Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Ephesians 2:1 - 2:22

Online Resource Library

Return to PrayerRequest.com | Commentary Index | Bible Index | Search | Prayer Request | Download

Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Ephesians 2:1 - 2:22


(Show All Books | Show All Chapters)

This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Eph_2:1. And you he hath quickened.

Is it so? Could the apostle say that to you, and to me?

Eph_2:1. Who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Look back to what you used to be, to the hole of the pit whence ye were digged: “You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.

Eph_2:2. Wherein in time past ye walked

With a terrible activity of spiritual death;

Eph_2:2. According to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

He makes them to be his forge. There he blows his coals, there he fabricates his instruments. Do you not hear the noise of the infernal bellows when “the children of disobedience:” swear, and use unclean language? Ah, such were some of us; but we are cleansed! The evil spirit has been driven out, and he no more works in us.

Eph_2:3. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

You that now commune with God at the mercy-seat, you that are now his favored children, and have received power to become the sons of God, you were once heirs of wrath: “By nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Holy Scripture is not complimentary to unrenewed human nature. You may search it through and through to find a single flattering word to unregenerate man; but you will search in vain. This style of speech is left to those who scout divine inspiration. They draw their inspiration from another fount, from a desire to walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air. They can use flattering speeches in addressing the ungodly; but the Holy Ghost never does.

Eph_2:4. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins,

God loved us even when we were dead in sins. His love does not depend upon what we are; it flows from his own heart. It is not love of something good in us; it is love of us because of everything good in him. Here you see the greatness of his grace, in that “he loved us, even when we were dead in sins.”

Eph_2:5. Hath quickened us together with Christ,

Ah! That accounts for everything: “together with Christ.” When we get “together with Christ”, then are we made alive, then are we saved. Are you, my dear hearers, “quickened together with Christ”?

Eph_2:5-7. (By grace ye are saved;) 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.

See how Paul’s language grows and swells and rises as he proceeds! Just now, we read of “God, who is rich in mercy”; now the apostle speaks of “the exceeding riches of his grace”, exceeding expression, exceeding comprehension, exceeding even sin itself, though that is all but infinite. “The exceeding riches of his grace” are infinity itself; but they all come to us “through Christ Jesus.” Paul will speak of nothing good except that which comes “through Christ Jesus.” This is the one conduit-pipe through which the streams of living water flow to the dead in sin; God’s grace comes to us “Through Christ Jesus”, and through him alone.

Eph_2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith;

We have this expression, “by grace are ye saved,” twice over in this chapter. Paul knew that he needed to repeat himself, or people would forget what he taught. At bottom, all the wanderings from the faith at the present day amount to this, salvation by works instead of salvation by grace. The battle of the Reformation has to be fought over again. Men are justified by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. All the enmity of natural men is against that truth. They want to be saved by their own morality, and all sorts of things that they put instead of salvation by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph_2:8-9. And that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

“Oh!” said one to me just now, “the man who is saved by his own righteousness cannot do much in the line of praising.” “No, my dear brother,” I replied, “except he praises himself; and he can generally do that pretty well.” Your self-made man usually worships his creator very earnestly; and your self-saved man glorifies him that saved him.

Eph_2:10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus

Nothing without Christ Jesus, you see. The mark of the pierced hand is on everything: “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.”

Eph_2:10. Unto Good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

God has decreed that he will have a holy people. This is his purpose, his ordinance, to which he will always stand. He will make it good. He will make sinful people holy, and disobedient people obedient to the faith.

Eph_2:11. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

Remember what you were. You were not the chosen Israelites, you have not the covenant mark in your flesh.

Eph_2:12. That at that time ye were without Christ,

Which is the worst state of all, far worse than being without circumcision.

Eph_2:12. Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,

Outsiders, rank outsiders, far away from any rights, or any participation in the rights of God’s children.

Eph_2:12. And strangers from the covenants of promise,

Utter strangers to the covenants made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Eph_2:12. Having no hope, and without God in the world:

It is an awful description, but a truthful description, of what we were.

Eph_2:13. But now

The apostle has turned over a new leaf in the book of our history: “but now.” Oh, what a change from the past to the present! “But now” —

Eph_2:13. In Christ Jesus

See how Paul keeps harping on that one string. Note how he links us with Christ Jesus. There is nothing for us without Christ and his cross.

Eph_2:13. Ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Paul can never have too much of Christ. It is Christ, Christ, Christ, Christ; like the harp of Anacreon. He wished to sing of Cadmus; but his harp resounded love alone; and so the harp of Paul resounds with Christ alone, Christ alone. He always comes back to that theme. It was said of one eminent commentator that he could not find Christ in the Scripture where he was; but it was said of Cocceius that he found Christ where he was not. I would rather find Christ where he is not, than not to find him where he is. There are plenty who err in that second direction nowadays.

Eph_2:14. For he is our peace,

Paul cannot do without Christ, you see. He will bring him in everywhere.

Eph_2:14. Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

There is no longer the division between Jews and Gentiles.

Eph_2:15. Having abolished in his flesh.

See, it is always Christ, his flesh, his blood, his life. There must always be something about him: “Having abolished in his flesh.”

Eph_2:15. The enmity, even the law of commandments containeth in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he

I cannot help reminding you, that you must not overlook the fact that Paul will not go a hair’s breadth away from Christ.

Eph_2:16-18. Might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

There is the whole Trinity in that one verse, Christ, the Spirit, the Father. It needs the Trinity to make a Christian, and when you have got a Christian, it needs the Trinity to make a prayer. You cannot pray a single prayer aright without Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Eph_2:19. Now therefore

Another of Paul’s blessed “nows.” It was “but now” a little while ago; now he has another “now.” “Now therefore” —

Eph_2:19. Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

You are not only in the kingdom, but you are in the royal household, which is better still. You are princes of the blood imperial. You are peers of the court of heaven: “and the household of God.”

Eph_2:20. And are built

You are not loose stones; you are built —

Eph_2:20. Upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom

You see, it is always that, in him, in Christ: “in whom” —

Eph_2:21. All the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

There is no church without Christ, no temple without him as its cornerstone, its priest, its glory.

Eph_2:22. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

And all this hangs upon that first sentence, “You hath he quickened.” Is it so, beloved? If you are spiritually dead, nothing here belongs to you; but if he hath quickened you, you may take every single sentence of the chapter, and say, “That is mine, and glory be the grace of God!”



Eph_2:1. And you hath he quickened,

You, who were by nature dead are now made alive unto God by the holy Spirit. If you had nothing else to think of, all day long, but just these five words, they might suffice to lift you up to the very heights of grateful adoration of your quickening Lord: “And you hath he quickened,”-

Eph_2:1. Who were dead in trespasses and sins;

These were your grave clothes, or the charnel-house in which you would have continued to lie if the quickening power of God the Holy Spirit had not brought you out into newness of life.

Eph_2:2. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

This is what happened to us all in our unregenerate state, we were carried along by the world, loving what it loved, judging from its views, and acting according to its maxims. Nay, worse than that, the devil himself had dominion over us, as he had over the rest of the world; “the prince of the power of the air” was the spirit that worked in us as well as in the rest of “the children of disobedience.” What a glorious deliverance it was to be saved from the power of death, and the dominion of Satan, and to be made partakers of everlasting life!

Eph_2:3. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

That is the highest point to which human nature can attain; left to itself, it makes us “children of wrath.” Even those who are now most assuredly the children of God were once the children of wrath; there was no difference, in that respect, between them and the rest of mankind. It is only the marvelous mercy and grace of God which have made us to differ from our fellow-creatures who are still “dead in trespasses and sins.”

Eph_2:4-5. 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,--

Again let us praise the Lord with all our hearts for what he has done for us. It is truly wonderful that he should have loved us when we were “dead in trespasses and sins,”-with no feeling, no holy desire, no repentance; while indifference, heartlessness, powerlessness, covered everything. We were dead in sin, yet he loved us, and therefore it was that he “quickened us together with Christ,”-

Eph_2:5. (By grace ye are saved.)

