Summary: Salvation is a wonderful gift from God. Jesus changed our past, present and future, let us see how He did this through His amazing grace.
Introduction: Each of us would have to admit that our lives are better now, since Jesus is our Lord and Savior.
Paul wrote in this passage about the salvation of Gentiles and gave us a series of time lines in which God was and still is working on our behalf.
Literally, Paul is telling us that we were saved, are being saved, and will be saved, all through the work of Jesus Christ.
How can we look into this passage and see God continually working to bring about our salvation?
1. We were saved in the past (vs. 1-3).
A. As we can easily remember, what were we? We were dying in sin as Paul begins in this passage. Sadly, sin is still the biggest killer of people today. It is often the unknown killer or the killer that is ignored until it is too late.
B. God made such a difference in our lives, because we were dying, but in Christ we have been given life, and life eternal (vs. 1).
C. Why were we in such bad shape? Because we were following the course of all other unbelievers, we were being led by our fleshly lusts, we were easily under the influence of Satan himself, and our only determination was to satisfy our every whim and desire (vs. 2-3).
D. Certainly the sin nature passed down to us from Adam put us in direct contradiction with everything that God desires for us. We were not led by the Spirit of God, we were being led by our flesh.
E. As Paul tells us, we were not trying to serve and please God, we wanted to please only ourselves. In no way were we acting like the people of God, we were living in disobedience, and we were just like the rest of humanity heading for destruction and upon us was the wrath of God.
F. It should thrill our hearts, that God, out of love for us, sent us His Son to die for our sins (John 3:16). It is no wonder that Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to die for us (John 15:13). In telling His disciples about self-sacrificing love, little did they know that within days, Jesus would demonstrate that exact type of love as He died on the cross for the sins of all mankind. All this was done to provide salvation for us in the past.
2. We are being saved today (vs. 4-6).
A. In order to change our state (vs. 4), God demonstrated His mercy and His love by making sure there was a remedy for the sin-sickness we had (Romans 3:24-25). In mercy God did not give us what we deserved which was wrath and separation. In love God also gave us something we did not deserve and that was Jesus and His sacrifice. God did it all, because He is a good God.
B. Jesus Himself became the payment for our sin. As John said to us, Jesus became the propitiation, a ten dollar word that simply means, He was the payment for our sins (I John 2:2). We were dead in sin, but now through Christ we have life. Sin was going to pay us a dividend, which was death (vs. 5), but Jesus gave us a better return, He gave us life (Romans 6:23).
C. We now are the children of God (John 1:12), because we have accepted God's gift of eternal life through Jesus. Although, I live in the state of West Virginia, and my driver's license says the same thing. I want you to know that I am actually and presently a citizen of heaven (vs. 6), and I also want you to know that I have an inheritance waiting for me that can never be taken away (I Peter 1:4). I am assured of all this today, because God was so gracious to me, and He has changed me now and in the future. My future looks brighter than ever.
3. We will be saved in the future (vs. 7-10).
A. From the time we accept Jesus Christ, we are children of God, we are part of the bride of Christ. Being known by these titles reveals to us the richness of God's grace (vs. 7), but it also demonstrates the power of God's patience and longsuffering (II Peter 3:9).
B. We are also aware of the change God's gift has wrought in our standing before God. His grace saved us, our faith strengthens us, and we come to recognize that we could not have been saved by our own power or goodness, it was God's gift through His Son Jesus that has made it possible for us to proclaim we are born again. Our standing also reminds us of our weakness. Nothing that I could have done could have provided a method for me to be saved, only God could do that (vs. 8-9).