Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Through the planning and accomplishing of our salvation, God has vindicated His Holy name forever. We are the living testimony to the surpassing riches of His grace. (#18 in the Every Spiritual Blessing series)

In verse 7 of Ephesians 2, Paul is finishing the statement that he begins in verse 4. But I want to back up just for a moment, all the way to the beginning of the chapter, and let’s refresh ourselves as to the progression of Paul’s address here.

He reminds his readers that they were dead in trespasses and sins. Not only that, but the proof of that statement; the evidence in their very persons, was that they walked ~ indicating a deliberation and a willingness on their part to do so ~ according to the course of this world, and even according to the prince of the power of the air, that being Satan himself, of the spirit, says Paul, that even now is actively working in the sons of disobedience.

Now if there is any doubt in the mind of the reader as to whom Paul is referring, and if any are exercising this tendency we all have to read or hear this sort of information and think ‘yeah, that sure does apply to these other people I know’. Or, even worse, to get some vague picture of folks in first century Ephesus, sitting around reading this letter about themselves and forgetting that the Holy Spirit has preserved it for us in the Holy Scriptures because it applies to us also... just in case it might escape our notice, Paul writes, “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of the flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest”.

So just as clearly as in the first three chapters of his letter to the Romans, in just these first 3 verses of Ephesians 2, Paul has pronounced the condemnation of all mankind, calling them and us ‘children of wrath’, and in effect, signed the death certificate of us all.

If we understand all of this, if we are able to see ourselves in it and agree with Paul that this is so, and that the picture is very dark and bleak indeed, then we have to rejoice and give praises to God when we go on to his next thought and see:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

Whew! What a relief! Can you agree? If you meditate on these opening 6 verses and give conscious thought to the contrast between our utterly hopeless condition of guilt and death before a holy God, and his rich mercy and love and kindness toward us, in making us alive, and raising us up to a place of honor in the heavenly places in his Son, and if you truly understand that it is you, YOU, he is talking about, can you hold yourself back from rejoicing? If so, then you need to take another look. Meditate on it some more.

But we can’t linger here long. There’s something else I want you to see today, and it is far more important than what we’ve contemplated in verses 4 through 6.

You see, the phrase that begins verse 7 {and I think it’s interesting that those who made verse divisions chose this particular place to end verse 6 and begin verse 7}, “So that”, “That”, “In order that”, however your translation puts it, indicates that Paul is about to tell us WHY God did all of this in and through and for us. And I think the reason might surprise you a little.

Listen: “...in order that {so that} in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace...”


We think of salvation as something for us. We think in terms of our sins and our need.

And that too, is in our nature, isn’t it? We always tend to begin our investigation of any new prospect with the question, “what’s in it for me?”, “what are the risks?“ “What will I get out of it?“ “How much of a commitment do I have to make?“ and the message of salvation is no different.

That’s how we present it to people, because it’s really the only way to get their attention. You have a need. Jesus meets that need, and here’s how. If you believe what I’m telling you, here is what you can have.

But if you pay attention to what Paul is saying here, first and foremost, the plan of salvation is to demonstrate the Father’s glory.

We can get a type of this in the account of the Exodus. If you study the account of the Israelites living in bondage in Egypt, and God’s deliverance of them through Moses, you can see a type of all mankind in slavery to sin and to Satan, and Moses as a type of Christ who, having confronted the enemy and defeating him, leads his people to a new life, as a new nation. So continuing with that type, and thinking of all the miracles God did in Egypt in the salvation of His people, what was God’s message to Pharaoh?

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