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When Good isn't Good Enough
(And: What Grace is)
Ephesians 2:1-10

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)


How to get Right with God
Other religions
- Say what you do now affects your afterlife.
- Are appealing as they say we get rewards for what we do, Makes us think we're part of a privileged few.
These are common misperceptions of Christianity - being good to get to heaven

How to get right with God is different.

You were...

Dead (v1)
Sin separates us from God - by our own actions, we reject God, we want to be the ruler of our own lives.
We are like a headless chook - we look alive yet are dead.

Enslaved (v2)
We are enslaved to sin, the ways of the world, and the Devil.
We are NOT free to NOT sin. We are like a man in a prison cell - constrained, limited to act in a certain way - free to move within the cell (so can say "I am free, look I can move n three meteres in all directions.") but restricted only to three metres.
We think we are free, but we can only act in one way - against God.

Opposed to God (v3)
Everyone, Jews and Gentiles.
Passive rebellion, indifference (agnostic). Act as if God isn't there.
Rom 3:10-11
SWIMMER ANALOGY: In light of these three verses, the classic swimmer analogy of us drowning in the vast ocean is incorrect. In that analogy we are still alive and keeping ourselves afloat. From this it is clear that we are like a swimmer who has drowned and is dead at the bottom of the ocean, wholly unable to save himself (he is dead with tonnes of water holding him down after all).

BUT (v4)...

Alive (vv4-5)
"Even when we were dead" God makes us alive; we were dead, He revives us.
Dead people cannot resussicate themselve, we need God to revive us.
THIS IS GRACE - God in His infinite Mercy revived us while we were dead when He had the right to be just and leave us dead, and punish us for our rebellion.

Freed (v10)
God in making us alive, makes us free.
He frees us to do what God made us to do, enabling us to turn to Him.

Raised to heaven (v6)
Raised Christ and those with Him.
Those with Him are those chosen by God in Christ.

Reconciled to God
We are no longer opposed - Alive to God, in Christ.
SWIMMER ANALOGY: So God does not come along and throw us a line as the classic analogy says. God's grace is more like God coming down to the bottom of the ocean to us (Jesus came down to earth as a man - to our level) and resussitates us, then because of the huge depth we're at He carries us up to the top and onto His ship (We are carried to heaven).

Because...

His great love (v4)
God is love. He does the above to show an aspect of His character - His Mercy (v4)
He is RICH IN MERCY.

Grace (vv5-8)
GRACE IS:
- God choosing us while we are opposed to Him
- God making us alive (we are dead in sin until He does)
- God showing His riches to us in Christ
- God giving us faith, and enabling us to worship and serve Him
- God raising us with Christ to heaven.

Through faith (v8)
God gives us faith, and saves us through this. It is God who initiates the salvation not us. God gets all the glory.

Where to you stand?

Can't be good enough for God
Jesus carries us all the way to heaven.

Don't have to be good enough for God (vv8-9)
Faith and Salvation are gifts from God - Grace

Good because God saved us (v10)

WE CAN HAVE COMPLETE CONFIDENCE IN OUR SALVATION.

 

Knowing God Better Back to Introduction

What is Faith? Perseverance