The Book of Ephesians.
(Verse by verse study.)
By Pastor Nick Bibile
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Note; The translators of the NIV had done a terrible job in rearranging the above. The following is the NIV
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy.
Verse 1-3 shows our fallen nature, the true condition of man, total depravity. Spiritually dead toward God but active toward sin. Even the elect were the objects of God’s wrath. It shows the dark picture of our bondage to sin and the wrath of God was upon us. Oh! The terrible condition we were in as all of us were in Adam.
Ro 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die….
Verse 4 begins with But God,
There is the change of the structure.
But God! Yes. It makes all the difference in those two words. But God! Oh how sweet and comforting those two words. It shows the intervention of God.
“The ultimate destiny of every individual is decided by the will of God, and blessed it is that such be the case. If it were left to our wills, the ultimate destination of us all would be the lake of fire.” --- A. W. Pink
But God, who is rich in mercy….
The opposite is that we deserve the judgment of God, we all deserve to go to hell, to be burnt in the lake of fire for eternity as we are sinners by birth and enjoyed the pleasures of sin, violated all the laws of God.
Remember in the gospels we see blind men, sick and the people who were demon possessed crying out to Jesus thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
King David committed adultery sleeping with another man’s wife. The pleasure of sin deceived him. Later on when he was awakened by this gross sin, instead of God’s judgment he cried for God’s mercy.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (Ps 51:1)
Mercy has the meaning instead of God’s wrath there is the favor of God. God does not have just mercy but rich in mercy. Abundant in mercy.
Now is God under obligation to save all from the wrath, to give mercy to all? No. Scripture say
Ro 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
The Bible clearly points out that salvation is not of man but of God. God is sovereign and he elects whom he wished to not of the will of man. If God elects good people then all the religious nice people will go to heaven instead God elected those who are in gross sin, prostitutes, thieves, murderers, drug addicts, drunkards and wicked men to show it is not of their faith but all of God’s mercy and grace.
The majority of the church believe faith comes before regeneration. How can this be? This is false doctrine. Man is spiritually dead, alive to wickedness. But they say it was my faith that I believed in God. Let me tell you, The reason you did believe was that God changed your heart first and you don’t get any glory but God gets the glory for giving you the new heart.
Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
Apostle Paul said:
2Co 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.
Let us take a lesson of God’s mercy it is easy for one Christian to judge another Christian. It is the flesh, it’s a sin of pride. Jesus Commanded the following.
Lu 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.
This is true love. True love is not hypocritical but genuine.
Verse 4) for his great love wherewith he loved us.
Mercy had triumph over judgment those who he loved! Mercy is related to his love as it flows from it. A parent can be very angry with the child as the child is disobedient and sinful, yet there is a tender love for the child. When children get older they will understand why their parents spanked them when they were disobedient. In the same way there was an eternal love of God to the elect as he chose us before the foundation of the world. Yet God was angry with the elect as the elect were too fallen in Adam and were living in sin. Only when God regenerates the elect, we understand his great love for us.
Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared.
We were enmity with God, it was God’s love that he sent the mediator to this world to reconcile the elect of God to him.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
“Whether you are elected or not, I know not, but this I know – if you believe on Christ you will be saved.” --- Robert Murray M’Cheyne
Ro 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
This is agape love which we cannot comprehend, this is true genuine love without strings attached. This is sacrificial love who would die for ungodly wretched wicked sinful men? No one but Christ did! Because it comes only from God.
1Jo 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
Yes, we did not love him we were enemies of God but it was God who loved us first. Salvation is of God alone.
1Jo 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
We went through on verse one all are spiritually dead towards God and there is no way we can come to God unless God awakens the soul first.
Let us see the picture of a cemetery so we can understand what is meant by dead. I mentioned last time the Greek word used here is nekros, which means a dead corpse. The sinner is dead toward God but active toward sin. The unconverted are dead corpses spiritually.
Turn with me to Ezekiel 37:1
Eze 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Yes my friend, it is the same God who created the earth and the heavens can make the dead sinner alive by the power of his word. Before we saw how Jesus raised Lazarus from dead by the commandment of his word. And we see how God can raise the dead from his word.
