Paul is saying to us and the Ephesians here to not forget where and what we came from. What did Jesus save us from. In verse 1 he calls Satan the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” Make no mistake, Satan may be prince of this world but that is where his authority begins and ends. He may be the prince but he is not the King. We were all born sinners, and it is Satan’s aim to keep us that way.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7
Also, make no mistake God, loved us before we even thought about trying to earn it. Not that we ever can earn His love! God’s great love for us came to us because of Him not because of us or anything we could ever do to earn it. God loves us and makes us alive with Christ. God’s grace is what saves us! And because of His love, because of His grace, because He saves us we get to be in Christ! Once you become a Christian your identity is in Christ. When God looks on us, He does not look at us as who we were, or even as we are now, He looks on us the same as He looks on Jesus. He just sees Jesus all over us.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
We have been saved by grace through faith, but it is not our faith that saved us, it was the gift from God. Nothing we can do or believe could ever be enough to save us. It only comes to us because of the faith that God puts in us. What we do is also not of us, it is from God. I love that phrase “for we are his workmanship”! I read that the Jerusalem Bible translates workmanship as “work of art”. We are His work of art, he created us to do works for Him, and look He prepared us “beforehand” for the work that He has for us to do, and even more, we just have to walk in them.
In the following verses Paul wants them to remember that though they are Gentiles, though WE are Gentiles, we are no longer separated from Christ. Paul wants them to get rid of the things that divide us. The reconciliation is not just for us with Christ, it is also for people groups to be reconciled, such as the circumcision (Jews) and the uncircumcision (Gentiles), Jesus is greater than our political differences, our racial differences, our economic differences, any language, geographic or anything that divides us. When we have Jesus all over us, we should be able to live in harmony with the differences and be one in Christ.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Ephesians 2:13-16
If we have Jesus, if we have accepted what He did for us on the cross, we all have access to the Father. No matter what earthly differences may be between us, we are all His children! Jesus came to build in us, but we are all to be a part of the building, the kingdom of God.
“So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” Ephesians 2:19-21
When we individually keep our minds and our focus on Jesus, God so masterfully fits us together to form His “whole structure”. Each of us have our place, each of us have our work that belongs in His holy temple. Jesus is the center of it all!
Oh sweet Jesus may we not forget what you saved us from. May we walk in your works, so that we will build together your temple!
Please pray for your churches and especially your pastor and church leaders today!