Summary: Full text sermons focusing on Ephesians 2:8-10
©Copyright September 30, 2012 by Rev. Bruce Goettsche Series: Ephesians
Our text this morning is one of the most eloquent and beautiful passages in the Bible. Ephesians 2:8-9 are two of the most memorized verses among Christians; for good reason. These verses describe what it means to be a follower of Christ.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. [Eph. 1:5b-10]
In this passage Paul gives three essential truths of Christianity that are the foundation of the Christian faith.
We are Made Right With God by Grace Alone (Sola Gratia)
In verse 5 we have this simple but powerful statement: “It is by grace you have been saved”. The word grace is used in many ways in our day. Sometimes it describes elegance, such as in a graceful dancer. Sometimes we talk about someone being gracious and we mean the person was kind and welcoming. However, when the Bible uses the word grace it refers to an “undeserved act of mercy”.
In verse 9 Paul underscored this view. He said we are saved by grace, not by works. Grace is not something we EARN; it is something we receive. In the book of Romans (chapter 4) the Apostle Paul used Abraham as an example. He said Abraham was not made right with God because of something he did. He was made right with God because He believed God’s promise of mercy and grace. Paul argues that if Abraham would have been made right with God because of something he DID, salvation would be a payment or a wage, not a gift.
The Bible affirms not only that we are saved by grace rather than our good works. It affirms that this is the only way we can be forgiven and brought into a relationship with God. In the Reformation this truth was affirmed by two Latin words: Sola Gratia (meaning: Grace Alone).
The Biblical testimony is this: the only thing that you and I bring to salvation is the sin which has made salvation necessary. Let’s review the progression Paul has taught us:
• We were dead in our sin and could not respond positively to Him. We are rebels by nature and in the depth of our heart.
• God chose to save us; we did not choose to seek Him.
• God accomplished our salvation through the work of Christ not through our behavioral reforms.
• He “made us alive” by His Holy Spirit and then drew us to Himself.
Our text adds yet another dimension to this grace: even the faith that we exercise to come to Christ is a result of God’s grace. “For it is by grace that we are saved, through faith, and even this is not of yourselves, it is a gift from God.” God plants and stirs up the faith in us that leads us to come to Him. Even that faith we exercise, is a gift.
We are truly saved sola gratia, by grace alone. God in His grace has provided for our salvation, has awakened us from our dead state in sin, and He has provided us with a faith to believe all that God has done.
Why would God do things this way? Paul says it is so no one can boast. God saved us by grace so that instead of measuring each other, ranking each other, climbing over each other, we would be united by our dependence on Him alone for our salvation.
This Salvation Begins the Moment We Believe
The second great truth is found in these words,
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
This is not written in the future tense, it is written in the PAST tense. The significance of this, I believe, is that it shows that salvation is not something that is only in the future (“I am saved, so someday I am going to go to Heaven”), it also impacts us in the PRESENT.
Think about a baby who is born into the Royal family. That baby may not be King or Queen until sometime in the far future. However, that child is immediately part of the royal family; they are set apart and their life is set on a royal course from that first moment. Every day of that child’s life is impacted by this reality. The same is true of every believer. When we become a child of God we immediately become a part of God’s family. We don’t immediately become what we will be, but we will never again be what we used to be.