When God calls one of his elect he also gives him the faith to believe. He draws the sinner to himself. He opens his spiritual eyes and ears so that the sinner will see his helpless condition. And he gives him a new heart that makes him willing to trust in Christ as his Saviour. This will result in salvation. This is the new birth. “….Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3: 3) Does man have control over his physical birth? Does man make a decision to be born? Of course not! God creates the babe in the womb in his own time. The one being born is totally passive. The same is true in salvation. (Daniel S. McPherson II)
“The Bible very clearly teaches that man is powerless, indeed dead, in his sin. He is entirely unable to contribute anything towards his spiritual awakening. That awakening is one hundred percent the activity of the Holy Spirit. So all the credit, all the glory and all the gratitude belong to the Holy Spirit.” --George Smeaton
When a soul that is dead in a moral or spiritual sense, is quickened and made alive, this is regeneration. It is like your cell phone when the battery is dead you need to generate electricity again to make it alive, recharge the battery. But here the sinner is totally dead and the quickening work is a passive work of God as the sinner cannot regenerate by him self, he is dead. The soul that was dead was quickened by God so it is an act of God and not of man.
Verse 4) hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
We were raised with Christ together.
Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.
By grace you are saved.
Have you ever heard the statement, “when you made a decision to follow Christ you made the most important decision in your life.” Modern Evangelicalism almost uniformly and universally teaches that in order for a person to be born again, he must first exercise faith.
This is wrong, wrong doctrine. This is called decisional regeneration. Regeneration is by man’s decision. Friends, this is tradition but as we studied regeneration is of God alone. The spiritually dead cannot make decisions to accept Christ. Regeneration comes first before faith. Being "born again," is a synonym for being "regenerate," or "being made alive," and therefore, while an essential aspect of the Christian life, it is approached from the perspective that regeneration is something God does, not man.
Louis Berkhof in his systematic theology, defines regeneration as "a work in which man is purely passive, and in which there is no place for human co-operation....The creative work of God produces new life, in virtue of which man, made alive with Christ, shares the resurrection life, and can be called a new creature." Indeed, no one will ever see heaven if they are not regenerate or "born again."
You have heard some say, “Christ has done his part and now you need to do your part.” Again my friends this is wrong doctrine. Christ did not do 70% for you and for you to do the balance 30%. Christ did 100% for you on salvation. You did not contribute anything to God in salvation.
Finally Jesus gave the great commissioned to baptize and to teach.
Mt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
How can you teach someone if you are teaching the wrong doctrine? Wrong doctrine will go from the teacher to the pupil and spread like a wild fire.
The person who resurrected the old Pelagian doctrine was Charles Finney. Some ignorant Christians who have no idea of Church History adore Finney.
In the nineteenth century, Charles Finney became very popular in America, who wrote a book on theology. Finney did not believe in original sin. This man went on to attack viciously the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement of Christ, and in addition to that, to repudiate as clearly and as loudly as he could the doctrine of justification by faith alone by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. Finney said we do not need the righteousness of Christ as we have the capacity to become righteous. Charles Finney became one of America's most revered evangelists. Finney’s teaching shaped the doctrines of the modern church and evangelism. (Finney a wolf in sheep’s clothing)
Let me ask you the question. Are you a Christian? You may say, yes. Then why is that you are a Christian and not your neighbor or some people you know? Is it because that you are more righteous than they are? Is it because that you are more smarter than they are? Some may even say that they did the right thing and they made the right response to the gospel. They trust their salvation in the works they performed. This is not grace at all.
Ro 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Grace is from God alone. "By the grace of God I am what I am;" (1 Cor 15:10)
The definition of the word is simple as it is precious. It means, God's good-will and free favor to man, in and through Christ Jesus. By Grace you are saved. God is the Fountain-Head of all grace.
By “free-will”, not one person can be saved. But by free grace, many will be saved.” --- Martin Luther
Spurgeon said, , "Oh! once I thought I could save myself by my good works, but now I find that
“Could my tears for ever flow,
Could my zeal no respite know,
All for sin could not atone,
Thou must save and thou alone.”