College & Career Class Lesson Summary, August 5, 2018
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
As these verses are probably more familiar to Bible students, we wanted to take time to understand these verses in light of the context Paul just laid out in all of the verses prior. With our former conversation (life) being under the prince of the power of the air, Paul draws sharp distinction between our new life, under the Prince of Peace. Entrance into this life (the resurrection life of Christ Himself) has been procured by God Himself and there is nothing of man’s input that ever guided the purpose of God.
Paul says that our salvation is a product of grace through faith. Remember that salvation means deliverance but we shouldn’t be quick to assume that deliverance is solely about being taken FROM something/someone. Newton’s third law is true here – being taken FROM something necessitates being taken UNTO something other than what you were taken from. When the delivery guy brings you a pizza, he is delivering it FROM the pizza store but UNTO you as the impatiently salivating customer. We were delivered (saved) FROM the rule of Sin and Death and the BONDAGE we were therein HELD, and at the same time, we were delivered (saved) UNTO the Person and Life of Jesus Christ, including the LIBERTY were in we STAND.
This salvation is the product of grace through faith. What is grace?
Grace simply means favor. An example of this is when the angel visited Mary:
Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
Favor means approval, or an act of kindness beyond what is either due or usual. What we have been made to be in Christ is a complete demonstration of an act of kindness that is beyond usual. The Bible speaks of the people of God as peculiar people and I might suggest that far too often is it taught that being peculiar is something we attain by our behavior modification – that by not smoking, drinking, dancing, etc. we can show the world just how peculiar we are. However, what makes us peculiar is that we have a peculiar salvation – we have the kindness of God, given to us, forever. What makes us peculiar is that we have a God who loved us and shed His grace upon us, knowing we could never muster up the performance necessary to attain His righteousness. We need to stop trying to become peculiar and recognize the peculiarity we already have, in Christ.
Now, what is faith?
Faith is the conviction of truth – it is belief wrapped in confidence. Confidence is from the Latin, confide, which means, “with faith.” When Hebrews states that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, that is the precise definition of being convicted that something is true – especially of God. Faith is not necessarily a measure of one’s ability to believe something, but is simply the choice to express confidence in that which is true. Our faith is a unanimous expression of confidence in He that is the Way, the TRUTH and the Life.
So, for by grace are we saved through faith: by the unusual kindness of God we are delivered from sin and death, and unto Jesus Christ, having been convicted of Truth Himself. This is describing a “grace through faith” salvation package, that it is not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God. Faith was the key that unlocked the door of His grace unto all the realities of His salvation.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
It is in this salvation that we find out that God didn’t bring us into His grace simply to tell us that snacks are on the counter and then to never interact with us again. We are a testament to His workmanship – His handy work – as we have been created in Christ Jesus. This is indeed true – we are a creature and a new creature at that, having been created through the life giving transaction of His resurrection. As His workmanship, we are created unto good works – the good works OF GOD and it was these works that God already determined that we would walk in them. Recall back to the beginning of chapter 2, we, in time past, walked according to the course of this world, whereas, now, we walk in the very good works of God. It is important to note that these are not the works we have made up of our religious inclinations whereby we attempt to be a testimony for God. These are the works of His own hands. God has called us to walk in the comfort and in the power of HIS HANDIWORK, not to struggle in the discomfort and weakness of our handiwork.
Ephesians 2:11-22: we began discussing this section of scripture as it pertains to how God joined both Jews and Gentiles together in this reality of Christ. However, we wanted to set some historical context before moving forward. We wanted to understand why Paul is preaching things about being in Christ that no one else had ever preached. We didn’t get finished today with the setup (having successfully made it up to Joshua). We will finish that up next week and begin into verses 11-22.
Our story continues…