Not by human merit, not by the energy of our own will; but, “by grace ye are saved.”

Eph_2:6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus

We are not only alive, you see, but we are elevated into the highest position of the new life,-made to live with Christ, and in Christ,-made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Eph_2:7-8. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Both the salvation and the faith that makes it ours are the gift of God.

Twice over, the apostle tells us that we are saved by grace, yet men will not believe it. They will, somehow or other, get away from this humbling but true and precious doctrine. They will contrive, by some method or other, to squeeze in their own works, and their own will, and so rob Christ, if not of his crown, yet of some of its brightest jewels.

Eph_2:9-10. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship,--

If we have good works, as I trust we have, yet even they are the production of God’s grace; praise and glory for them belong to him, and not to us: “For we are his workmanship,”-

Eph_2:10. Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

This is the great object of our election; we are elected that we may be holy, and ordained that we may walk in good works;-who can rightly quarrel with such a divine purpose as this?

Eph_2:11-12. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

That is the condition of every unbeliever at this time: “having no hope, and without God in the world.” Mr. Hume once made the remark that he knew many Christians who were afraid to die, but he was not. The Christian man, to whom he said this, pointed to an ox grazing in the meadow, and said, “You have reached about as high as that bullock has, for he also is not afraid to die; but pray, Mr. Hume,” enquired the good man, “have you any hope after death?” At that question, the philosopher shook his head, for he knew nothing of such a hope as that; the utmost point he could reach was, by indifference, to raise himself above fear. “Having no hope,” is a true description of every man who has no faith in our crucified and risen Saviour.

Eph_2:13. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

That is the great attracting power, which draws us from our natural distance, and brings us into nearness to God. How we ought to prize that precious blood which does so much for us! It cleanses us from sin; it pleads for us before the throne; and here, you see, having made a way of access for us, it also conducts us along that way, and brings us nigh to God.

Eph_2:14. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

There are no privileges now for the Jew from which the Christian is shut out, for Christ “hath made both one.” There is neither circumcision nor uncircumcision now, for all believers are one in Christ Jesus.

Eph_2:15-22. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

May we realize that the Holy Spirit is inhabiting his own Church at this moment; and, especially, may all of us, who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, realize Our own position in that spiritual temple which is the “habitation of God through the Spirit,” for Christ’s sake! Amen.



Eph_2:1. And you hath he quickened,

Is it so? Can anyone lay his hand on your shoulder, and say right into your ear, “You hath he quickened”? If so, why this deadness of spirit? Why this worldliness? Why these wanderings? “You hath he quickened,”

Eph_2:1-2. Who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, —

You were dead to all that was good, but you were alive enough to that which was evil. It seems, from this passage, that dead men walk, yet not in the way of God, but “according to the course of this world,” —

Eph_2:2-3. According to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of all disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and we were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

We were not in the least better, by nature, than the very worst of men; and if we were any better in practice, it was only because we were restrained by providence and by grace from going into gross sin, as others did. Look unto the hole of the pit whence ye were digged, and see how humble was your origin. If you are proud of your fine feathers, as the peacock is, remember his black legs; see whence you came, and recollect the sin from which you were delivered. Bless God for your deliverance, and be humble as you think of the grace that has caused you to differ from others.

Eph_2:4-5. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

This is a wondrous truth, that God loves the sinner even while he is dead in sin. This love is not caused by any goodness in him, for he is dead, he is wrapped up in the cerements of his sins. There is nothing lovable about him; yet God, “for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.”

Eph_2:6-8. 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. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

That great truth was put, in the 5th verse, into a parenthesis. Why did Paul write it twice? Because we cannot too often be reminded that we were saved by grace. It is a truth which we so soon forget that we had need to have it rung in our ears as by a peal of bells, “By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Eph_2:9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.

God cannot endure boasting, and one great object of the plan of salvation by grace is to extinguish boosting, to shut it out. It is intolerable to God, he cannot endure it.

Eph_2:10. For we are his workmanship,

If we have anything good in us, it was all made by him.

