Ephesiansby Robert M. Solomon
Verse 4 begins with “But because”. “But” refers to how God has intervened in our sorry state of affairs. “Because” points to the motivation behind this intervention—His great love for us. It is amazing, and a reason for our eternal wonder, that God would have such love for unlovely objects of wrath as us.
Three more words are used to describe the manner in which God has treated us: mercy (Ephesians 2:4), grace (v. 5), and kindness (v. 7). Mercy is when we are spared what we deserve (punishment). God is “rich in mercy”, forgiving us even when we rebelled against him and deserved eternal condemnation. Grace is when we are given what we do not deserve. God has granted us so many blessings in Christ, none of which we deserve. And kindness is shown in how God has acted towards us in Christ (v. 7). We are undeserving of all the wonderful ways in which God has treated us.
There are also three things that God has done in our lives for which we must forever be grateful. These are the three verbs in the long sentence (vv. 3–10). Firstly, God has “made us alive with Christ” (v. 5), even as we were once dead and helpless in our transgressions and sins. We were regenerated by the grace, mercy, and power of God and made into new persons (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 2:6). Pastor and Bible teacher A. W. Tozer observes that in Christ, human nature is “received, embraced, welcomed, and enthroned at the right hand of the Father”.
Each of these actions was done in association with Christ. They refer to the key events in the life of Christ: resurrection, ascension, and session (His rule from the right hand of God). Christ has pioneered a new story for humankind so that we no longer need to be trapped in the old story. He is our Forerunner (Hebrews 6:20 ESV). This story of Jesus becomes our story when we place our faith in Him and are united with Him. We do not deserve this one bit, but such is the magnanimous and marvellous love of God, whose gracious and merciful treatment of us will be the talk of the universe “in the coming ages” (Ephesians 2:7).
Reflect on these words: love, mercy, grace, kindness. What do they tell you about the way God has treated you? Turn your thoughts into an act of worship.
Why is it necessary to be united with Christ (Romans 6:5) in order to receive all the blessings in Him? How are you nurturing your union with the Saviour? How does His story become your story?