the vineyard, Behold,

these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: 

            cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?”  - CY – 2019)


8  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the

gift of God:”  For by grace are ye saved through faith.  Paul repeats what he had said

parenthetically (v. 5), in order to open the subject up more fully.


·         On the part of God, salvation is by grace;

·         on the part of man, it is through faith.


It does not come to us by an involuntary act, as light falls on our eyes, sounds on our

ears, or air enters our lungs.  When we are so far enlightened as to understand about it,

there must be a personal reception of salvation by us, and that is by faith. Faith at once

believes the good news of a free salvation through Christ, and accepts Christ as the

Savior. We commit ourselves to Him, trust ourselves to Him for that salvation of which

He is the Author. In the act of thus entrusting ourselves to Him for His salvation, we

receive the benefit, and are saved.  It is not that faith is accepted by God in place of

works, but because faith indicates that attitude of men towards Christ in which it

pleases God to save them, transferring to Him all their guilt, imputing to them all

His merit.  And that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.  Which of the two

things is meant — salvation or faith? The grammatical structure and the analogy

of the passage favor the former view, “Your salvation is not of yourselves,”

though many able men have taken the latter. The apostle is so anxious to bring out

the great distinguishing doctrine of grace that he puts it in all lights, affirms it

positively, contrasts it with its opposite, and emphasizes it by repetition. It is a gift,

not a purchase; a free gift, without money and without price (Isaiah 55:1);  what

would never have been yours, but for the generosity of God. It is very usual in the

New Testament thus to represent salvation; compare:


·       our Lord’s words to Nicodemus (John 3:16); to the woman of Samaria

     (John 4:14);


·       Paul’s “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift” (II Corinthians 9:15);

     “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23);

and I John 5:11, “God gave unto us eternal life, and the life is in His Son.”


This usage confirms the view that it is not merely faith, but the whole work and

person of Christ which faith receives, that is meant here as the “gift of God.”




     Grace and Faith (v. 8)


These two, grace and faith, are the sheet anchors of the Pauline gospel.

The former was preserved in the Augustinian theology, and the latter

restored to the Church by the Reformation. In his earlier Epistles, Paul

establishes their claims by argument. Now, he considers those claims to be

settled, and appeals to the doctrines of faith and grace as axioms, quoting

the phrase, “By grace have ye been saved,” as a sort of proverb. It is plain

that the apostle regarded the truths as practically self-evident, though it

was not long since they were the mysteries of a new revelation and the

conclusions of an original argument. There is no paradox in its changed

position, for it is the function of revelation so to open our eyes that we may

see for ourselves what was before hidden. Then, having once thus beheld

the truth, we may retain it on its own account. So that revelation is most

successful when it teaches us how to dispense with itself. But this is only

possible on the condition that there is an inherent fitness and

reasonableness in the truths it declares. If, therefore, we are to see the

axiomatic truth of the doctrines of grace and faith, they must not be an

arbitrary association of ideas; they must be truths of inherent

reasonableness. In other words, the relation of salvation to grace and faith

must not be treated as accidental, and fixed only by the sovereign will of

God, but as natural and necessary.


  • SALVATION IS GIVEN BY GRACE. To see the natural

reasonableness of this axiom, we must first understand in what salvation

consists. In the Bible the word “salvation” is not a technical theological

term. It means deliverance generally. Any special import in a particular

passage must depend on the context. In the present instance the context

clearly shows what kind of salvation Paul is thinking of. This is not

rescue from earthly poverty and pain — the lower old Jewish salvation,

nor escape from future torment — the lower Christian salvation. It is

deliverance from a present spiritual death (vs. 4-5). The soul is saved

from itself. Such a salvation must be by grace, because we cannot escape

from ourselves; because the evil of spiritual death involves the loss of

power in spiritual things; because God only can create life; and because the

death results from sin, and therefore implies an ill desert that can only

appeal to the mercy of God. The facts of the work of Christ and the

recovery of dead souls to life by the gospel prove that this salvation exists

and is accomplished by grace.