Eph_2:10-12. Created in Christ Jesus unto good work, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

That is a true description of our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, who were certainly heathen of the heathen, the wildest and most ravage of men when Paul wrote this Epistle; and yet, by sovereign grace, we have been brought to the very forefront of the nations of the earth, and we are no longer without God, nor yet without hope, nor yet without Christ, neither are we now strangers to the covenants of promise, nor aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.

Eph_2:13-22. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were high. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Happy are the people who enjoy these high privileges.



Eph_2:1. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Then you owe your very life to him. You were dead, you were like a corrupt carcass, but his life has been breathed into you. “You hath he quickened.” Then you are no longer dead, you are a living soul before the living God, and as you owe this to him, praise him with all the life you have. You “were dead in trespasses and sins;” —

Eph_2:2-3. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

It does us good to remember what we used to be. There was no reason in us, by nature, why we should be made the children of God. There were in us no distinguishing traits of character by which we were separated from our fellowsinners. We ran in the same course; we were possessed by the same spirit, we wrought the same works; we had the same nature, we were under the same condemnation: “children of wrath, even as others.”

Eph_2:4-5. 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, (by grace ye are saved;)

“By grace ye are saved.” I know that you feel that it is so. Our quickening out of our death in sin must have been by grace; and as God has done it, unto him must be ascribed all the glory of it. There can be no merit in those who are dead in sin that they should be quickened out of their sin; this must be the work of the Lord alone, and unto him be all the praise. He “hath quickened us together with Christ,” so that our life is mystically linked with the life of Christ, as he said to his disciples, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” Until he can die, those who are one with him cannot die.

Eph_2:6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly place, in Christ Jesus:

It is all in him, and it has a sevenfold sweetness about it because it is in him. To live unto God is a wondrous mercy, but to live together with Christ is an unspeakable honour. To be raised up into the heavenly places would be a surpassing blessing, but to be raised up there together with Christ, and to be made to sit there with him, is a boon that is above the superlative; I know not how else to speak of it.

Eph_2:7-8. That in the age to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; —

It must be all of grace because of the greatness of the favor bestowed. A man dead in trespasses and sins cannot deserve to be made alive; and when he is made alive, he cannot deserve to be raised up to sit with Christ in the heavenly places. That is too great a boon to come to us by the way of the law; it must come to us emphatically as the gift of the grace of God in Christ Jesus: “For by grace are ye saved through faith;” —

Eph_2:8. And that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

“Not of yourselves.” What do those people mean who keep on crying up the power of the human will, the wonderful dignity of human nature, and all that kind of foolish talk? Salvation is not in ourselves; “it is the gift of God,” not a reward which we have earned, but a free gift which God bestows according to the riches of his grace.

Eph_2:9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.

God will not have a boaster in heaven. He will not have the creature exalting himself in his presence. The command, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth;” is backed up by this reason, “for I am God, and there is none else.” Therefore unto God himself must be the praise and glory for all who are saved.

Eph_2:10. For we are his workmanship,

Salvation cannot be of works, for if we have any good works, it is because we are God’s workmanship.

Eph_2:10-12. Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made hands; that at that time ye were without Christ,

Certainly we were poor sinners of the Gentiles, having no participation whatever in the old Mosaic dispensation.

Eph_2:12. Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,--

For us there was no paschal lamb, for us there was no high priest at Jerusalem, no altar smoked with a sacrifice for us, we were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,” —

Eph_2:12. And strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

That is where the whole Gentile world stood, and this is experimentally where you and I stood till sovereign grace interposed for our salvation. What knew we about the covenants of promise? We knew nothing, and we did not care to know anything. What did we know about a hope? We should have died without a hope if God’s mercy had not come to us. What knew we, or what cared we about a God in the world? We may have thought that there was a God in heaven; but as actually operating upon the daily life of man, we knew no such God. We were “without God in the world:”

Eph_2:13. But now —

Oh, what a blessed “but”! How much hangs upon it! Think of what God has done for you by his grace: “But now” —

Eph_2:13. In Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

What a power there must be about that blood, that God not only hears it speaking in heaven, that it makes a way of access for all the saints, that it cleanses from all sin, but that it brings the far-off ones nigh! We will never cease to speak of the precious blood of Jesus. There are certain people who cannot bear to hear it mentioned; but a bloodless theology is a lifeless theology, and a ministry that can do without mentioning the blood of Christ has no power to bless the sons and daughters of men.

