Made alive in Christ
Paul kicks off chapter two by reminding us of our past, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” My past certainly doesn’t look pretty, sometimes I look back and I ask myself, ‘what were you thinking Cynthia?’ and I know that this is a question we’ve asked ourselves at one point in life or the other. We lived in sin, as we followed the ways of this world, the glitz and the glam and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air (there is a ruler), the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. Disobedience to God, is automatic obedience to the enemy, let’s not sugar coat anything and say it as it is.
Sir Francis Bacon is quoted as saying ‘knowledge is power,’ the more one knows, the more one will be able to control events, it’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, we like to be very casual about life, and in particular matters relating to spiritual things, however, the truth is, just as much as God exists, so does the devil and all his agents and when we disobey the rules of God, then we are obeying the ruler of this kingdom who is the devil – there are no two ways about it. Each of us at one point lived in the ways of the world before salvation, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following it’s desires and thoughts and by nature we were deserving of wrath, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and as we know, ‘for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Sin brings wrath and condemnation, but praise be to God Most High because of His great plans for us.
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Meaning, the time you were a sinner, a murderer, a fornicator, an idolator, God made you alive in Christ this is just incredible! Personally, I always thought I was made alive when I got saved, but Paul is enlightening us here, that this took place even when we were dead and buried in our transgressions. Salvation is therefore by grace! not because we were worthy, but because of Gods grace (unmerited mercy and favour). Therefore when you get saved, you receive God’s love that has always been there for you, but sin had blinded and hindered you from being made alive in Christ.
It doesn’t end there, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the Heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Did you catch that? we’ve been raised up together with Christ and we’re seated together with Him (Christ) in the Heavenly realms! picture this for a moment and allow it to marinate and sink in. This was done in order for God to show His incomparable riches of His grace which is expressed to us in His Kindness through Jesus Christ dying on the cross. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Salvation is God’s gift to us, not because of the works that we do, not because we are worthy, no it is by grace, through faith. We are therefore, “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” meaning we have a purpose and that purpose what prepared way in advance before you were even created, and we are supposed to do good works which will bring glory and honour to our Father in Heaven.
Paul was chosen by God to bring the message of peace to the Gentiles, who were a people who did not know God nor did they follow any of His ways and commandments and so back in the days, Jews and Gentiles did not mix. They were particularly separate from Christ and excluded from citizenship in Israel and were foreigners to the covenant of the promise, a people without hope and without God in the world. However, that’s not the case now, because we were brought closer to God by the blood of Jesus Christ, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Reconciliation took place at calvary and you and I were brought closer to God, thank you Jesus. We’re no longer a people who are confused not knowing their identity, but have become a people who know their God, a people who will do mighty exploits because of who is their God.
“For He Himself (Jesus) is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” Jesus brought the two groups (Jews and Gentiles), that never seemed to get along and made them into one by dividing and removing the wall of hostility. I don’t know about you, but have you ever seen how peace and reconciliation brings about groups and teams that were once hateful of each other together, putting an end to fight? this is what Jesus did with His death on the cross, simply amazing! And He did this “by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.” During the time of the law, the Israelites received atonement for their sins, by sacrificing animals, but God’s plan included the whole world, not just the Israelites only and so Jesus dying on the cross was to bring the people who were not part of the covenant (Gentiles), to be reconciled together with the Jews back to God through the cross. Then we hear some people say that Jesus is for the Jews only? this is false information, God’s ultimate plan is to create one body, this has always been since the beginning of the world.
How did Jesus do it? “He came and preached peace to you who were far and away and peace to those who were near.” Jesus didn’t preach peace to the Jews and fight to the Gentiles, no! He preached the same message across to everyone, He wasn’t partial nor does He show partiality! Remember the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4? Jesus knew who she was and how the culture back then was, but that didn’t stop Him from asking her to give Him a drink, this is who He is, He cuts across all barriers, to bring love and peace. “For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”
Who then are we? 2:19-20 “consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.” You and I are citizens in God’s Kingdom and members of His household. “In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” You are not an after thought, you are God’s masterpiece, special, created in His own image for His own purpose and to bring Glory and Honour unto His name. Don’t let other people tell you anything different, read the Bible and see God’s plans over your life.
Lesson:- God’s plan is to bring all of us together and make us one, so that we can live in peace and unity.
Memory verse Ephesians 2:4-5 "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved."