Ephesians 2 以弗所书 第二章

EPHESIANS 2

I.          From Death to Life (2:1-10) 

            A.        Dead in Sin (vv. 1-3)             

  1. Paul explained that those who are now alive in Christ were not always alive.  A look at their former lives would show that they did not have life at all.
  2. The tense for the Greek verb for “formally walked” summarizes one’s total past life as a point.  The sum of their past spiritual experience was death.
  3. Paul outlined several characteristics of the past walk of believers:
  1. They were dead in their transgressions and sins (v. 1).  “Transgressions” and “sins” are close synonyms but with different backgrounds.  Transgressions indicates wrong steps taken or a deliberate breaking of the law.  To sin means “to miss the mark.”  Paul used these two words together for emphasis by repetition.  The sins he speaks of here are not mere isolated acts; they speak of a way of life or a pattern of conduct in which these people had walked.
  2. They walked according to the course of this world (v. 2).  Powerful factors influenced their deadly walk.  First, the “course of this world” describe the present world order and its present course.  The pressures of society and culture led them away from God.
  3. They were disobedient (v. 2).  There is a superhuman, spiritual power of evil that generates a spirit of disobedience in people.  He is Satan, called here “the prince of the power of the air” (v. 2).  Air refers to the spiritual realm.  It is important to note that the dis-obedience Paul mentioned here is our own choice and not simply the effect of Satan on the ways of the world.
  4. They indulged the desires of the flesh (v. 3).  An important part of our disobedience is rooted in our own sinful desires.  These desires originate in our lower, sinful nature.  Paul emphasized that this sinful nature involves both the physical body and the mind: “desires and thought.”
4.         Throughout this passage, Paul emphasized that we all once lived in the way described above: “we were by nature children of wrath” (v. 3).  What he described here is true of every person, Jew or Gentile.

            B.        The Riches of God’s Grace (vv. 4-7)

  1. Against the dark and hopeless background which he described in verses 1-3, Paul changed the entire landscape with the words “But God!”  These words signal God’s intervention into out hopeless, sinful condition.  If it were left up to humankind, there would only be death.  But God is not a God of wrath only; He is also a God of mercy.  He is “rich in mercy,” and His mercy is rooted in His “great love” for us.
  2. God shows us His mercy by what He has done in Christ.  Believers are brought to life from a state of death.  Then they are raised to the presence of God and seated “in the heavenly places” – or spiritual realm.  In verses 5-7, Paul considered the riches of God’s grace.
    1. We are “made alive together with Christ” (v. 5).  Christ gives us new life through His resurrection.  The word translated “made us alive” is a synonym for “raised,” but it also can mean “to keep alive” or “to preserve life.”  Through Christ, believers are granted a new spiritual life.
    2. We are “raise up with Christ” (v. 6).  Believers have been raised together with Christ; that is, they have been united with Him in His resurrected life.
    3. We are “seated with Him” (v. 6).  Believers sit together with Christ in the heavenly realms.  Although believers have yet to be physically resurrected and seated in the heavenlies, spiritually speaking, it has already been accomplished.

            C.        Saved Through Faith (vv. 8-9)

  1. This passage is one of the best summaries of the gospel in the New Testament.  It contains many key themes Paul developed elsewhere in his writings, but here he expressed them in a new way to communicate to a wide audience in the Gentile world.
  2. In verses 8-10, Paul focused on three themes:
    1. Grace.  The word “grace” occurs twelve times in Ephesians.  To the people of Paul’s day, it carried the meaning of pleasantness, favor, or gratitude.  Early Christians, however, gave this word new significance.  They used it to describe the utter generosity that God gives to sinners even though they do not deserve it.  This grace is not only forgiveness of sins but the gift of God’s power in their lives which brings about a new kind of life.
    2. Salvation.  Paul used the term “saved” in these verses to refer to the various aspects of redemption.  The grammatical tense he used indicates something accomplished in the past that continues to have results in the present.  Paul usually spoke of salvation in more technical terms, such as justification, reconciliation, or adoption.  Saved is a general term that includes all those various concepts, and it was probably more understandable to Gentiles.
    3. Faith.  This is one of Paul’s favorite words.  It means far more than simply agreeing with an idea.  It refers to a total openness to letting God give the benefits of salvation and to obeying the will of God.  It is important to note, however, that this does not mean faith is something we do by our own ability.  Rather, faith is our willingness to let God into our lives.  It includes both trust and commitment.
  3. Paul emphasized that salvation is not something given because of good works.  It is not an accomplishment; it is a gift.  Paul shows that salvation does not have its source in men, but in God.  Besides, it is God’s gift and not the result of our work.

            D.        For What Purpose? (v. 10)

  1. God saves us for a purpose.  We are His workmanship.  This term “workmanship” can also be translated “handiwork.”  We are a work of art God is in the process of designing.
  2. This creative process God is carrying out takes place in Christ.  We are being made anew for good works.
  3.  We are saved from a lot that is negative and destructive, but there is more.  We are being saved to do good works.  This has been God’s plan for us from the beginning, and it’s something that begins now.  Paul uses one of his phrases here – “that we would walk in them.”
  4. Another way of saying this is that God’s transforming grace will increasingly result in our doing works that are pleasing to Him as a part of our lives every day.

 II.        Unity In Christ (2:11-22)

            A.        Gentiles Without Hope (vv. 11-12)

  1. The word “therefore” signals a transition in Paul’s writing.  Paul had been discussing the blessings God gives to the Christian with its emphasis on what Christians as individuals had received in Christ.  Beginning here he pointed to Christians as a group.  He reminded his Gentile readers that they formerly were not part of the people of God, but in Christ, they had been included.
  2. Paul explained Christ’s peace mission in this section.  Those who had been separated from the covenant were united, those who had been alienated were reconciled, and those who had been far off were brought near.  Paul said they had been “without God.” 

            B.        Christ Reconciles All (vv. 13-18).

  1. Apart from Christ, the Gentiles were hopeless.  “But now in Christ Jesus” (v. 13), Gentiles and Jews are reconciled to God and to one another.
  2. The enmity, the barrier, that had existed for hundreds of years has been removed.  This is the meaning of reconciliation – to bring together again.  In Jesus Christ, Jew and Gentile are one because of His work on the cross.  Not only has Christ made peace; “He Himself is our peace” (v. 14). 
  3. Jews and Gentiles are no longer strangers; they are called in one hope as one people of God.  

            C.        A Holy Temple (vv. 19-22)

  1. Only in response to the cross of Christ (called “faith” in 2:8) does peace exist vertically between humans and God and horizontally among humans.  Paul called this new society the church.
  2. Paul pictured the church as a nation (“fellow citizens”), a family (“household”), and a “building.”  This new building is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Himself the corner stone” (v. 20).  The purpose of the church is to become a “dwelling of God in the Spirit” (v. 22).
Comments