Saturday 7 October 2023


E P H E S I A N S  2 V 1-10


Turning to this passage, I want to look at the meaning of the verses, and follow with what Paul has in his mind.

In this passage, Paul is addressing the Gentiles, and tells how terrible life is without Christ being a part, for both Jews and Gentiles. Such a Christless life is full of trespass and sin, and is a failure.

Sin is often seen as something immoral or a serious crime, but all the people who do not commit crime consider their lives as respectable, and woe be the preacher who suggests otherwise. I can recall an incident in one of the counties bordering London. classed as high society, where a Minister of the Church seeking outreach, advertised as being a Church for sinners. There was an exodus of people the following Sunday, as people left, taking their direct debits with them no doubt.

But we all have offended against God, as the Bible points out, all have come short of the glory of God. If you think of a chain, you break one link, and the chain is broken, so it is with the Commandments, you break one and you are considered as having broken all. If any person who feels he or she has never broken one commandment, you are indeed a unique person, (or else a self-deceiver.)

Sin is the failure to be what we should be. This includes having no respect for others in our daily lives, and the way we treat those we have contact with.

Paul writes about being spiritually dead in sins, and how it kills. It kills innocence leaving a permanent effect on someone. It kills ideals when one knows something they have in mind would be wrong, but still does it. The second time it doesn’t seem so wrong, and after that it becomes a habit which cannot be resisted.

Paul lived at a time when people believed in demons, which it was thought of as making a person evil. When a daily newspaper is read , it could be believed we still have demons, as we read of the cruelty that abounds. As I type this sermon, it is broadcast that a leading woman television presenter was threatened with being planned to be kidnapped and murdered by an unknown man, for no stated reason.

Life is dominated by immorality. with women being the innocent victims. In addition we see on television, homosexuality glorified as if those taking part are celebrities, with the Church being identified for n ot accepting.  All members of the Church are thought to be bigots.  People have the right to behave as they wish in real life, but there should  not be attempts to force ideas on others.

There is a popular saying that God helps those who help themselves, but that is not biblical and quite wrong.  In fact, in the first three verses, we find God helps the helpless, even those who have transgressed.  We come into this world spiritually dead, without any ability to do anything to please God, and we break His commandments.

We read of the prince of power in the air, which relates  to an evil spirit called Satan, and we are like children in darkness, not light. We are sons and daughters in  a fallen world, subject to God’s condemnation as children of wrath. The only way out of such life means a whole change of life, a new birth, We can hope because of God’s amazing grace, we can seek salvation. God by that grace, has mercy even on those who have rejected Him, by  a loving heart, without us doing anything to deserve it.

The passage returns to refer to the spiritually dead, and made us alive so we could believe. God did this with Christ, which is why salvation comes by grace alone.

Being raised up with Christ means because of the resurrection of Christ, those who believe in Christ become spiritually alive.  They are to use a term used too casually, despite it being revered in evangelical circles, we are born again. We will have new bodies when Christ returns, and be with Him in heavenly places.

This gift cannot be claimed by everyone irrespectively. We have to accept that Jesus Christ suffered a cruel death in order to grant us pardon, and we accept Him as our Lord and Savior.  The word grace is used 170 times in he Bible, and it is always free grace. This is emphasized to reject any claim that we can contribute. It is God’s love freely given. 

God cares for all people, and wants us to join in worship. People are often reluctant tocome to Church, which is a good reason to ask a friend to come with you so as to give them confidence. Stewards on  Church doors are not always welcoming. God invites you to come just as you are.

There is a lovley hymn which was written in 18 35 by a British woman, Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871), who had convinced herself that her physical disabilities left her nothing to offer God at midlifeBut God had her in mind when she went to an evangelical meeting in Brighton, England her life became alive.  The Preacher was a Swiss evangelist and as he talked to her there came a turning point in life as she came to a true meeting with Christ. The Minister, Dr Cesar Malan impressed upon her she should come to Christ as a  sinner, just as she was, to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. She went home an wrote that lovely hymn which was sung at the close of every Billy Graham Crusade. Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bids’t me come to Thee. O Lamb of God I come. Five other verses were added, and for the rest of a long life she clung to her faith.

 Amazing Grace. We talk of grace, we sing the most loved song around the world. We use the words of it saving one like us, having been lost we are now found, were blind to God’s love and goodness, but now see.  This is a gospel message. Because of Christ’s suffering on the Cross we can be free of condemnation by the mercy of God, lavishing His grace upon us.

The words of the hymn Rock of Ages written by Rev Toplady, has the words. Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling, helpless look to Thee for grace.

 It is undeserved and freely given by God, who because of such mercy, even gives to those who rejected Him, and to the worst sinner who repents. The blood shed by Christ makes us acceptable, all was paid by Jesus.  Grace is a performing power by which God is ready to say we are forgiven.

Sola Gracia, was the title used in Reformation documents, which simply means grace alone, together with faith alone and bible alone. Grace is the total favor of God, who reaches out to all those who opposed Him, and is ready to forgive the worst of sinners, and save all who turn to Him.

There is nothing we can do, and we should try to claim otherwise. It is God who decides a person is ready to be called out, and He takes the first step.  

God gave His Son to go into the world and live among us, and Jesus came and performed wonderful acts of goodness, healing all who went to Him with an illness. Then He let Himself be arrested, taken to a Court to be falsely charged, and convicted on a trumped up charge, which led to Him suffering a very cruel beating before being placed on a Cross to be crucified. By that death, all who accept it was a pardon for their sins, would be made righteous before God, who would grant forgiveness. All this was done without any good work or deeds, as if people were judged on works it would lead to people debating who was more worthy than someone else.  It is when we have been saved and become a Christian, we do as a matter of course helpful fulfilling work.

Grace alone.  A free gift of God-Undeserved- Unmerited favor of a loving God-to all who accept the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ on the Cross was to pay for their forgiveness and grant them salvation and made righteous by faith in God.


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