Today: [Ephesians 2:] Raised Up and Seated Together: In chapter 2 Paul declares that Jesus in His person is the basis of your reconciliation to God and to one another in the body of Christ. Through the work of the Cross Jesus abolished by virtue of the New Birth all sense of hostility between the believer and the throne of God thus constituting us in our persons as the temple of God and building of God corporately expressed by our connection to and membership in the body of Christ.
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[Eph 2:1-22 KJV] 1 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; 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: 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. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 11 Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Chapter 1 of Ephesians closes with Paul declaring the work of God in Christ on your behalf. He continues in v. 1 of the next chapter declaring that in Christ you are quickened from a state of spiritual death because of sin and servitude to the prince of the power of the air – the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. Here is an important observation to make: ungodliness among men is an outward manifestation of the spirit of darkness that works not just on men but in them. Just as the Spirit of God indwells the believer so the sinner is indwelled and under the influence, not of the spirit of God but the spirit of disobedience. Every man (v. 3) who is born into the world has their conversation (i.e., behavior) completely focused on the desires of the flesh and of the mind because we were by nature the children of wrath by birth and not just by our actions. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. Man is not inherently good from birth. He is intrinsically evil. Theologically this is a doctrinal dispute referencing what some call the “total depravity of men.” Some believe that man is basically good while others contend that man is by birth and human nature an inveterate transgressor. Which is correct? Consider the following verses:
[Psa 51:5 KJV] 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
[Psa 58:3 KJV] 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
[Rom 3:11-12 KJV] 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
[Isa 64:6 KJV] 6 But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
This is the exact opposite of what our educational systems have taught our children for decades, and as a result, we have raised a generation of narcissistic children taught to believe how wonderful they are and that any choice they make is the choice right for them that no one has any right to question or correct. The only standard or expectation imposed upon them by society is that they grant to every other person the right to the same autonomy of choice and that there is no higher power to be held accountable to and if there is a suggestion otherwise it only arises (in their thinking) from bigotry and religious ignorance. This flies in the face of Paul’s declaration that from the womb we are children of wrath in need of a savior.
For this reason, (v. 4) God who is rich in mercy when we were dead in sins has quickened us together with Christ. Now some teach that because Jesus died for all, then all are saved whether they demonstrate faith or repentance at all. That is incorrect as Paul stipulates elsewhere:
[Rom 4:16 KJV] 16 Therefore [it is] of faith, that [it might be] by grace; to the end the promise might be sure…
[Rom 5:2 KJV] 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand…
This is clarified in v. 8 that states salvation is ours by grace through faith, even the faith that God has given to each of us to exercise as his gift to every man. Works do not save us (what we do or who we are) instead we are the workmanship of God created in Christ Jesus unto good works that originate not in human altruism or character but in the spirit of the living God who makes His home in our heart.
We are called in remembrance then (v. 11) of the past when we were without Christ whether Jew or Greek, being alienated from the purposes of God and the economy of the kingdom but now are made near (who were far off) we are made near by the blood of Christ. It is the blood of Christ that reconciles us to God and not any other thing – however, the blood of Christ shed in our behalf only becomes efficacious for us on the occasion of our faith, repentance and surrender to the Lordship of Christ as Paul declared in Rom. 10:
[Rom 10:9-10 KJV] 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
To experience salvation we must not only confess Him as savior but accept him in our hearts and with our mouth as our Lord and then the merits of the Cross and the shedding of the blood of Christ to assuage our guilt are brought online to reconcile us to God no longer being in enmity against Him but being constituted by new birth to be His beloved children by grace through faith.
Thus v. 14 tells us that we cannot make peace with God any more than we can save ourselves. God has made Jesus to be our peace. Our peace with God is not a religious affectation or transaction of outward works originating with us, but rather our peace with God is a person whose name is Jesus who went to the cross to address our enmity with God by offering himself up in his innocence to pay our penalty in the courts of heaven. This one great redemptive act completely abolishes in you all enmity between you and God and constitutes you as a part of that corporate “one new man” (v. 15) even the body of Christ that the enemy militates so viciously against in modern society.
In the sacrifice of Himself (v. 16) Jesus has reconciled you to God having slain in Himself the enmity between you and the Father. When the Father looks upon you, He cannot see you as an enemy for to reject you would be to deny what Jesus did on your behalf on Calvary. The work of Calvary eclipses all sin and shortcoming in the eyes of God where you are concerned and renders you by virtue of the shed blood of Christ no longer an enemy of God but renders you beloved sons and daughters entitled to all the benefits, dividends and blessings that heaven can afford not on the basis of who you are or what you have done but on the basis of the finished work of Calvary.
How do we access this great redemptive resource in our lives? We have access through HIM (through Jesus). Not through doctrine. Not through our own goodness or conformity to religious or moral expectation but only through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ whom we are connected to by grace through faith on the occasion of accepting Him as your Lord and savior. Because of this, we are no more strangers to God nor strangers to one another. We are fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God.
Satan in our day has never worked so effectively and forcefully to alienate us from one another by the tearing down of the church and the destruction of our solidarity in Christ. He knows that together we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (v. 20), but separately we are lost and perishing in sinking sand. Make no mistake about it – unless we are gathered together and connected to one another in substantive and real ways we are without foundation. You cannot be a part of that building “fitly framed together” as a holy temple to the Lord unless you are committed in your life to being a part of that which is greater than yourself that is the corporate body of Christ in the earth manifest in your life by your relational connection to your brothers and sisters in Christ and to the leadership over you that are constituted by God to be the prophets and apostles providing context for your fellowship to God in heaven and to one another on the earth by bonds of fellowship rooted in the work of the Cross and not any human compatibility or agreement.
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