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Ephesians 2:4-7


Darlene

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Just so y'all know, and consider this a begging invitation lol, but I really like it when y'all share your thoughts on the different scriptures as we go through them. I'm no theologian or expositor of the Word, I'm just doing that thang I do so well (in my mind lol), which is winging it. I know now everyone is interested in it(and that's ok, I am lol), and many get shy. For the record though, I really enjoy hearing what you see as we go along, so I just wanted to put that out there.

 

Lord,

 

I feel like a broken record, but I think it's appropriate to begin each day with a prayer along the lines...

 

I have no idea what I'm doing here, and I need and humbly ask that Your Spirit would guide me, and us, as we seek to study Your Word. They can very easily be just 'words', but I seek more. I need to understand, to grow, and to comprehend those things that You would have us learn.

 

I trust You to accomplish that which we cannot do ourselves...which is pretty much everything.

 

4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

 

Wesleys simple statement is kinda sweet and rich in its simplicity when he says, Mercy removes misery: love confers salvation..

 

I know what mercy means, but I still looked it up in the dictionary to see the formal, literal meaning of it. It states, in part, that it is "compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power; a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion". Taking that one step further I then looked up 'compassion' and it's formal meaning is, "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it".

 

Perhaps a way to look at this for me is that God was conscious of my distress and suffering under the self inflicted bondage of sin, and desired to alleviate it. I 'feel' that much more than it appears in the typewritten word though.

 

Calvin writes, "But God, who is rich in mercy. Now follows the second member of the sentence, the substance of which is, that God had delivered the Ephesians from the destruction to which they were formerly liable; but the words which he employs are different. God, who is rich in mercy, hath quickened you together with Christ. The meaning is, that, there is no other life than that which is breathed into us by Christ: so that we begin to live only when we are ingrafted into him, and enjoy the same life with himself. This enables us to see what the apostle formerly meant by death, for that death and this resurrection are brought into contrast. To be made partakers of the life of the Son of God, — to be quickened by one Spirit, is an inestimable privilege.

 

On this ground he praises the mercy of God, meaning by its riches, that it had been poured out in a singularly large and abundant manner. The whole of our salvation is here ascribed to the mercy of God. But he presently adds, for his great love wherewith he loved us. This is a still more express declaration, that all was owing to undeserved goodness; for he declares that God was moved by this single consideration. “Herein,” says John, “is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us. — We love him because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:10,19.)"

 

I understand what he's saying when he talks about how there is no other life than that which is breathed into us by Christ. There are times, when I pray, where, in trying to expressed to Him, how deeply I need Him, that I'll say things like...'You are like the air I breathe', or 'You are the heart muscle that pumps the life giving blood that lets me live'...feeble attempts to communicate my great and deep need and desire for Him.

 

Clarke shares, "But God, who is rich in mercy] As they were corrupt in their nature, and sinful in their practice, they could possess no merit, nor have any claim upon God; and it required much mercy to remove so much misery, and to pardon such transgressions.

 

His great love] God's infinite love is the groundwork of our salvation; in reference to us that love assumes the form of mercy, and that mercy provides the saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore the apostle adds, ver. 5: By grace ye are saved - it is by God's free mercy in Christ that ye are brought into this state of salvation. See on ver. 8."

 

Now, I know that I think different that others at times lol, buttttttttttt...

 

The word that jumped out in Clarke's commentary was 'nor have any CLAIM on God'...

 

I'm having a hard time grasping that. I know what it's saying, but I guess I'm wondering to myself, if that in the absence of the death and ressurection of Christ and the gift of Salvation that He freely offers, if we would find ourselves in a desperate want/desire/need for Him, but would be unable to 'claim' that relationship because of the sin that stood between us. I guess the thought of wanting and needing so desperately a relationship with Him, and not ever being able to have it, would be such a heartbreaking thing. Thankfully, His love transcends that, and we are able to live in Christ and have a life with the Father.

 

5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; (by grace ye are saved;)

 

Wesley writes, "He hath quickened us together with Christ - In conformity to him, and by virtue of our union with him. By grace ye are saved - Grace is both the beginning and end. The apostle speaks indifferently either in the first or second person; the Jews and gentiles being in the same circumstance, both by nature and by grace. This text lays the axe to the very root of spiritual pride, and all glorying in ourselves. Therefore St. Paul, foreseeing the backwardness of mankind to receive it, yet knowing the absolute necessity of its being received, again asserts the very same truth, ver. 8, in the very same words."

 

Note to self: spiritual pride scares me.

 

Calvin shares, "Even when we were dead in sin. These words have the same emphasis as similar expressions in another Epistle.

 

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died, for the ungodly. — But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

(Romans 5:6,8.)

 

Whether the words, by grace ye are saved, have been inserted by another hand, I know not; but, as they are perfectly agreeable to the context, I am quite willing to receive them as written by Paul. They show us that he always feels as if he had not sufficiently proclaimed the riches of Divine grace, and accordingly expresses, by a variety of terms, the same truth, that everything connected with our salvation ought to be ascribed to God as its author. And certainly he who duly weighs the ingratitude of men will not complain that this parenthesis is superfluous."

 

Clarke finally comments, "Even when we were dead in sins] Dead in our souls; dead towards God; dead in law; and exposed to death eternal, Hath quickened us together with Christ] God has given us as complete a resurrection from the death of sin to a life of righteousness, as the body of Christ has had from the grave. And as this quickening, or making alive, was most gratuitous on God's part, the apostle, with great propriety, says; By grace ye are saved."

 

The desire for Him, for salvation, etc., is something that even He puts in us when it states 'hath quicked us...?

