Charles Simeon Commentary - Ephesians 2:4 - 2:7

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Ephesians 2:4 - 2:7

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Eph_2:4-7. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ 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.

WHAT an accumulation of sublime ideas is here presented to our view! Well might the Psalmist say that the meditation of God was sweet to him. We scarcely know whether to admire more the grace of the Benefactor, or the felicity of those who participate his blessings. But the text requires us to fix our attention on that most delightful of all subjects, the riches of divine grace. The Apostle has in the preceding verses described the state of the unregenerate world. He now displays the grace of God towards the regenerate,

I.       In its source—

God is “rich in mercy,” and “abundant in love”—

[Mercy and love are, as it were, the favourite attributes of the Deity [Note: Exo_34:6-7.]: and the exercise of these perfections is peculiarly grateful to him [Note: Mic_7:18.]. There is an inexhaustible fountain of them in the heart of God [Note: Rom_10:12.]: they have flowed down upon the most unworthy of the human race; and will flow undiminished to all eternity. While he retains his nature, he cannot but exercise these perfections [Note: 1Jn_4:8.].]

These are the true sources of all the grace displayed towards fallen man—

[Man had nothing in him whereby he could merit the attention of his Maker. He was fallen into the lowest state of guilt and misery: but the bowels of his Creator yearned over him [Note: In this view, God’s solicitude to find Adam, and his affectionate (perhaps plaintive) inquiry after him, Gen_3:9. are very striking.]. God felt (if we may so speak) an irresistible impulse of compassion towards him [Note: We may conceive of God as expressing himself in the language of the prophet. Hos_11:8-9.]. Hence was it that the Son of God was sent into the world [Note: Joh_3:16.]: hence also were so many offers of mercy made to man; and to this alone is it owing that so much as one has ever found acceptance with God.]

But, to judge how great the love was wherewith he loved us, we must trace it,

II.      In its operations—

The grace of God has been displayed towards us in ten thousand ways; but we must confine our attention to its operations, as they are set forth in the text.

God has “quickened us even when we were dead in sins”—

[What is meant by “dead in sins,” appears from the preceding verses. We were walking according to the course of this world; we were the willing servants of Satan; we were indulging all kinds of “filthiness, both of flesh and spirit;” we were demonstrating ourselves to be “by nature” as well as practice, “children of wrath;” and we were utterly destitute of all power to help and save ourselves [Note: Rom_5:6.]. Yet even then did God look upon us in tender compassion [Note: This may be illustrated by Eze_16:4-6.]: he quickened us by the same Spirit whereby he raised Christ from the dead [Note: Compare 1Pe_3:18. with Rom_8:11.]. In so doing, he united us “together with Christ,” and rendered us conformable to him as our Head. What an astonishing instance of divine grace was this!]

He has also “raised us up, and enthroned us together with Christ in heaven”—

[The Apostle had before expatiated on what God had wrought for Christ [Note: Eph_1:19-20. “quickened, raised, enthroned.”]: he now draws a parallel between believers and Christ. What was done for Christ our head and representative, may be considered as done for all the members of his mystical body. In this view Christians may be considered figuratively as risen with Christ, and as already seated on his throne: their hearts, their conversation, their rest, is in heaven [Note: Col_3:1-2. Php_3:20.]. How has he thus verified the declaration of Hannah [Note: 1Sa_2:8.]!—How has he thus discovered “the exceeding riches of his grace!”]

How worthy of God such a stupendous display of grace is, we shall see if we consider it,

III.     In its end—

God is not only the author, but also the end of all things [Note: Rom_11:36.]; nor would it become him to do any thing but with a view to his own glory. The manifestation of his own glory was the express end for which he revealed his grace [Note: Eph_1:6.], and this end is already in some measure attained—

[All ages, to the end of time, must admire the grace of God towards both the Jewish and the Gentile world. Every one, who partakes of that grace, must of necessity admire it: the “exceeding riches of it” are unsearchable. God’s “kindness” too is infinitely enhanced by flowing to us “through Christ Jesus.” The price paid by Christ will to eternity endear to us the blessings purchased: at present, however, the design of God in revealing his grace is not fully answered.]

But it will be completely answered in the day of judgment—

[Then, how exceeding rich and glorious will this grace appear! Then the depth of misery, into which we were fallen, will be more fully known; the spring and source of that grace will be more clearly discovered; and all the operations will be seen in one view. Then Christ, the one channel in which it flows, will be more intimately revealed to us. How will every eye then admire, and every tongue then adore! Surely nothing but such an end could account for such operations of the Divine grace; let every one therefore seek to experience these operations in his own soul. Let those who have been favoured with them glorify God with their whole hearts.]