  • GRACE WORKS THROUGH FAITH. This principle, if axiomatic,

must be also natural and reasonable. We must not think of faith as a mere

assent to the doctrine of grace. Faith is the soul opening out to God. As the

flower cannot be quickened into fertility while the bud is closed, the soul’

that is self-contained can by no means receive the grace of God. The door

is barred, and. Christ will not force an entrance. Faith is a capitulation of

the proud soul. It means flinging wide the gates in submissive receptivity,

and yielding to the voice of Divine love in obedient activity. When the soul

has faith in God, the grace of God streams in with life and healing. As

distrust severs souls, faith unites them. Thus faith is like the wire joining

earth to heaven, while grace is like the electric current which waits, but

only waits, such a connection to hasten to us with light and fire and life.


  • FAITH COMES FROM GRACE. Even faith itself is the gift of

God.” Faith is a spiritual act and habit, and therefore it would be

impossible in a soul quite dead spiritually. But He who provides the

salvation provides the means wherewith to enjoy it. (“But as many as

received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even

to them that believe on His name.”  John 1:12)  If faith be ever so feeble

we may cry, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”  (Mark 9:24) 

with the assurance that there is no prayer more certain of an answer!


9  “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Exegetical of the last clause, “Not of

yourselves; certainly not of your works.” The suppression of boasting was a purpose

of God in His scheme of salvation; not the chief or final purpose, any more than the

manifestation of His grace in coming ages was His chief or final purpose in showing

mercy to the Ephesians, but inseparable from the nature of His plan. The spirit of

glorying is essentially unsuited to the relations between the creature and the Creator,

between the Redeemer and the redeemed. It is the very opposite of the spirit, “Not

unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and thy

truth’s sake” – (Psalm 115:1), the spirit that casts its crown before the throne, and

that breathes in the songs of heaven, Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from

our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and

His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever” (Revelation 1:5-6).


10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,

which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  For we are His

workmanship.  Another illustration and evidence of grace. We have to be fashioned

 anew by God before we can do anything aright (see II Corinthians 5:17). Anything

right in us is not the cause of grace, but its fruit. There seems to be no special reason

for the change from the second to the first person – “created in

Christ Jesus unto good works,” -  So little inward capacity had we for such works,

that we required to be created in Christ Jesus in order that we might do them. The

inward new birth of the soul is indicated. When good works were required, this

gracious change had to be wrought to secure them. The purpose of the new creation

is to produce them. Christ “gave Himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity,

and purify unto Himself a people of His own, zealous of good works.” It is not

good works first, and grace after; but grace first, and good works after (see

Titus 2:14).  Which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

A further proof of the true origin of good works. They are the subjects of

A DIVINE DECREE! Before the foundation of the world it was ordained that

whoever should be saved by grace should walk in good works. The term walk,”

here denotes the habitual tenor of the life; it is to be spent in an atmosphere of

good works. Here we have one of the Divine safeguards against the abuse of

the doctrine of salvation by grace. When men hear of salvation irrespective of

works, they are apt to fancy that works are of little use, and do not need to be

carefully attended to. On the contrary, they are part of the Divine decree, and

if we are not living a life of good works, we have no reason to believe that

we have been saved by grace.



                                    Association with Christ (vs. 1-10)


The concluding thought of the first chapter was the resurrection and

exaltation of Christ. In order now to bring out how they were benefited

thereby, he calls up to them their original condition. He shows them the pit

out of which they have been dug, the rock out of which they have been hewn.

