Paul has taught us what we were in our past life, along with what God has done to give us new life (Ephesians 2:1-9). Next, he shows us what we now are. Why have we been united so powerfully to God in Christ? What has God remade us to be? Paul says, “We are His workmanship.” We are not our own workmanship, but God's, for He has made us. All the credit and honor are His, and His alone. But what did God remake us to be? Paul says we have been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
We have taken time to learn why and how God worked to save His people, but how did God perform this gracious salvation? We’ve seen what we were and what God has done about it, but how does He accomplish His miraculous deliverance? Paul tells us it comes through faith, not as a result of works.
We have now observed why God saved us, but what did God do to rescue us from our previous condition? Spiritually dead, followers in every way, and under the judgment of God, what did God do to snatch us from that old life of despair? In two short verses, Paul tells us God "made us alive together with Christ," "raised us up with" Christ, and "seated us with" Christ. Earlier in this chapter, Paul taught us of the three things we were. Here, we learn of three things God has done to override our previous condition.
Up to this point in our passage, Paul has explained to us the utter lostness of humanity (see Ephesians 2:1-3). We were dead. We were followers. We were children of wrath. Without the cross of Jesus Christ, this would have been the end of the human story. Paul writes those beloved words, “But God"—sweet medicine for humanity! Destruction was ours, but God intervened. The story does not turn because of man — as in “but man” — but with God. He interjects Himself into our condition, our brokenness.
Before looking at what God did to intervene, let us look first at why He did it. Paul gives us three major reasons.
The opposite of God’s wrath is not God’s love, but God's apathy, and God cannot be apathetic. His wrath flows from His love, for He hates what sin does to people He loves. He cannot abide with sin. As Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on Him" (John 3:36).
Perhaps, when thinking of that old life of spiritual deadness, believers might remember themselves as brimming with originality. But it would be wrong to think this way, for our past life was not a self-willed one. Instead, Paul shows us we were all followers. Again, Christ has made a way of escape, and believers have experienced that rescue. We are no longer spiritually dead, and we are no longer hopeless followers. But what had we followed?
Paul had prayed for the Ephesian church — and us — to know three things. He longed for us to know the hope of our calling, the riches of our inheritance, and the immeasurable power of God toward us who believe. It was his third prayer, an understanding of God’s power toward us, Paul felt most strongly. He expanded upon the concept of God's power by telling of the resurrection power God released upon His Son, followed by the influential position Christ currently holds as the head of His church. He wants to fill all things, and He wants to use His church to do so. The power of God is a necessity in the church’s mission to fill all things with Christ.
Of the three realities Paul longed for the church to realize, this last one seems to have pressed most deeply upon his heart, which is why he expanded upon it more than the first two. What would God’s people be if they knew of God’s great power toward them? Consider God's power.
The third, and final, request of Paul in this opening prayer is for the church to know the profound power of God “toward us who believe.” To add emphasis and color to this power, Paul unleashes an arsenal of words...
Paul continued his prayer for revelation with three specific requests. Three realities stood out in Paul’s mind. He believed that, if the church knows these realities — deeply, inwardly — the church would be strong. So he prayed for revelation concerning these three truths, the first of which we will discuss here...
When the Syrian army encamped against Elisha’s home, his servant saw them first. Trembling, he ran to Elisha. Elisha exhorted him, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Elisha then prayed for his servant: “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see" (2 Kings 6:16-17)...
Before moving to the next portion of Paul’s letter, we must ask two questions of the blessings Paul has already spoken of (see Ephesians 1:3-14). First, where are they located? And second, why are they given?
Each of the blessings Paul lists in Ephesians 1:3-14 can only be understood from a spiritual vantage point, for they are spiritual blessings. Fortunately, one of the greatest blessings God gives is His Spirit.
Next, Paul moves from the spiritual blessings from God the Father to the spiritual blessings from God the Son. The first blessing believers have received from the Son is that of redemption and forgiveness...
Here, Paul runs on with his sentence of praise regarding the blessings which come from God. He first focuses on blessings from God the Father, next the Son, and finally the Spirit. To describe the blessing which come from the Father he uses two concepts which boggle the mind, God’s choice and predestination...
Paul begins Ephesians with a long song of praise to God, for praise is what is meant by the word “blessed.” God is to be blessed. Paul aims to worship. His song starts here and ends, without stopping, at the fourteenth verse. So Ephesians opens with a run-on sentence of praise. Paul is clearly in love with God, praising and blessing and worshipping His glorious name.
Paul was custom made by God to bridge the Old Testament Scriptures to the New Testament church. He was called “the apostle to the Gentiles.” Billions of non-Jews have been blessed by his life and words. Aided by the Holy Spirit, He traveled and wrote extensively. Peter was God's instrument to open the door of faith to the Gentile world, but once it was opened, Paul ran through it, carrying the message of Christ to the known world. He was relentless.
Before his death, Moses had to sing. Before the people of Israel embarked on their journey into the Promised Land, Moses wrote and recited a song for them. He knew he would not lead them into Canaan, for that was Joshua’s work, so he wanted to give them his lyrics instead of himself.