Questions & Answers, Ephesians 2:1-10
Rudyard Kipling once wrote: "I have six faithful serving men, who taught me all I know. Their names are: What, Where, When, How, Why andWho?" He wasn't talking specifically or only about Bible study, but he was talking about the discovery of information. That's why we read the Bible. To discover the information God intends for us to have, supplied through the inspired writers. And one thing we can do is to probe a passage with questions. This is sometimes called Interrogating the text.
Mortimer J. Adler said: "If you have the habit of asking a book questions as you read, you are a better reader than if you do not."
Working with that tool, consider what can be discovered in Ephesians 2:1-10.
"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the 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 in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:1-10).
Who died? The Ephesians; verse 1: "and you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins." By their choice to sin they died. This is the spiritual death caused by "trespasses and sins," and it means separation from God; no fellowship with Deity.
What killed them? Trespasses and sins. Look into verse 1 for your answer: "...dead in trespasses and sins..." Sin kills.
Who raised them? God - "He made them alive." Once you participate in "trespasses and sins," and by that behavior kill yourself, there is only One who can raise you, God.
How had they conducted themselves before God raised them? Verse 2: "...according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience." This gives emphasis to the cause of their spiritual death. When one follows the course of this world and lives under the "spirit" who now works in the sons of disobedience - there is death, and thus the need to be raised by God.
Was this indictment limited to the Ephesians? No; verse 3 says: "we all once conducted ourselves in the lust of our flesh." Sin is not local. It is universal. Everyone ("we all") once conducted ourselves "in the lust of our flesh." All have sinned and do fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).
What was God's attitude toward those living in sin? Verse 4: "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us." This is God's love for sinners, as expressed by the more familiar passage, John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
What was God willing to do, toward those dead in sin? Verse 5: "even when we were dead in trespasses," God "made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." This describes the divine side of conversion. This is what happens when penitent sinners obey Christ in baptism (see Acts 19:5). To further explain this, move to the next inquiry.
When penitent believers obey the gospel, what does God do? Verse 6: He "raises us up together," to "sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." This is the resurrection and exaltation of the penitent, obedient believers into fellowship with Deity.
What does this show through the ages and for all time? Verse 7: "that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." This great truth continues to be displayed today, as people preach and live by the gospel.
How are we saved? Verse 8a: "...by grace you have been saved through faith..." God's grace provides the gift. Man's obedient faith responds to receive the gift. (To study examples of man responding, read the book of Acts.)
Who provides this? Verse8a,9 - "...and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." The gift does not originate in man, but in God. Man only receives what God gives. Thus, it is "not of yourselves."
As saved people, who are we? Verse 10: "...we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus..." We did not create ourselves. We are His workmanship.
What are we to do? Verse 10b: "...good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." First, read the text. Then frame questions, using the text itself to find the answers. In this case, the student is led to engagement in the good works God has prepared for us to walk in.
By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 11.1; January 2004