(Isaiah 51:1-3) In the first and second verses he has special reference to Gentile

Christians, in the third verse he includes Jewish Christians in his





ü      They were dead. “And you did He quicken, when ye were dead.” It is a

comprehensive word for the evil of their condition. There is a natural

condition for plants, which they lose in their decay. There is a natural

condition for animals, which they lose in their death. So there is a natural

condition for rational beings, which they lose in what we call spiritual

death. And, as there is nothing higher in kind than spiritual life, so there is

nothing more dreadful than spiritual death. It is not extinction, but it is a

condition against nature, on the ground of an immortal existence. It is not

loving God with our whole soul and strength and mind, but living at enmity

with Him; and how wearing out to contend with our Maker! It is not loving

our neighbor as ourselves, but seeking our own selfish ends; and how

narrowing is this to our souls!


ü      Their deadness was caused by themselves. “Through your trespasses

and sins.” If there is any difference between these two words, it is that the

former refers more to overt transgressions, while the latter is inclusive of

evil thoughts that have only been entertained in the heart. When Adam and

Eve overtly transgressed in eating of the fruit, death at once passed upon

them in the loss of confidence in God, of unconsciousness, of

ingenuousness, of devotedness to each other. And the act was not long in

bearing bitter fruit in the hate, which led Cain to take a brother’s life. Overt

transgression makes matters worse, in the evil that is wrought on others in

the entanglements to which it leads. At the same time, it is true that evil

imaginations that never find expression in words or acts have a deadening

effect on the soul. They may indicate daring rebellion against God; and,

even though they are only vain thoughts that lodge in the mind, they are

not there without the spreading of a baneful influence over the life.


ü      They were only causes of deadness. “Wherein aforetime ye walked.” In

trespasses and sins THEY WALKED! Their life was one continual trespassing

and sinning. Their fountain was constantly sending forth bitter water. Their

tree only brought forth evil fruit. And how could it be otherwise, seeing

that they were corrupted at the very center of their being? There were

some of their acts that were better than others, but none that were

thoroughly right in principle or motive. All their acts had a fatal defect, and

many of them, as the first chapter of Romans shows – vs. 20-32, had

a positive vileness.


ü      They stood related to this world. “According to the course of this

world.” This world is opposed to the world as it should be, or the kingdom

of God among men. It is the world content with itself, and seeking to be

independent of God. And as the kingdom of God has an age or ages for its

holy development, so this world, it is implied here, has an age for its unholy

development. For the word translated “course” is properly age.” In the

mysterious providence of God evil has scope for its development. “The

mystery of iniquity doth already work.” (II Thessalonians 2:7)  And when

it is said  here that they once walked according to the course of this world,

the meaning is that their characters had not the normal form of the kingdom,

but had one or other of those abnormal forms which belong to the world.


ü      They stood related to the head of evil. “According to the prince of the

power of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of

disobedience.” He is here called the prince of the power of the air. He is a

prince with other evil spirits under him. (See Revelation 9)  Evil is divisive;

his then must be a mighty, prince-like influence that he keeps them united

under him for evil ends. He is dependent on God, a mere instrument in His

hand, at His absolute disposal, as it is with every creature; but he is allowed,

through his emissaries, to have great power upon earth. The singular epithet

is applied to him here in allusion to his surrounding us with temptation as the

atmosphere surrounds the earth. As the air borders on the earth, so there is

a sphere bordering on our spirits, subtle, invisible like air, through which

evil suggestions can readily be conveyed to us. Or it may be that the evil

spirits have an affinity to air, which they do not have to grosser matter, so

that it is their haunt within this region. There is here what we cannot

understand; but we can understand this — temptation being skillfully

presented to our minds, against which we must invoke the skill of another,

else we are taken in the tempter’s meshes. (The Bible calls it “taken

captive by his will.”  II Timothy 2:26 – CY – 2019)  He is further called

the prince of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience.

(v. 2)  It is not usual to connect a spirit, or principle, with its prince. But he

is undoubtedly the principal representative of the spirit of disobedience.

In him disobedience takes its most virulent form. The object on which he

is bent is to spite God, to thwart His holy ends. This is the spirit which

he as its original source breathes into his subordinates, and which they

in turn under his direction seek to breathe into men. And those in whom

it finds a sphere of operation are called the children of disobedience.