Eph_2:14. For he is our peace,

Peace with God, peace with our own conscience, peace with all mankind we find in Christ.

Eph_2:14. Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

So making Jews and Gentiles one;

Eph_2:15. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Our Lord Jesus Christ was a Jew, yet I venture to say that there was nothing Jewish about him. He was the model of what man ought to have been, and his words and his actions made him worthy to be called cosmopolitan. He belongs to all mankind. He is the man in whom all races are summed up, and when we come to Christ, there is a link between us and the ancient people of God. I do not care about Anglo-Israelism, what I care for is Christo-Israelism, — to belong to the Israel of God in Christ Jesus.

Eph_2:16-17. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Christ is the Preacher of peace as well as the Maker of peace, and no man ever knows the peace of God unless Christ preaches it to him.

Eph_2:18-19. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore —

Here is another sweet “now.”

Eph_2:19. Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

A part of the family of the great Householder, even God. Citizenship is well enough in its place, but citizens do not always know one another. But we are of the household of God, we are brought into an intimate relationship with one another through our Elder Brother who makes us to be the children of the great Father in heaven.

Eph_2:20-21. And are built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

We are put so close together, if we are really in Christ, that we are like the stones of the temple, so united as to become one. In Christ Jesus, our union is not only that of relationship, but we enter into a perfect unity with one another and with the Lord.

Eph_2:22. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

That is the most wonderful truth of all, — that God himself should come and dwell among his people and in his people, and that, being sanctified by grace, we become the dwelling place of the Most High. God grant that it may be so! Amen.



Eph_2:1. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

What a great change, then, has taken place in the people of God! It is described as being similar to the resurrection of the dead. And do you suppose that this took place without a man’s knowing it? Do you think that we are wrong in stating a wide difference between the quickened ones and the dead? I trow not. In fact, those addresses made to congregations in which there is no distinction made between the living and the dead in Zion, are deceptive. And prayers that are meant to suit congregations of mingled character, where some are dead in sin, and others alive unto God, are, on the very face of them, an attempt at an impossibility. As great as is the distinction between the dead in their graves and living men that walk the streets, so great is the difference between the regenerate and unregenerate. Do you think that in reading this verse, dear friends you could apply it to yourself, “and you, and you, and you, hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sin”?

Eph_2:2. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Those who are not saved have a life of evil. They are dead towards, God, but they are alive towards Satan. An unregenerate man’s heart is Satan’s workshop, in which he forges divers devices of evil — the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience.

Eph_2:3. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

No difference by nature between the brightest saint in the church of God and the blackest sinner of the camp of Satan all fallen, all desperately depraved as our very original. What wonders of grace are those who are saved! Let them take care that they never fail in praising that grace.

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, (by grace ye are saved;) 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 show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

God’s great object is to display his grace — to let all the universe know what a gracious God he is, therefore, did he pitch upon us who were dead in sin, even as others; therefore, does he quicken us; and therefore, having quickened us, does he go on to raise us up from one point to another until he makes us sit with Christ upon his throne. Oh! beloved, if all the ages are to learn the grace of God from his dealings towards us, let us learn it, and let us talk much of it, and exult much in it. Who is a gracious God like unto our God?

Eph_2:8. For by grace are ye saved

Not by your own merits, not by priestcraft, not by your own free will. “By grace are ye saved.” This is the great summary of the gospel. Let this doctrine be preached, and we shall soon see the errors of Rome fly before it. “By grace are ye saved.”

Eph_2:8. Through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Neither the faith nor the salvation are of ourselves. They are both the gifts of divine love, both wrought in us by the divine spirit. It is the gift of God.

