Ephesians was penned by the Apostle Paul (or his scribe) for the church in the ancient city of Ephesus.
4. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5. even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6. and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7. that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God.
The breakdown and explanation.
Verse 4 talks about God and His great mercy, ‘which mercy?’ Some might ask. The mercy is that He has provided a way to resume the relationship Humanity had with God in the Garden of Eden, that relationship was one of family and close friendship.
The second half of the verse goes on to say ‘because of His great love with which He loved us’, in John 3:16 it is written ‘for God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’, in the book of Genesis Abraham was asked by God to offer his son as a sacrifice, this was a test of Abraham’s faith in God.
As Abraham was nearing the mountain where the sacrifice was to be offered, Isaac asked his father where the sacrifice was, he said “here is the wood and the fire, where is the sacrifice?”, to which Abraham replied “God will provide Himself a sacrifice”, this was a statement of faith. Upon arrival Abraham set the wood in order and then bound his son ready for the sacrifice, he then raised the knife above Isaac ready to sacrifice, that was when God called out and said “do not harm the boy, see the sacrifice I have prepared”, when Abraham looked around there was a ram stuck by the horns in a thorn bush. Jesus was the lamb who was led to the to the slaughter, just like the ram caught by the horns in the thorn bush, Jesus was caught in the purpose for which He was destined, and He also had a crown of thorns hammered into the flesh of His head.
If Abraham had not acted in obedience and faith to God’s request, the precedence would not have been made which then allowed God to offer His Son on the altar of the cross, thus bringing me back into relationship with God. That sacrifice was the greatest act of Love Jesus could possibly do for all of us, that is He willingly agreed and obeyed when His Father asked Him to be an offering to permanently remove the stain of sin from whoever received the free gift that is a result of the sacrifice, that is everlasting life with God and in Jesus, this is the great love which with He loved all us.
The first half of verse five goes on to say ‘even when we were dead in trespasses’, it says dead, but I’m breathing, what could be meant by dead? I was dead to God, because God is perfection personified, and He cannot be in the presence of sin because sin is imperfection, trespass is the biblical word for sin, or wrongdoings. It goes on to say ‘made us alive together with Christ’. The word Christ is another biblical word which means ‘The anointed of God’.
Jesus was the first to receive the filling or inward anointing of God when He was baptised in the river Jordan, when He rose to His feet out of the water the Spirit of God came to Him in the shape of a white dove, the Holy Spirit then entered and became one with Him.
Jesus went on to spread the word of God’s kingdom throughout the land of Israel from that time until His crucifixion spreading the good news of the Kingdom of God, the Gospel.
The Gospel was spread and miracles were carried out by Jesus and the disciples, which they did up to the time Jesus was handed over to the Romans for crucifixion on the altar of the cross where He was sacrificed to pay the price for us all, and he did die on the cross.
It is written of Him in the Book of Isaiah 53 and in Psalms 22 that His death would be with the rejects of society, and His burial would be with the rich, which it was. He then descended into Hell for three days, a day was from six in the morning until six in the evening, and if he died at five to six, that would have been classed as one day. While in Hell He overcame Satan and took back the inheritance Satan stole from Humanity when he deceived Adam and Eve in the garden.
Verse six should be a reason for celebration for any Christian, ‘and raised us up together’, after Jesus defeated Satan in Hell, He was resurrected before ascending into Heaven, when He ascended He led captivity captive, this ‘captivity’ was known as Abraham’s bosom, which I believe was located between Heaven and Hell, it was a place where those who had died but had not lived evil lives waited for the day of God’s judgement, Jesus passed through there on His way to His resurrection and took all who believed Him.
He was the promised Messiah they had been waiting for. It is recorded in the bible that many of the early prophets and others who had died were seen walking and talking for forty days before Jesus’ ascension. Since that time the spirit of anyone who is in Christ goes directly to Heaven once they pass away due to the way being prepared by Christ, hence we are raised up together with Christ.
In the next section of the verse it says that we are seated together with Christ in Heavenly places. Jesus is the Son of God who is God Himself, this is because He is the word of God manifested in the flesh on Earth, God and His word are one and cannot be separated. We are in Christ, seated at the right hand of power (God), no God is not beside Himself.
God has three parts just we all do, which is how we are made in God’s image, He has a soul (the Godhead), His word was made flesh and is or should be the head of the church (His body), and He is a Spirit. We are a spirit, we have a soul and we live in a body, and being in Christ, we are seated with Jesus at the right hand of God who is seated on His throne. Jesus paid the price, He paved the way and He opened the gates so that we could be with Him for eternity, so long as we are in Him.
Number seven mentions His grace and kindness. Grace is something very special given to us by God, it is His unmerited favour given to us, we have received rewards we don’t deserve and didn’t earn, made possible by the sacrifice on the cross, we get given what we don’t deserve instead of what we do deserve, it is written in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fallen short of His glory, and having fallen short through sin.
Our punishment should be terrible, as in beyond description and eternal when we pass from this existence, but because of the willing and obedient sacrifice of the Saviour on the cross, we who have accepted that He paid the price for me and whoever chooses to accept that He did it for each one of us individually, and have accepted Him as Lord and Saviour, have been granted this special gift Grace by God.
The kindness that is mentioned comes from His love for us, a love that is perfect and without condition, He never withholds His love from us, we choose to separate ourselves from His love by choosing to follow our own hazardous way, instead of the safe way that leads into His loving embrace which He has planned for us from before time.
God is not responsible for the evil that is in the world, it is written in the book of Genesis just before the flood that God says “the thoughts and intents in the Human heart are continually toward evil”, the evil is our own doing at the inspiration of Satan.
Verse eight says that we are saved by grace through faith, but not from ourselves, it is a gift of God. This grace is the same as was mentioned in the previous verse, the grace which God gave to us which saw His Son pay the price for all of the sin of all of humanity for all of time on the cross for whoever will accept that He did it for them as individuals, took an act of faith to accept that what is written actually happened, and it happened for our benefit, each one of us individually.
This faith does not come from within ourselves, it is a gift from God, given freely to us in order to enable us to ask Jesus into our hearts and accept a better free gift, salvation and total forgiveness of all of our past, present and future sins, but as I mentioned in my last blog, refusing to forgive others for what they have done against us negates the work on the cross and exempts us from the gift of grace and salvation, which separates us from God for as long as we refuse to forgive, the good news is that once we let go of all that separates us from God’s loving embrace, His grace pours out all over us again and He is able to care for us. Simple isn’t it.
I hope you enjoy the read, and have food for thought going forward in life.
God bless you all.