They stand related to the evil principle as its unclean progeny. It was from

heathendom that the description here was taken. It was very much MAN

LEFT TO HIMSELF!  (This is what is meant when God said before

the Flood “My Spirit will not always strive with man” – Genesis 6:3  

and the depiction in II Thessalonians 2:7 concerning the mystery of iniquity

when the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way of evil!  CY – 2019)  It was

the truest representation of what “this world” is. It was Satan having his

own way. It was rampant disobedience. For though the heathen world was

under the Divine providence, yet it was without special helps, without

special checks. Depraved human nature was allowed to bring out:


Ø      its own ignorance of God,

Ø      its own profanity,

Ø      its own licentiousness.


It was from that heathen world that these Gentile Christians had been taken.

(“...and such were some of you” -  I Corinthians 6:11)  There they

could see what they once had been. But, lest the Jewish Christians might

think that it had been better with them, he proceeds to bring them under

the same description in respect of their original condition.


·         JEWISH CHRISTIANS ALSO. (v. 3.) “Among whom we also all

once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the

mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Especially

are they classed with Gentile Christians, as having originally been children

of disobedience. Among whom we also all once lived. Their disobedience

appeared in their living in the lusts of the flesh. Those lusts that had their

root in the flesh, or unrenewed nature, they ought to have brought into

subjection to reason or the will of God; but, instead of that, they lived in

them. This is further described as “doing the desires of the flesh and of the

mind.” Evil wishes spring from the flesh; but in order to be gratified they

require the consent of the mind, and so they become desires, not only of

the flesh, but of the mind. And were by nature the children of wrath, even

as the rest. “By nature” is a qualifying clause. The Jews could not be

spoken of in the same terms as the Gentiles without qualification. For they

were different in having a covenant position, in having Divine helps

vouchsafed to them, in being placed under special training. And though

they did testify to depravity in their frequent rebellions, yet was there

alongside a work of grace, which showed itself conspicuously in some. It

could only be said, then, that by nature, that is, apart from covenant grace,

they were the children of wrath, even as the rest. What a testimony is there

here to UNIIVERSAL DEPRAVITY!   All have the Divine displeasure

imprinted on their nature. In the condemning voice of conscience there

is an echo, often very faint, of the condemnation of God. Our evil tendencies,

which we so soon exhibit, are tokens that God is angry with us. His righteous

sentence has gone forth upon us, even in our present condition. This is

unpalatable truth, but it agrees with the facts. It is well that we should keep

it in mind, in order that we may be humbled by it, and in order that we may

realize the forces against which we have to struggle.  (AND THEY ARE




·         OUR SALVATION.


ü      Its explanation. “But God, being rich in mercy, for His great love

wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses.”

The MERCY is mentioned first, as standing in closest connection with the

miserable state which has been described. And as their former state was

described in strong terms, so now is there set over against it the superlative

quality of the mercy. He is not content with the expression, “God in his

mercy.” That language is too bare in view of what they once were. So he

applies his common epithet, “rich.” “God, being rich in mercy.” The mercy

is a particular outgoing of the Divine love, viz. toward sinners. So he traces

it up to the more general feeling, which leads Him to seek the good, and

nothing but the good, of all His creatures whatsoever. And to this in turn he

applies another common epithet,”great.” “The great love wherewith He

loved us.” And the greatness of the Divine love is here presented under a

special aspect. In Romans 5:8 it is said, “God commendeth His love

towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

The thought is very similar here. “Even when we were dead through our

trespasses He quickened us.” Stress is laid upon the moment of the Divine

movement. When we were dead and could do nothing for ourselves, that

was the time for the going forth of the great love of God in rich mercy

toward us. And it is in this connection that we are to bring in the words

within brackets, “By grace have ye been saved.” For, though he has it in his

mind to magnify the Divine grace further on, yet now, having the

opportunity to make a point, he cannot let it pass. And the incidental way

in which he brings it in shows the great importance which he attached to

that doctrine.


