Read Ephesians 2:4-5. What do we bring to the table? What does God bring?
For those of us who have been Christians a long time, it is easy to merge the work of God in our lives and the work we feel like we have done for him. How might you have felt like God owes you for something, that you have accomplished more than you have, or that you are in some way better than other people? How does this passage refute that?
As believers, we can’t let this become old news for us. How will you keep remembering what God has done for you? What disciplines do you already have in place in your life to remember?
Where do you feel powerless, stuck, or not compelled to tell people about Jesus because you aren’t living in your new nature as a believer? What does it look like for you to make choices in obedience and faithfulness to Christ?
What new understanding from this passage do you have about being united with Christ? What is one way that you are experiencing the power of God being alive in you?
We are born with a sinful nature, unable to rescue ourselves.
Ephesians 2 lays out for us the journey from spiritual death to spiritual life. While it is easy for us to identify the “unacceptable” forms of spiritual death—murder, abandoning your family, gossip, etc., we have also created “acceptable” forms of spiritual death in our affluent culture: you can be religious, educated, and successful by the world’s standards yet still be just as dead as the person who has no concept of God. The selfishness, pride, and separation from Christ are still the same.
According to Ephesians 2, we are dead in sin when we are born. It is only after trusting in Christ and receiving a new nature that we have a choice of which passions and desires to follow: those of our old, sinful nature or of our new redeemed nature.
Our sin is not on the outside; it’s on the inside, It isn’t just something you do, it is who you are. You can’t rescue yourself from who you are—you need Jesus.
If you have been a follower of Christ a long time, you might find yourself wrongly feeling entitled because of your work and faithfulness over many years. Faithfulness is not the same as regeneration.
Our union with Christ is not just a side-by-side connection; we are in him, and he is in us. We cannot be separated.
Part of our salvation is not about us at all but about revealing God’s great generosity towards us.