There are a couple of deeply ingrained myths that our culture believes about evil; (1) The main problem in the world is other people, and (2) Deep down, we’re really not that bad. However, read verses 1-3 as these myths are debunked. Paul was talking about “you”—the Ephesians—but suddenly he includes himself and it becomes “we” and “all of us.” Notice that the past tense is used here for this group of people (and we can include ourselves in that group). We were dead in sin. We used to live in those sins. We lived among them at one time. Wrath is a holy God’s righteous anger at human sin. He is correct to be angry; however He is also a loving and forgiving God to those that turn to Him in repentance and faith. Many people have the idea that we have to earn our salvation by doing good things. This passage makes it clear that we can never do that. We’re spiritually dead. Salvation is a gift. And then, once we’re welcomed into a relationship of God’s grace and our faith, we are empowered to do the good things God designed us to do. Good works are good, but they’re the result of our salvation, not the path to it.
Questions for further thought:
1. In verse 1, we read “You were dead in transgressions and sins.” What does that mean? How does it make you feel?
2. According to verses 4-7, what has changed? What has God done for us?
If you know someone who’s trying hard to earn God’s grace, what can you say—in a gentle, loving way—to present the truth of Ephesians 2 to him or her? Share God’s truth in a gentle and winsome way.
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