ü      Its nature.Quickened us together with Christ (by grace have ye been

saved), and raised us up with Him, and made us to sit with Him in the

heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” It is set forth in relation to our previous

deadness. And it will be observed that the description here is connected

with a certain historical point. The idea is that we were dead up to the time

when Christ was quickened. We were dead, even as Christ was dead in the

tomb. Nay, more, we were dead with Christ in the tomb. For it was as our

Representative that He was lying there. And when He was quickened, it was

as our Representative too. He was quickened, not for Himself, but for us

whom He represented. And therefore it can be said that, when the lifegiving

power went forth upon Him in the grave, we were quickened with

Him. And it did not stop there; but when He was raised up we were raised

up with Him, in the whole breadth that language can bear. And not only so,

but the consummation applies to us too. It is not indeed said that we were

made to sit at the right hand of God, as is said of Christ in ch. 1:20. But it is

said that we were made to sit with Christ in the heavenly places. Even here

on earth we are sitting with Christ in the heavenly places. We are sitting

there in Him as our Head. That is no fancy, but the actual language which

is applied to us by an inspired apostle. Oh, what a glorious privilege is

conferred on us! How does it become us to be thankful, and to be humbled!

Let us, in our life, rise to the height of our position. Let us not be as creeping

on the earth, but as sitters with Christ in the heavenly places.


ü      A purpose served by our salvation. “That in the ages to come He might

show the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ

Jesus.” The language is applicable to after ages on earth. There is

encouragement to us, even now, in the fact that such kindness was shown

to Ephesians who had been dead through trespasses and sins. But the

language is also applicable to the eons of which the Scripture speaks

beyond this life. For if there is not room there for sinners being

encouraged, there certainly is room for the demonstration, the more

complete realization, of THE DIVINE GRACE!   It will be one of the

lessons of those ages to learn how much in our history on earth we were

INDIVIDUALLY INDEBTED TO GRACE!   Here again, in the fullness

of emotion, he gives an ample characterization of the grace, the exceeding

riches of his grace, in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. The latter

expression has reference to benefits conferred, viz. our quickening.


Ø      The exceeding riches of His grace appears in the complete exclusion

      of human merit. “For by grace have ye been saved through faith;

      and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, that

      no man should glory.” Our salvation is given to the subjective

      disposition of faith. It is when we believe, that the union between

our souls and Christ takes place, and the first, not the completed,

quickening goes forth upon us. But this believing does not make us

the authors, or give us the merit, of our salvation. It, that is to say,

our salvation, IS THE GIFT OF GOD!   And believing is just taking

it as a Divine gift, taking it as that for which we have given nothing.


the uttermost farthing, and so we can receive it as a free gift. But

works are out of the question; for it is just as impossible for a dead

man to rise and do the works which he was wont to do, as it is for the

dead through trespasses and sins to work out their salvation. Divine

help is the plainest necessity, and to such an extent that there is no

room for boasting.


Ø      The exceeding riches of His grace appears in good works following

      on the Divine workmanship. For we are His workmanship, created

in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we

should walk in them.”


             An honest man’s the noblest work of God.

                                                 (Alexander Pope)


A Christian is certainly the noblest work of God. For we are His

workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” We are the result of all

the means that God has used. It may be seen in us, as saved persons,

what Christ has done by His blood. And we are not His workmanship

because of works which we were afterwards to do; but we were created

“for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in

them.” It may be said of a tree that it is afore prepared for the fruit

which it is to bear. It may be said of a vessel that it is afore prepared

for the uses which it is to serve. But as the fruit is not the cause of the

tree, nor the uses served by a vessel the cause of the vessel, so neither

can it be said that the works we perform are the cause of the Divine

workmanship that has gone before. Our salvation, then,





Gospel Reformation Great and Gracious (vs. 1-10)


“And you hath He quickened,” etc. This passage, though its language is

somewhat obscure, sets forth most manifestly the greatness and

graciousness of gospel reformation. The gospel is a reformative system; it

is revolutionary in its spirit and its aim.


