Saved with a Purpose (Part One)- Ephesians 2:1-10

In our previous post, we discovered what we are saved from, God’s wrath. In this post, we will now examine what we are saved for. In the Scripture, we find that we are saved for a reason, that there is a purpose to our salvation. If asked “Why are we saved”?, most would answer “so that we go to heaven when we die”. This is certainly true, and eternity with God in heaven is certainly the eternal purpose of our salvation, but in Scripture our salvation has more than one purpose. There are also temporal purposes to our salvation, and we will examine Ephesians 2 in order to discover the primary purpose for our salvation here and now, before we go to heaven when we die. Paul begins Ephesians 2 by telling us we were “dead in your transgressions and sins”. The you he addresses here is the church, all born again believers in Jesus Christ. He then describes our former state of existence, we “were” dead. Death in the bible is not non-existence or inactivity, it is separation. We were dead not because we didn’t exist (we certainly did) or didn’t do anything (we surely did lots of things) but because we were separated from God, who is the source of life. We were physically alive but spiritually dead, separated from God because of our transgressions and sins. Transgressions here is a Greek word meaning a stumbling or misstep, and sins is a Greek word meaning to miss the mark. We were sinners by behavior and nature, and this separated us from God. Because we were sinners we used to “live” (peripateo- to walk about) in transgressions and sins, our lifestyle was characterized by sin. Because of this we followed the “ways of this world”, the world’s way of seeing things and of understanding reality. We conformed to the culture, not to Christ. The ways of this world originate with ruler of the kingdom of the air (the devil), who is the “spirit” behind the ways of this world, and who uses those “ways” to control people and cause them to live as enemies of God, in disobedience to God’s word and ways. We must note the use of “all of us” in verse three here, for Paul tells us every believer also lived in (Greek en here, which is in, not among) them before we accepted Christ. We were not merely among them, but active participants with them, gratifying the “lusts of the flesh”. The use of the word flesh in Paul is not describing here skin and bones, it is not a physical but a metaphysical thing for Paul. The flesh here is our “fallenness”, that part of us we inherited from Adam which makes us desire to be our own “lord”, to do what we want to do when we want to do it, and not submit to any authority but our own. We see that Paul does not mean physical flesh here by his next statement, literally “working the flesh’s desire and thoughts”. The fact that this flesh has thoughts shows it is a non-physical thing, and unbelievers follow its desires and thoughts. Each of us was once controlled by the flesh, since we were by nature “children of wrath”, and our behavior merely verified what we were. Paul has given us the ” bad news” in verses 1-3, in our next post we will examine the “good news” of verses 4-10.

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