College & Career Class Lesson Summary, July 29, 2018
Paul has just opened his letter to the Ephesians reminding of them of the spiritual blessings they have been blessed with, all on account of being the predetermined purpose of God, which He purposed in Christ before the world was ever created. In other words, all those who would be in Christ, God had predetermined they would be blessed with all spiritual blessings by being in Christ. As the letter unfolds, we’ll see that this offer to be in Christ is given to all, whether or Jew or Gentile matters not.
It is this knowledge of being in Christ that Paul desires will open the eyes of their understanding that they may know the hope of His calling, the riches of the glory of the saint’s inheritance, and the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward. This power was wrought in Christ, by his resurrection from the dead. It is this resurrection that exalted Christ to His rightful position as Head above all things, but especially to something that is called “the church, which is His body.”
Headship is nothing more than the Captain – it is the position of prominence or preeminence, whereby from the Head, all things consist. It is the Head that dictates the course of the body, not the other way around. Regardless of the religious institutions of man, the head of the church is not a pastor or a pope, but is Jesus Christ Himself. The church is not a political action committee. The church is not a business. The church is the collection of saints, regardless of time, space and geography that have accepted Christ by faith. As Moses raised the serpent in the wilderness, so too if the Son of Man is lifted up, he would draw ALL MEN unto Him.
In Chapter 2, Paul is going to expound upon this “church, which is His body” by describing the contents thereof. However, before he gets to that, he is going to remind these Ephesians of the state they were in, prior to trusting Christ. This is a very similar tactic that Paul did when he wrote Romans. Romans 2 and 3 really describe the prior state, while Romans 5-8 describe being in Christ.
Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2:2 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: 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
The prior reality of these Ephesians is that they were dead in trespasses and sins. And it is in the world of this death that they walked, being governed by the prince of the power of the air – Satan himself. All they could hope for, at best, would be to be concluded as children of disobedience. And, while in this world, their lives were known by their desire to fulfill the lusts of their flesh and of their mind. They were indeed the children of wrath. This was the prior state. However, Paul reminds them of the transition out of that state:
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Was it God who was orchestrating this world of condemnation? No – it was Satan and yet God showered His rich mercy upon these Ephesians by delivering them (rescuing them) out of this world through the efficacy of His love. Even when they were dead in their sins, yet God brought them out. The only way to escape death is life – but not any old life, but the resurrected life of the Son of God Himself. God made us alive in the same manner He made Christ alive – by divine resurrection. We were delivered (saved) from that old world of death by being delivered (saved) unto and through Christ’s resurrection. Indeed – by grace we ARE saved!
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Just as Christ was raised by the glory of God and was permitted to sit on His right hand, so too we are raised to the very same, by being in Christ. Note the contrast of our location. While being in the world of death, the prince of the power of the air ruled over us. However, being in the world of life, the Prince of Peace, not only rules higher than Satan’s rule, but He elevated us to be WITH Him. indeed – by grace we ARE saved!
It is in this position that Christ will continuously bestow the riches of His kindness and His grace for all time. And, note that this is described as “exceeding”, in verse 7. We will never reach a point where the grace and kindness of God gets exhausted. In other words, not only is the expanse of His grace and kindness infinite, but likewise, God will never tire of bestowing that upon us.
Our story continues…