Summary: Death to life - what an extreme! In this passage Paul talks about the amazing thing God did for us through Christ for those who follow Jesus - He took us from one extreme to another - from death to life!
Think of extremes. What extremes can you think of? Perhaps of drought and flood at the moment. A few years ago, in 2004, a geographer called Nick Middleton made a series of documentaries titled Going to extremes. During these documentaries, he visited the hottest, coldest, wettest and driest inhabited places on the planet. In my own experience, I have experienced the extremes of a 40C Mongolian winter and a +45 Dubai summer. But what is an extreme? It is a comparison. A +45C day is actually not so hot to a Dubaian unless they came straight from Mongolia!
We dont normally appreciate one extreme unless we know the other. Here in Queensland hot and humid is normal for us, who live here. But for a Mongolian, it would be extreme. Once I returned from Mongolia in January their winter, our summer. I went from 30C to +30C in 2 days! Experiencing one extreme makes us appreciate the other extreme. Think of other extremes. Wet, dry. Slow, fast. Big, small.
Here in Eph 2:1-10 we see the ultimate extreme. Death, and life.
Theres nothing much more extreme than seeing someone you know alive and then seeing them dead. In fact it is so extreme that most people recognise that the soul of the person is no longer there. Todays passage talks of the extremes of life and death. But with a difference.
Normally we have life, and then death. But here in our passage today, we have death - and then life! While most of us have seen life to death, probably no one here has seen death to life. But this is what Paul talks about here. And hes not talking about someone else. Hes talking about us. About me, about you. He starts this passage by telling us that we were dead. Verse 1 says that we were dead in our transgressions.
Now cast our minds back. What have we been talking about in Ephesians? Ephesians 1:3-10 speaks of spiritual blessings. Eph 1:11-14 talks of our inheritance and that we are included in Christ. Eph 1:15-23 is a prayer for revelation, for illumination of the hope to which we are called, and of the riches of our glorious inheritance and of Gods immeasurable power.
I hope we have been appreiciating these things and thanking God for them. Praising Him for them, and telling others who dont Him about them. But to really understand how amazing all these things are we need to understand where we have come from. We need to understand the depths from which God has lifted us.
And where have we come from? We have come from death! Is there anything more dead than death? More lifeless than death? In the first few verses of this passage, we see a grim picture of death. A grim picture of sin, and bondage to sin. That we were under Gods wrath. And then Paul talks about how God rescued us from that!
Lets have a look at the passage:
EPH 2:1 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. 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.
This passage is a passage of extremes. In it t we see three things:
1. From where we have come.
2. Where we have come to.
3. The means by which this amazing change happened!
And to really appreciate where we are now we first need to go with Paul and visit where we came from. We need to have a look down to the pits. Verse 1 makes no bones about it we were dead. Dead in our transgressions and sins. What are sins? They are wrongdoings. They are not keeping Gods laws. Gods ethics, Gods morals. For example, the instuctions we find in in the Sermon on the Mount and even later in Ephesians. Commands about how we ought to live. So our sins, our transgressions are so bad, that we were dead in our sins.