Summary: We hear about grace all the time in church, but what is the purpose of grace? What does grace show us? Through grace we see our past, present and future in the kingdom of God.
When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award—yet receives such a gift anyway—that is a good picture of God’s unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God. – G. W. Knight
Has there ever been a time in your life that you were shown grace? Think about that time. That’s a pretty good feeling isn’t it?
I couldn’t for the life of me come up with any specific time that my parents showed me grace. I even called up my mom and asked her. Her exact words were, “You were a good kid, unlike your brother and sister.” I just laughed because she obviously didn’t know some of the things I did in high school. One time we egged Cory’s mom’s car. And the cop let us off the hook. I got pulled over about 5 times coming home from football games but didn’t get a ticket because they knew I played for Hennessey.
Grace is powerful. God’s grace rescues us from our sins. But what does His grace show us? In Eph. 2:1-6 we see our past, our present, and our future in the kingdom of God.
First we look at our past. Paul gives us 5 D’s that sum up how we used to be.
1) Dead—vs. 1
Paul says in verse one that we are dead in our transgressions, or trespasses, and sins. Before we had Christ we were lifeless, useless, and dead in sin. Transgressions (paraptomasin) means to fall away, or to fall aside, and to sin means to “miss the mark”. You’ve probably never done that have you? Missed the mark? No, never.
Put it this way, if God has a certain bulls-eye for your life, it’s in a certain place, and you aim and shoot, and it ends up somewhere else, you’ve missed that mark. We’ve all been there. Before you were a Christian you weren’t following God’s will, you were dead in your sins. We were all spiritually dead.
2) Deceived—vs. 2
Not only were we dead in our sins, but we were deceived. Verse two says that we followed the ways of the world. We were deceived by “the ruler of the kingdom of the air”, Satan, into believing that the things of this world are beneficial to us; that the direction of this world is the correct direction, but that’s wrong!
Paul says in Philippians 3:7 that he has given up the things of this world in order to be at the center of God’s plan for his life. The things of this world don’t matter. In our past, we were dead and deceived.
3) Disobedient—vs. 2
Thirdly, we were disobedient, (apeitheia) which means willful unbelief. We were being ruled by sinful nature. Verse two says, “…the spirit, who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” The NASV says we are “sons of disobedience”. Simply put, we are sons of Satan.
I heard my brother say in one of his sermons one time that you don’t have to teach a child to disobey. They can do that without any help. The trick is teaching them to be obedient. When I messed up my dad used to just beat the tar out of me. I learned pretty quickly that disobedience hurts. I didn’t want to disobey anymore. We were children of Satan, who leads us to disobedience. If you know Christ then that’s where you used to be.
4) Defiled—vs. 3
Fourthly, we were defiled. In verse three Paul says we all gratified the cravings of our sinful nature and followed its desires and thoughts. We followed those cravings, desires, and lusts. Desires are what motivate the actions of the fallen human being. It’s what lures and entices man to sin; Money, fame, fortune, EDUCATION. Whatever is the great desire of your life, we tend to follow that instead of Christ.
For me it was football…I was so caught up in what I wanted and just pushed aside what God was trying to tell me. My desires were not letting me focus on God’s plan for my life. God threw out a little obstacle to get my back on the right path. I hurt my leg, and that’s what brought me to Ozark. I was once defiled. We all were.
5) Doomed—vs. 3
It’s because of all these things that we were DOOMED!! We were all objects of wrath, children of wrath. We were dead, deceived, disobedient, and defiled, and as a result we were doomed. But that was our past. Lets move to the present.