·         It uproots the noxious in life, and plants the wholesome.

·         It pulls down the corrupt and builds up the holy.

·         It burns up man’s old moral heavens and creates new ones,

      “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (II Peter 3:13)

·         It reforms society by reforming the individual man;

·         It reforms the individual by regenerating his spirit, and making him

      a new creature in Christ Jesus.

·         It works from the center to the circumference.





the change it effects in mankind will be seen if we consider two things

which are so prominently set forth in this passage.


ü      The state of man preceding its work. There are several striking

expressions in this passage indicating the original depraved condition

of sinners, their condition before the gospel touches them.


Ø      They are morally dead. “Dead in [through] trespasses and sins.”

      (v. 1)  What is moral death? Not insensibility, for sinners feel; not

inactivity, for sinners act. What, then? Destitution of the true principle

of moral life. What is that? Supreme love to God. He is the true Life

of the soul.  Humanity has lost it, and it is dead. Corporeal death is

a separation of the soul from the body, moral death is the separation

of the soul from godly love.


Ø      They are practically worldly. “They walked according to the course of

this world.” What is the “course of this world”? Carnal, selfish, devilish.

The spirit of the world is their inspiration, the maxims of the world their



Ø      They are Satanically ruled. The prince of the power of the air”

      works in them. He rules and fashions them to his purpose.


Ø      They are wickedly associated. “Among whom also we all had our

conversation in times past.” Their social natures are so perverted

that  they are linked with the corrupt; all their social alliances

are false and impure.


Ø      They are carnally debased. “In the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the

desires of the flesh.” The body with its gross impulses dominates over

the soul; they are “carnally sold under sin.”  (Romans 7:14)  Their

souls are animalized.  (II Peter 2:12


Ø      They are perilously situated. “Children of wrath.” Where is the wrath?

It is of their own creation. “They treasure up wrath.” (Romans 2:5)

From the eternal law of retribution their sins must bring on their ruin.


ü      The state of man succeeding its work. The passage teaches that they are

brought by the gospel into the most vital connection with Him who is the

embodiment, the standard, and the medium of all human excellence, “the

Lord Jesus Christ.”


Ø      His life is theirs. “Quickened us together with Christ.” That

      love which is the life of the soul has been imparted. This life is His

      life. “Together with Him.” They are quickened by His ideas, with

      His Spirit, with His aim.


Ø      His resurrection is theirs. They are “raised “ — raised from the grave

of carnality, worldliness, and moral corruption, and their resurrection is

with Him. “Raised us up together.” Christ’s resurrection is not merely

the instrumental cause of their spiritual resurrection, but its inspiration

and its type.


Ø      His exaltation is theirs. They are made to “sit together in heavenly

places in Christ Jesus.” They are morally exalted — exalted in their

power over themselves and over circumstances; exalted in their

sympathies, ideas, and aims; exalted in their fellowship. They are in

“heavenly places” now, their “citizenship is in heaven.” All this

exaltation is enjoyed together with Christ.


Ø      His character is theirs. “They are created in Christ Jesus unto good

works.” God has recast their character; He has molded it after the

ideal embodied in Jesus Christ. The general meaning of all these

expressions is thorough Christianization. Man, after the gospel

reformation has been effected, is like Christ in spirit and character.

“He is conformed to the image of Christ.” How great the change!

how thorough! how sublime!  How infinitely transcending all the

reformations of men! This is the reformation that is wanted; this is

the reformation that every true philanthropist should strenuously

advocate and zealously promote.



great, originating, efficient cause of this glorious moral reformation? The

text answers the question. God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love

wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us

together with Christ.” Instrumental causes, such as the Word of God,

gospel ministry, Christian example and influence, are many, but eternal

grace is the cause which originates all and blesses all. The passage indicates

four things concerning this Divine grace.


ü      It is great. It is ascribed to the richness of mercy and the greatness of

love. “God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love,” etc. God’s love

is the spring of all His activities; it is as deep as His own heart; it is

as infinite as Himself. “It passeth knowledge.”


