Summary: If you are a follower of Christ, God has a building project in you - creating you for things He planned a long time ago - but He is also building you into something greater. The question is, are you ready, or do you like going it alone?
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
You were dead (as far as the things of God) - following Satan’s rebellion and had no choice in the matter
"the ruler of the kingdom of the air" refers to Satan - the Greeks believed that demons lived in the nether regions between earth and heaven.
"the spirit now at work" means that before being made "alive" by Jesus Christ - you were dominated by evil. It doesn’t mean you were possessed, though that’s possible - but your thoughts, desires, motivations, and actions were easily influenced and controlled by Satan.
Christians are not holding themselves out as more holy - Paul says we all lived this way.
We had no choice because by our nature we were "objects of wrath." God is holy, or pure, and will pour out His wrath on anything that is not pure. Ezekiel 18:20 "The soul that sinneth it shall die."
"Objects of wrath" It’s not that we did something that got God peeved - in fact, the word "anger" is used as a noun - not a verb. The natural result of sin is punishment. In a way its like a big balance sheet - sin on one side must be balanced by wrath or punishment on the other side. Only in the case of Christians - Jesus provides that balance.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 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.
He wants us to see how bad off we were (destined for hell) to see just how good we’ve got it in Christ.
God made you alive by His work alone - all you had to do was join in
Now He’s gone overboard in giving you what you need
Specifically: do you know you’ve been "seated" with Jesus in heaven? Does the chair feel good? Hard to tell, isn’t it? It means that you have victory now - so as you go through difficult times - instead of picturing yourself mired in the situation, think of yourself seated with Christ - in control.
You are seated there now - but there is more to come - riches that are "incomparable". To "show" is a legal term - it means that God is showing convincing evidence of His great love by the church - the expression of that love. God is not this big mean being that takes pleasure in punishment - He is a loving gentle Father who longs to show mercy and grace - and He does it through Jesus.
Verses 8 & 9 are "must memorize" They are the gospel in miniature and are the conclusion of this paragraph - God did it all and lavished it on us!
He is crafting us into wonderful beings
What we are crafted for is to do things for God. Its not that these good works earn us the salvation God gives us - its that we are made into beings like Him, who love to lavish good things on other people.
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
We were strangers to God, separated from Him, and from the Jews
We were without hope (as are all those who do not have Jesus)