Ephesians 2:4-5a

In Ephesians 2:4-5a Paul explains what God has done to respond to the pathetic situation we find ourselves in as humans – sinners with no future without a big save. And he begins this explanation with ‘But God’ which indicates that God does have a plan and can give us victory over the world and the deception of the enemy. Why does God care? After all He made it clear what the expectations are through the Law. But humankind falls short and needs another way. And that’s when the very nature and character of God comes to our aid. “But God, being rich in mercy….” – the first quality God has that comes to our rescue is mercy.

So what is mercy? It is simply God not giving us what we deserve. We are sinners, all of us. And the wages of those sins according to scripture is death. Not just physical death, but eternal spiritual death which equates to forever being separated from God. Clarke explained “As they were corrupt in their nature, and sinful in their practice, they could possess no merit, nor have any claim upon God; and it required much mercy to remove so much misery, and to pardon such transgressions.” God alone is the answer to our sin problem. We’ve all blown it based on our own efforts. We’ve all fallen short of the requirements God has put in place. But His mercy caused Him to take action through Jesus…..

And Paul continues to the second part of God’s nature that allowed him to say ‘but’. It actually explains God’s mercy as Paul says ‘because’. “….because of the great love with which he loved us….” Behind the good news of God’s salvation offered in Jesus is the fact that this mercy and love is extended to us. Not because we deserve it, but because of who He is. Every reason for God’s mercy and love is found in Him. We give Him no reason to love us, yet in the greatness of His love, He loves us with that great love anyway. We need to stop trying to make ourselves lovable to God, and simply receive His great love while recognizing that we are unworthy of it. This is what grace is all about – where we receive what we don’t deserve.

Paul then explains just how far we were gone in our journey of life – we were ‘dead’ – not on life support or just ill. We were dead. Paul explains the past, present and future of God’s plan for us. “….even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ….”

God turned up the love for us when we were completely unlovable, guilty of violating His standards and requirements, and headed to a destiny that was apart from Him. This is the requirement for being saved. You must first be dead, dead to every attempt to justify yourself before God. Guzik explains “This is what God did to those who were dead in sin. He shared in our death so that we could share in His resurrection life. The old man is crucified and we are new creations in Jesus with the old things passing away and all things becoming new.” Jesus is the only way we receive eternal life!

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