Eph_2:9-10. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship,

No good man can boast of his works, because those works are the work of God. Without him we could not perform good works, so that even when we possess them, we are his workmanship. Shall the vessel on the wheel exalt itself as if it made itself? No, the potter must have the credit of all the skill of the making of the vessel, and if, therefore, there shall be in our character marks and lines of grace and truth, unto God be the glory of them, for we are his workmanship.

Eph_2:10-12. Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at the time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

This is where our fathers were. This is where we are by nature. We have not got even as far as the Jew, who had a covenant, according to the flesh to plead and had received the sign of it while yet a child; but we — we were altogether foreigners and aliens from the Most High.

Eph_2:13. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Oh! rejoice in this. Ye far-off ones made nigh, lift up your hearts now in thankfulness for what the Lord Jesus has done for you by his blood —made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Eph_2:14. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Christ is peace between Jew and Gentile — peace between both of them and their God. I have heard of a poor bricklayer, who, when at work on a scaffold, fell from a great height and was taken up and was dying. They sent for a minister of the gospel, who began addressing him in such terms as this, “My dear man, you are evidently near to die, and therefore, I exhort you to make your peace with God.” He knew but very little of it, compared with what the poor bricklayer knew, for, opening his eyes, he said, “Make my peace with God, sir? That I could not do, but, I thank God, it was made for me in the everlasting covenant of grace in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ eighteen hundred years ago, and I have no peace to make.” It is peace already made, and we have but to accept it, for he is our peace who hath made both one and broken down the middle wall of partition between us.

Eph_2:15-16. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

No enmity now should exist between Jew and Gentile. None does exist between the believer and his God. The enmity is dead for ever, for Christ hath died.

Eph_2:17-18. And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

In this verse you have the whole Trinity, and all the Trinity in unity are necessary for prayer. “Through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

Eph_2:19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

How blessedly grace annihilates all national distinction. Cowper spoke of nations which, like kindred drops, would have melted into one if they had not been divided by a range of mountains or intersected by a narrower faith. But in the gospel of grace we do melt into one. Who loves the Lord is a co-patriot with all who love him. Distinctions of nationality sweetly sink when we come to know the Saviour. We are fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God.

This exposition consisted of readings from Ephesians 2. Mat_11:1-6.



Eph_2:1. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:

These were your grave clothes. You were wrapped up in them. Nay, this was your sarcophagus. You were shut up in it, as in a great stone coffin: “Dead in trespasses and sins.”

Eph_2:2. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.

You were once no better than the workshop of the devil. He is the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience, as the smith works in his forge. When you hear foul language, when you see bad actions, these are the sparks coming out of the chimney that let you know who is at work within, down below. What a dreadful thing it is — a man dead to all that is good, but alive through the indwelling of the devil that is within him. “The spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”

Eph_2:3. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Not children of God, even as some profanely assert when they talk about the universal fatherhood of God. Ye were children of wrath, even as others. And the best of men were no better than ethers by nature. They were as dead, as much under the influence of Satan, as much under the influence of the lusts of the flesh as others are who are left where they are. It is only sovereign grace that makes us to differ. “Were by nature,” not by error; by nature, not by a mistake, not by a few actions, but by nature, the children of wrath, even as others. See what you used to be. Let this make you humble. See what you would have been. Let this make you grateful. “You hath he quickened.” He has put life into you. He has made you quit your graves. He has made you come from under the dominion of Satan and the devices of your own heart. Will you not bless his name tonight?

Eph_2:4-5. 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,

Wonder! The life that quickens. Christ quickens all the members of his mystical body, and this has come to us through the riches of God’s mercy. Whatever God has, he has in abundance, but of his mercy we read that he has riches of it; and truly all those riches of mercy he has shown in our case. We cannot but have riches of gratitude for such riches of mercy.

Eph_2:5. (By grace ye are saved;)

See, Paul puts that in a parenthesis. It was not necessary to the sense, but he knew that there would come a time when men would not like this doctrine, so he puts it in, “by grace are ye saved.” They cannot bear it, and therefore they shall have it. They shall have it when the sense does not seem to demand it. To make it quite clear, he will insert it, “by grace ye are saved.”

