03/18/12 Ephesians 2:4-10
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
GOD THINKS OF US AS ALREADY IN HEAVEN.
“God is love” (1 John 4:8). God would love even if there were no sinners. Love is part of His personality. Theologians call love one of God’s attributes. God has two kinds of attributes: His natural attributes (intrinsic attributes, like life, love, holiness), and noticeable attributes because they affect us (relative attributes). For example, it’s natural for God to be truth. When He relates to people, God’s truth becomes trustworthiness. God is naturally holy. When He relates to people, it becomes justice. Love is one of God’s intrinsic attributes. When He connects His love to sinners, it becomes grace and mercy.
What is “dead in transgressions” picturing (2:5)? What kind of things can’t we kill off in our private lives?
The first three verses of this chapter are an expert diagnosis of our pre-existing condition – death. Spiritual death is being unresponsive to God. Spiritual life understands God’s truth and responds to it.
Is this dead side of us contagious or genetic? Justify your answer.
The verbs in verse 5-6 are “made us alive with Christ,” “raised us up with Christ,” and “seated us in the heavenly realms with Christ.” These verbs communicate things from the past. It’s a done deed, but we still benefit from each one today. And you thought Jesus was the only one with a seat at God’s right (Ephesians 1:20).
Why is God the only paramedic that can bring us back (2:5)?
“Grace” is the word this Bible section features again and again. God’s love for us, not our love for Him, is most important (1 John 4:9-10).
Why did God love us (2:4)?
“Heavenly realms” (2:6) is the same word as in 6:12 where it refers to where Satan rules. That’s the other dimension, the world parallel to ours. God and angels have constant access to our dimension.
5. When do we take our seats in heaven (2:6)?
Everyone is interested in an insurance policy that guarantees eternal life. People just want it to be at least 10% deductible. Salvation is a gift, not a reward. The good people do cannot redeem their reputations with God. In the same way the bad things we do are not the reason God damns people.
6. What’ll happen if we insist on and depend on contributing at least 10% to getting right with God (2:7)?
“This not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” There has been a lot of debate about the “this” (touto). Some think it refers back to “grace.” Others think it refers to “faith.” Neither of these suggestions is really valid. “That” is neuter. “Grace” and “faith” are feminine. It’s more natural to think of the neuter touto referring to the preceding phrase or clause. Then it says, “not by works.” God restates this truth in the negative. The Holy Spirit has been very careful to guard the precious doctrine of salvation by grace against any attempt to twist it into something different.
7. Why can’t we brag about contributing to our placement with God, even about depending on Jesus (2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 12:3)?
“Workmanship” is a word ancient Greeks used to refer to a work of art, a masterpiece. Our word “poem” comes from this Greek word.
8. Faith alone justifies, but faith that justifies is never alone. Explain (2:10).
As we read God’s Word, understand it, meditate on it, and feed on it, the Word goes to work in our lives to cleanse us and mature us. We cannot be God’s vehicles unless He has worked on us.
9. How is the good we do part of the “grace package,” God’s donation (2:10)?
God sees us as already in heaven. Without Jesus our lives would be a dead end. God saw nothing lovable about us. Still He made this investment in us, an investment without payback. To whine about finding peace or purpose, help or happiness, is as silly as it is sick.
1. How does this section connect to John 3:14-21? What’s the connection to Numbers 21:4-9?
Some people make an acronym out of “grace” – “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Is that just being cute, or is it accurate?
Why don’t we totally appreciate this incredible standing we have with God?
Since God is behind whatever good we do, why is it such an effort for us?