In these verses we move from the wide view lens of God’s eternal purposes for us that we looked at in chapter one to a zoomed in focus on the salvation that we have in Christ.
It begins by reminding us of our state without Christ – and the need we had is much greater than we often think. We are described as dead in our trespasses, meaning that we have no spiritual life to God and no power to change that state on our own, but were in need of one who could give us life. In this state of spiritual death we followed the ways of this world, the flesh and the devil without giving it a second thought.
Into this context, we get the glorious ‘but God…’ at the beginning of verse 4. God loved us even while we were dead and has made is us alive with Christ. A spiritual act of regeneration has happened in our heart, and we have been raised up to the heavenly places with Christ that we will have fellowship with him and the Father forever and will reign with him.
This salvation is not based on our works or ability (how could it be if we were dead in our sins). Paul is clear that it is entirely a work of God’s grace that is given to us as a gift. Even the way this gift is accessed is not on the basis of our works, but simply by faith – and this faith is a gift of God.
This does not however mean there is no place for good works in the life of a Christian. There is. It is just that these works are not the basis of our salvation but rather the result of it, and God has prepared these works beforehand for us to walk in.
Some Key Points:
- Without Christ we were spiritually dead and given over to following the world, the devil and the flesh.
- God made us alive and raised us up with Christ to sit with him in the heavenly realms
- This was all a gift of grace, through faith.
- Good works are not how we earn our salvation, but they are something that God leads us into once we have been saved.
- Put Your Faith In Jesus – With such a clear gospel message coming through in this passage, it would be good to offer people the opportunity to respond by putting their faith in Christ.
- Challenge Legalism – It is so easy to slip back into thinking that our standing with God is on the basis of what we do. This passage challenges such thinking and throws us back onto the gift of God’s free grace for us.
- Praise Him For His Grace – God’s grace given to us is the ultimate cause for rejoicing and celebration, and being reminded of these truths should fill our hearts with praise for him.