“O Love! the one sun! O Love! the one sea!

What life has begun that breathes not in thee?

Thy rays have no limit, thy waves have no shore;

Thou giv’st without merit to worlds evermore.”


ü      It is mighty. It quickens, raises, exalts, recreates human souls. It is as

mighty as the power that raised Christ from the dead. How mighty is

that power that thoroughly Christianizes even one soul! No power

but the power of God can do that. “Not by might, nor by power, but

by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts.”  (Zechariah 4:6)


ü      It is manifestable. “In the ages to come He might show the exceeding

riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The conversion of every one is designed to manifest it. The conversion

of the sinner, though a good in itself, is not an ultimate end; the event

has remote issues, ulterior points, bearings and relations interminable.

“Ages to come;” intelligences that will rise thousands of years in the

future will study and adore the infinite grace of God in the spiritual

reformation of mankind.  “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy,

that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for

a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life

everlasting” (I Timothy 1:16).


ü      It is unmeritorious. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that

not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works.” The expression,

“not of works,” does not mean, of course, that men are to do nothing.

This would be contrary to the general teaching of Scripture, contrary

also to the constitution of the soul and the nature of the work. Man is

so constituted that no moral change can be effected in him irrespective

of his own efforts. He must work. All that the expression means is that

man’s works are not the cause. “By grace are ye saved through faith.”

But if faith is required, and it is an undoubted necessity, where is the

freeness of the grace?  Elsewhere Paul says that “it is of faith, that it

may be of grace.” (Romans 4:16)  Two remarks will explain this.


Ø      Faith is essentially an unmeritorious act. Because it is the simplest act

of the mind, and an act for which man has a strong propensity; he has

never taken credit for it; he never can. There is no virtue in believing.


Ø      This essentially unmeritorious act IS ITSELF THE GIFT OF GOD!

      Not a gift in the sense in which existence is a gift, but in the sense in

      which knowledge is a gift. It is a gift, because God;


o        gives the mental capacity for it,

o        reveals the true objects for it, and

o        furnishes the opportunities for studying the evidence

      essential to produce it.




            Salvation in Its Completeness: the Place of Faith and Works

                                                   (vs. 8-10)


One thought runs through these two verses like a thread of gold. We are

not saved by works, but unto works.


·         THE PRIVILEGE OF BELIEVERS. “Ye are saved.”


Ø      It is implied that the salvation is a present reality. It is not, “Ye shall be

saved.” They were already in an actual state of salvation; they had passed

from death unto life; and the life was EVERLASTING!


Ø      The salvation was more than a deliverance from the guilt of sin, so as to

exempt sinners from future punishment. This is, indeed, the first step in

salvation. There must be likewise a deliverance from the power of sin. To

be saved from sin is the climax, the consummation, the essence of

salvation. Holiness is the most essential thing in salvation. Therefore, while

believers may rejoice that they have received pardon through the blood of

Christ, let them still more rejoice that Jesus saves them from their sins”

by a continuous supply of His living grace.



 (“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the

sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:12)

“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”

We are saved because we are thus created. This was the Divine purpose in

the mission of the Son; God sent Christ to bless us “by turning every one of

us away from our iniquities” (Acts 3:26). We have learned to believe that

our works have nothing to do with our pardon:


Ø      our evil works have not hindered it,

Ø      our good works have not helped it;

Ø      our pardon IS OF PURE GRACE!   


But the apostle teaches, in the tenth verse, that what is true of

pardon through the death of Christ is equally true of power by His life —

that if we are delivered from the punishment of sin by the atoning death of

Christ, we are also delivered from the power of sin by the loving grace that

streams from the fountain of the cross. Salvation, if it be salvation at all, is

“unto good works;” good works not being the root on which salvation

grows, but the fruit which grows upon the tree of life.



are ye saved, through faith.” You are “God’s workmanship, created in

Christ Jesus unto good works.”


