Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” ESV
The above passage was more than likely the first verses I was ever introduced to in the Book of Ephesians. They are so powerful that many times they overshadow the rest of the chapter’s contents. But let’s look at the preceding verses to get an even fuller perspective on its message.
Paul begins with these words, “and you were dead in trespasses and sins.” Being dead is a great disadvantage in the quest to have something to boast about. But look at the other flattering comments about our pre-saved condition:
Verse 2 – followers of the world and Satan
Verse 3 – motivated by fleshly passions; children of wrath
Without Christ we were alive to the world, the flesh and the Devil, but dead to God. We were in no position to petition God for His favor. We were bankrupt!
However, God is rich. He is rich in mercy! He is motivated by love. He made us alive and placed us in a position in heaven. He is rich in grace in kindness toward us.
There is nothing that tugs at the heart like a comeback story or the story of the underachiever that makes it big. The pauper that becomes a prince gives us hope. We just start appreciating that princely position all the more. Does looking at what we were without Christ make Ephesians 1 even more impressive? Try reading all the things listed in chapter one by adding the phrase, “…even though I was dead in sin.”
Here are some examples:
– He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing…even though I was dead in sin
– He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, …even though I was dead in sin
– He predestined us for adoption as sons…even though I was dead in sin
– In him we have obtained an inheritance…even though I was dead in sin
Paul’s dramatic description of our dependence upon God’s grace provides ample clarity as to where pride fits into our lives. God has saved us by His grace. Therefore, we need to extend that same grace to others. Read Ephesians 2:14-22 to get the full effect of God’s plan for unity and peace within the body.
Consider this when tempted to be critical, “except for the grace of God, there go I.”