 

6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus;

 

Wesley's notes reveal, "And hath raised us up together - Both Jews and gentiles already in spirit; and ere long our bodies too will be raised. And made us all sit together in heavenly places - This is spoken by way of anticipation. Believers are not yet possessed of their seats in heaven; but each of them has a place prepared for him."

 

Calvin further states, "And hath raised us up together. The resurrection and sitting in heaven, which are here mentioned, are not yet seen by mortal eyes. Yet, as if those blessings were presently in our possession, he states that we have received them; and illustrates the change which has taken place in our condition, when we were led from Adam to Christ. It is as if we had been brought from the deepest hell to heaven itself. And certainly, although, as respects ourselves, our salvation is still the object of hope, yet in Christ we already possess a blessed immortality and glory; and therefore, he adds, in Christ Jesus. Hitherto it does not appear in the members, but only in the head; yet, in consequence of the secret union, it belongs truly to the members. Some render it, through Christ; but, for the reason which has been mentioned, it is better to retain the usual rendering, in Christ. We are thus furnished with the richest consolation. Of everything which we now want, we have a sure pledge and foretaste in the person of Christ."

 

Clarke's commentary is, "And hath raised us up together in Christ] Or rather, by Christ; his resurrection being the proof that he had made the full atonement, and that we might be justified by his blood. Believing, therefore, the record which God gave of his Son, we received this atonement, and were raised from a death of sin to a life of righteousness; and now we sit in heavenly places-we have a right to the kingdom of God, anticipate this glory, and are indescribably happy in the possession of this salvation, and in our fellowship with Christ Jesus."

 

The thoughts that cross my mind as I ponder this particular scripture are in regard to 'raised us into heavenly places'.

 

I understand that our physical bodies remain here on earth for now. But I'm wondering if, upon our genuine acceptance of salvation, if the 'raised into heavenly places' is something that really does happen in our soul...our spirit. Our inability to come into the Father's presence when under the old Adam sinful nature, and our ability to come before the Holy Father, washed in the blood of Christ, spiritually, through our prayers and communications with Him in our hearts and minds and perhaps our spirit. I dunno, but to me, it kinda makes sense that way.

 

Lord? Show me what that means please.

 

7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

 

Wesley says, "The ages to come - That is, all succeeding ages."

 

Calvin writes, "That in the ages to come. The final and true cause — the glory of God — is again mentioned, that the Ephesians, by making it the subject of earnest study, might be more fully assured of their salvation. He likewise adds, that it was the design of God to hallow, in all ages, the remembrance of so great goodness. This exhibits still more strongly the hateful character of those by whom the free calling of the Gentiles was attacked; for they were endeavoring instantly to crush that scheme which was destined to be remembered through all ages. But we, too, are instructed by it, that the mercy of God, who was pleased to admit our fathers into the number of his own people, deserves to be held in everlasting remembrance. The calling of the Gentiles is an astonishing work of divine goodness, which ought to be handed down by parents to children, and to their children’s children, that it may never be forgotten or unacknowledged by the sons of men.

 

The riches of his grace in his kindness. The love of God to us in Christ is here proved, or again declared, to have had its origin in mercy. That he might shew, says he, the exceeding riches of his grace. How? In his kindness towards us, as the tree is known by its fruit. Not only, therefore, does he declare, that the love of God was free, but likewise that God displayed in it the riches, — the extraordinary pre-eminent riches of his grace. It deserves notice, also, that the name of Christ is repeated; for no grace, no love, must be expected by us from God, except through his mediation."

 

And finally, Clarke's commentary, "That in the ages to come] God has produced us an example, and one which shall be on record through all generations, that he quickens dead souls; that he forgives the sins of the most sinful, when they repent and believe in Christ Jesus. So that what God has done for the sinners at Ephesus will serve as an encouragement to all ages of the world; and on this evidence every preacher of the Gospel may boldly proclaim that Christ saves unto the uttermost all that come unto God through him. And thus the exceeding riches of his grace will appear in the provision he has made for the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles.

 

This observation of the apostle is of great use and importance; because we are authorized to state, in all the successive ages of the world, that he who saved the sinners at Ephesus is ever ready to save all who, like them, repent of their sins, and believe in Christ Jesus."

 

Heavenly Father,

 

Thank You for Your Word. I feel as if I'm slowly building a foundational platform that is unmoveable, as I study the scriptures. I've always 'known' alot about the Bible (or so I thought), but I'm finding that as I take this slowly, and methodically, and taking the time to ponder each individual verse, that something different is happening. Whereas, in the past, as is/was my usual style, I breezed through life saying "ah, ok, I get it...thank you, I'll be back...", I now feel as if You are slowing me way down, pointing to depths I never understood before. It's as if an 'anchoring' is occuring, by Your hand, for Your glory, and I just hafta tell You thank You. I know I need it, and I want You to do this work in my life.

 

May Your Spirit breathe life over this study today. May Your words be fertile and plant themselves in all our hearts. By Your hand You will water them, nourish them and cause them to grow if we are willing.

 

I am willing, Lord.

 

 

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I know that I learned just how dependent I am on God when I became really ill. I found the same thing, that I cannot even take a breath without God allowing it. That is how dependent we are upon Him. The thought of it just was so humbling, so overwhelming. I feel so many emotions over it all. I feel comforted to know He is watching over me that much. At the same time, I feel what I suppose is the "fear of the Lord" in that I know God watches over my every move. I feel such great, great respect and awe over who He is !

The comforting thing to me is how His mercies are new every morning, they never stop. He keeps providing new mercy for us.

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