Ø      Grace is the fountain at once of pardon and of holiness. The purpose of

God is of grace, for “He hath saved us according to His own purpose and

grace” (II Timothy 1:9); the atonement is of grace, for “ye know the

grace of ... Christ, that, though He was rich, for your sakes He became

poor” (II Corinthians 8:9); the application of it is of grace, for it is

“grace that bringeth salvation” (Titus 2:11); and it is according to this

grace “we are called with an holy calling” (II Timothy 1:9). Now, we

have learned to say of pardon that it is “not of works;” equally true is it of

our purification that it is not of works — that is, not of our working — for

we are his workmanship, created… unto good works.” The old man

cannot work. The new man receives the power in the very structure of his

spiritual being; for, having died with Christ, he is risen with Him that he

should walk in NEWNESS OF LIFE!


Ø      Faith is the instrumental cause of our salvation. “By grace are ye saved,

through faith;” and thus the gospel becomes “the power of God unto

salvation to every one that believeth.” (Romans 1:16)  Power as well as

pardon flows forth from Christ to every one that believeth. We are not to

suppose, however, that salvation is given as a kind of reward of faith, for,

in a true sense, faith is part of the salvation itself. But the apostle uniformly

represents faith as that which apprehends the salvation. It is in no sense

the ground of salvation; “the righteousness of God which is by faith of

Christ Jesus” is the only ground of it, (ibid. 3:22) and it is therefore

called “the gift of righteousness” (ibid. 5:17); but faith is the hand by

which it is received. There is thus no merit in faith any more than there is

in the hand of the beggar who receives an alms.


Ø      Good works are the predestined way along which the saved walk.

“Which God hath before prepared that we should walk in them.” This

might be true in a double sense: either that, by the revelation of the moral

law, He has fixed the firm and unalterable pathway of the believer’s

obedience — prepared, as it were, the sphere of our moral action; or that,

by creating us in Christ Jesus, He has preordained our disposition and

aptitude for this obedience. It is evident from the apostle’s doctrine that:


o        good works are not necessary to qualify us for believing in Christ, nor

o        are the ground of our expecting a future inheritance in glory.


But they are necessary, notwithstanding, on the following grounds:


o        We are elected unto holiness (ch. 1:4); and we are “called

unto holiness” (I Thessalonians 4:7).

o        They are necessary as acts of obedience to the Lord’s commands

(John 14:15);

o        as acts of gratitude for all His goodness to us;

o        as evidences of the sincerity of our faith in Christ;

o        as tending to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior, and to glorify his

Name;  (Titus 2:10)

o       as contributory to our inward peace and comfort.




                        Salvation, Its Root and Its Fruit (vs. 8-10)


Paul now proceeds to put the gospel in a nutshell when he tells us that:


·       we are saved by grace,

·       through faith, and

·       unto good works.


We have in these three terms the whole plan brought out. Let us look at them in

their order.



“grace” is meant the free, undeserved favor of God. It is etymologically the

same as “gratis” and “gratuitous;” it occurs in the business phrase, “three

days of grace” given in connection with the payment of a bill; it signifies

therefore a Divine manifestation to which man has no title. In other words,

we do not deserve salvation. We can never deserve it. No works of ours

could entitle us to it. Yet we are saved by grace, by the free and sovereign

favor of the Lord. It is most important that we should have clear views of

the cause of salvation. Its cause is the gracious love of God. Its cause is

outside of us, and. we have no part or lot in causing salvation. IT IS




SALVATION. (v. 8.) God might conceivably save men without asking

us to trust Him. But would it be worth our while to get emancipated from

deserved punishment to live on in perpetual suspicion? The fact is that to

have any comfort in our relations with GOD, WE MUST TRUST HIM!

But there is no merit in trusting Him. If we refuse Him our trust we do

Him grievous wrong. This shows that trusting God is only giving Him

His due. Besides, the more we know ourselves the more we realize that

faith just as well a