Eph_2:6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

We are not only raised from the dead with Christ, but we are spiritually raised into the heavenly places with him. It is a great thing when a man learns to look up from earth to heaven. It is a greater thing when he learns to look down from heaven upon earth — to have you sitting at the right hand of God, and then to look down on all the things of this present life as far below you.

Eph_2:7. That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Brethren, we are to be a show, an exhibition case, in which God will exhibit the riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Angels will count it a high joy to study the life of a regenerate man, to see him rise from death in sin to the glory of God in Christ Jesus. What is so precious in God’s esteem ought to excite our praise continually.

Eph_2:8. For by grace are ye saved

There it is again. Paul rings that silver bell in the deaf ears of men. “By grace are ye saved.”

Eph_2:8-9. Through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We should be sure to boast if we could. We are a boasting people. Man is a poor mass of flesh, and he is largely given to the corruption of pride, He will boast if he can.

Eph_2:10. For we are his workmanship,

If there is any good thing in us, he put it there. It is not for us to boast. It is for him to boast if he pleases.

Eph_2:10-11. Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember,

Oh! that is a good word for us, “Remember,” we are so apt to forget. “Remember.”

Eph_2:11-12. That ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ,

Had you to do with Christ? The Jews call you uncircumcised dogs. What had you to do with the Messiah? Was not the Messiah for God’s Israel? You did not belong to Israel.

Eph_2:12. Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise,

The covenant was in Isaac. You are not the children of Isaac. You are not descended from Abraham. You were strangers from the covenants of promise.

Eph_2:12. Having no hope,

Either here or hereafter.

Eph_2:12-13. And without God in the world:

But now Oh! what a contrast.

Eph_2:13. In Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

You are brought near to Israel. You are brought nearer still to Israel’s God. Now you are not aliens. You are not strangers from the covenant. You have a hope, you have a God.

Eph_2:14-15. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

There is no circumcision and uncircumcision now, for that is done away with. There is no Israel according to the flesh now, and Gentiles who are not of God, for there is a spiritual Israel, to which we belong, as well as those of Abraham’s race. He has swept out of the way all the ordinances which divided us, and we are now one in him.

Eph_2:16-17. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

To the Gentile and to the Jew, to the atrociously wicked, and to those who were religious after a fashion — he has brought them both in by the cross.

Eph_2:18. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Here you have the Trinity in a single line of Scripture, and it needs the Trinity to make an acceptable prayer. Through him (that is, Christ) we have access by one Spirit unto the Father, and now, today, the Church of God is one in prayer, whether Jew or Gentile. We come to God by the same Mediator, helped by the same Spirit. We have answers of peace from the same Father.

Eph_2:19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God:

There are many here whom we do not know. We have not seen their faces before, but if they are in Christ and we are in Christ, we are very near of kin. There is an old proverb that blood is thicker than water, and depend upon it that when there is the blood of Christ sprinkled upon us, it makes very near kinship. When we are bought with the same price, quickened by the same life, and are on the way to the same heaven, we are very near of kin. We are no mere strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints and all the household of God. They make a great fuss when they give a man the liberty of the City of London. There is a fine gold box to put it in. You have got the liberty of the new Jerusalem, and your faith, like a golden box, holds the deeds of your freemanship. Take care of them, and rejoice in them.

Eph_2:20-21. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

The church is a framed house. It has an architect. Some seem to think that it is a load of bricks. They have no church officers. There are none set apart to this work, and none to the other. It seems to be just a heap of stones thrown down anyhow. But a true church is, by the Spirit of God, a building fitly framed together. One is a door, another is a window. One lies low and hidden in the foundation. Another may have a more prominent position in the wall; and it should be so with us — that we should each have a place that God has appointed him, and keep to that place. Lord, build up thy Church upon earth at this time.

Eph_2:22. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

We are not builded to stand like a carcase. It is a ghastly sight to see houses in London nearly finished, but never occupied: but it is the glory of the Church of God that it is inhabited. It is a habitation of God through the Spirit. Holy Spirit, dwell in thy Church more evidently. Keep open house for all poor sinners that come to Christ, and glorify God.