Verse 1. And you he hath quickened.
Is it so? Could the apostle say that to you, and to me?
1. Who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Look back to what you used to be, to the hole of the pit whence ye were digged: "You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."
2. Wherein in time past ye walked
With a terrible activity of spiritual death;
3. According to the course of this world,
according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the
children of disobedience:
He makes them to be his forge. There he blows his coals, there he fabricates his instruments. Do you not hear the noise of the infernal bellows when "the children of disobedience: swear, and use unclean language? Ah, such were some of us; but we are cleansed! The evil spirit has been driven out, and he no more works in us.
3. Among whom also we all had our
conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh
and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
You that now commune with God at the mercy-seat, you that are now his favoured children, and have received power to become the sons of God, you were once heirs of wrath: "By nature the children of wrath, even as others." Holy Scripture is not complimentary to unrenewed human nature. You may search it through and through to find a single flattering word to unregenerate man; but you will search in vain. This style of speech is justify to those who scout divine inspiration. They draw their inspiration from another fount, from a desire to walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air. They can se flattering speeches in addressing the ungodly; but the Holy Ghost never does.
4, 5. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his
great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins,
God loved us even when we were dead in sins. His love does not depend upon what we are; it flows from his own heart. It is not love of something good in us; it is love of us because of everything good in him. Here you see the greatness of his grace, in that "he loved us, even when we were dead in sins."
5. Hath quickened us together with Christ,
Ah! That accounts for everything: "together with Christ." When we get "together with Christ", then are we made alive, then are we saved. Are you. my dear hearers, "quickened together with Christ"?
5-7. (By grace ye are saved;) and hath raised
us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the
ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us
through Christ Jesus.
See how Paul's language grows and swells and rises as he proceeds! Just now, we read of "God, who is rich in mercy"; now the apostle speaks of "the exceeding riches of his grace", exceeding expression, exceeding comprehension, exceeding even sin itself, though that is all but infinite. "The exceeding riches of his grace" are infinity itself; but they all come to us "through Christ Jesus." Paul will speak of nothing good except that which comes "through Christ Jesus." This is the one conduit-pipe through which the streams of living water flow to the dead in sin; God's grace comes to us "Through Christ Jesus", and through him alone.
8. For by grace are ye saved through faith;
We have this expression, "by grace are ye saved," twice over in this chapter. Paul knew that he needed to repeat himself, or people would forget what he taught. At bottom, all the wanderings from the faith at the present day amount to this, salvation by works instead of salvation by grace. The battle of the Reformation has to be fought over again. Men are justified by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. All the enmity of natural men is against that truth. They want to be saved by their own morality, and all sorts of things that they put instead of salvation by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
8, 9. And that not of yourselves: it is a
gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.
"Oh!" said one to me just now, "the man who is saved by his own righteousness cannot do much in the line of praising." "No, my dear brother," I replied, "except he praises himself; and he can generally do that pretty well." Your self-made man usually worships his creator very earnestly; and your self-saved man glorifies him that saved him.
10. For we are his workmanship, created in
Nothing without Christ Jesus, you see. The mark of the pierced hand is on everything: "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus."
10. Unto Good works, which God hath before
ordained that we should walk in them.
God has decreed that he will have a holy people. This is his purpose, his ordinance, to which he will always stand. He will make it good. He will make sinful people holy, and disobedient people obedient to the faith.
11. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time
past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called
Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Remember what you were. You were not the chosen Israelites, you have not the covenant mark in your flesh.
12. That at that time ye were without Christ,
Which is the worst state of all, far worse than being without circumcision.
12. Being aliens from the commonwealth of
Outsiders, rank outsiders, far away from any rights, or any participation in the rights of God's children.
12. And strangers from the covenants of
Utter strangers to the covenants made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
12. Having no hope, and without God in the
It is an awful description, but a truthful description, of what we were.
13. But now
The apostle has turned over a new leaf in the book of our history: "but now." Oh, what a change from the past to the present! "But now"
13. In Christ Jesus
See how Paul keeps harping on that one string. Note how he links us with Christ Jesus. There is nothing for us without Christ and his cross.
13. Ye who sometimes were far off are made
nigh by the blood of Christ.
Paul can never have too much of Christ. It is Christ, Christ, Christ, Christ; like the harp of Anacreon. He wished to sing of Cadmus; but his harp resounded love alone; and so the harp of Paul resounds with Christ alone, Christ alone. He always comes back to that theme. It was said of one eminent commentator that he could not find Christ in the Scripture where he was; but it was said of Cocceius that he found Christ where he was not. I would rather find Christ where he is not, than not to find him where he is. There are plenty who err in that second direction nowadays.
14. For he is our peace,
Paul cannot do without Christ, you see. He will bring him in everywhere.
14. Who hath made both one, and hath broken
down the middle wall of partition between us;
There is no longer the division between Jews and Gentiles.
15. Having abolished in his flesh.
See, it is always Christ, his flesh, his blood, his life. There must always be something about him: "Having abolished in his flesh."
15, 16. The enmity, even the law of
commandments containeth in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so
making peace; and that he
I cannot help reminding you, that you must not overlook the fact that Paul will not go a hair's breadth away from Christ.
16-18. Might reconcile both unto God in one
body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you
which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by
one Spirit unto the Father.
There is the whole Trinity in that one verse, Christ, the Spirit, the Father. It needs the Trinity to make a Christian, and when you have got a Christian, it needs the Trinity to make a prayer. You cannot pray a single prayer aright without Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
19. Now therefore
Another of Paul's blessed "nows." It was "but now" a little while ago; now he has another "now." "Now therefore"
19. Ye are no more strangers and foreigners,
but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
You are not only in the kingdom, but you are in the royal household, which is better still. You are princes of the blood imperial. You are peers of the court of heaven: "and the household of God."
20. And are built
You are not loose stones; you are built
20, 21 Upon the foundation of the apostles
and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom
You see, it is always that, in him, in Christ: "in whom"
21. All the building fitly framed together
groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
There is no church without Christ, no temple without him as its cornerstone, its priest, its glory.
22. In whom ye also are builded together for
an habitation of God through the Spirit.
And all this hangs upon that first sentence, "You hath he quickened." Is it so, beloved? If you are spiritually dead, nothing here belongs to you; but if he hath quickened you, you may take every single sentence of the chapter, and say, "That is mine, and glory be the grace of God!"
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