Ephesians 2:5 MEANING

Ephesians 2:5
(5) Even when we were dead in sins.--These words should be connected, not with "loved us," but with "hath quickened," or rather, quickened. He brought life out of spiritual death.

(5, 6) The thought in these verses follows exactly the same course as in Ephesians 1:19-20. There the type and earnest of the working of God's mighty power are placed in the resurrection, the ascension, the glorification of Christ Himself in His human nature. Here what is there implied is worked out--(1) All Christians are declared to be quickened (or, risen again) to spiritual life with Christ, according to His promise, "Because I live, ye shall live also" (John 14:19). (See the exact parallel in Colossians 2:13.) But there is a promise even beyond this: "I am the life: whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die" (John 11:25; comp. also John 5:24; John 17:2). Hence, even more emphatically, and in full accordance with this latter promise, we have in Colossians 3:4, "Christ who is our life;" as in 2 Corinthians 4:10-11, "The life of Jesus is made manifest in us." What this "life eternal" is He Himself declares (John 17:3)--"to know the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent." (2) Next, this partaking of the life of Christ is brought out in two striking forms--as a partaking, not only of His resurrection (as in Romans 6:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22; Philippians 3:11), but also (in a phase of thought peculiar to these Epistles) of His ascension "to the heavenly places." This is "in Christ Jesus," in virtue of a personal and individual union with Christ. It implies blessings, both present and future, or rather one blessing, of which we have the earnest now and the fulness hereafter--for the resurrection and ascension of Christ are even now the perfection and glorification of humanity in Him. (3) So far as we are really and vitally His members, such perfection and glorification are ours now, by His intercession (that is, His continued mediation for us in heaven) and by His indwelling in us by the Spirit on earth. The proof of partaking His resurrection is "newness of life," "death unto sin, and new birth unto righteousness" (Romans 6:5-11), which is in Colossians 3:12 expressly connected with the entrance upon unity with Christ in baptism. The proof of having "our life hid in Christ at the right hand of God," is "the setting our affection on things above" (Colossians 3:1), by which "in heart and mind we thither ascend, and with Him continually dwell." (4) These proofs are seen only in measure here. Through the change which we call death, we pass at once to a still higher stage of life, by fuller union with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:6-8), and at the great day we shall have both in perfection--perfect newness of life in "likeness to Him" (1 John 3:2), and perfect glorification in Him in that communion with God which is heaven (John 17:5; John 17:10; John 17:24). The one thing which St. Paul does not attribute to us is that which is His alone--the place "at the right hand of the Father."

Verse 5. - Even when we were dead in our sins. Repeated from ver. 1, in order to set in its true light the declaration that follows of what God did for us to make more emphatic the free and sovereign mercy of God. Though sin is the abominable thing which he hates, loathsome to him in the last degree, he did not turn from us when we were immersed in it; nor did he wait till we began to move towards him: he began to influence us even when we were dead. Made us alive together with Christ (συνεζωοποίησε τῷ Ξριστῷ). Made us alive with the life which is in Christ and which flows from Christ. A parallel is run between the way in which God's power operated on the body of Christ, and the way in which it operates on the souls of believers in him in respect of

(1) the quickening;

(2) the raising up from the grave;

(3) the seating of them in heavenly places.

The Father, having "given to the Son to have life in himself," and "the Son quickening whom he will" (John 6:21, 26), by God's decree we were first quickened by him, made partakers of Christ's life (John 11:25; comp. John 14:19; John 15:5; Colossians 3:4; Galatians 2:20, etc.). All the life we had lost was restored - the life forfeited by transgression, the life of a calm and well-ordered heart, the sublime life of fellowship with God. By grace have ye been saved. This is a parenthetical clause, more fully dwelt on in ver. 8, thrown in here abruptly by the apostle in the fullness of his heart, to throw light on this great wonder - that Christ should impart his own life to souls dead in sin. Grace in opposition to human merit is at the root of the whole arrangement; free, undeserved mercy. It is not anything that God is bound to by the necessity of his nature. It is the result of his will, not of his nature. Had it not been for his good pleasure, salvation had never been. "Saved" is the past participle (σεσωσμένοι), denoting, not the act of being saved, but the fact of having been saved. Salvation in a real sense is a present possession. When we are one with Christ we are justified freely by God's grace, our trespasses are all forgiven. The spirit of new moral life has been given to us; we are made alive to God. But while salvation is a present attainment in a real sense, its full realization is future, for that includes perfect holiness, and also the glorification of the body. In this sense salvation is to come (Romans 8:24; Romans 13:11).

2:1-10 Sin is the death of the soul. A man dead in trespasses and sins has no desire for spiritual pleasures. When we look upon a corpse, it gives an awful feeling. A never-dying spirit is now fled, and has left nothing but the ruins of a man. But if we viewed things aright, we should be far more affected by the thought of a dead soul, a lost, fallen spirit. A state of sin is a state of conformity to this world. Wicked men are slaves to Satan. Satan is the author of that proud, carnal disposition which there is in ungodly men; he rules in the hearts of men. From Scripture it is clear, that whether men have been most prone to sensual or to spiritual wickedness, all men, being naturally children of disobedience, are also by nature children of wrath. What reason have sinners, then, to seek earnestly for that grace which will make them, of children of wrath, children of God and heirs of glory! God's eternal love or good-will toward his creatures, is the fountain whence all his mercies flow to us; and that love of God is great love, and that mercy is rich mercy. And every converted sinner is a saved sinner; delivered from sin and wrath. The grace that saves is the free, undeserved goodness and favour of God; and he saves, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus. Grace in the soul is a new life in the soul. A regenerated sinner becomes a living soul; he lives a life of holiness, being born of God: he lives, being delivered from the guilt of sin, by pardoning and justifying grace. Sinners roll themselves in the dust; sanctified souls sit in heavenly places, are raised above this world, by Christ's grace. The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners heretofore, encourages others in after-time, to hope in his grace and mercy. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by any thing done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out. All is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by his power. It was his purpose, to which he prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of his will, and his Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our good conversation, and perseverance in holiness. None can from Scripture abuse this doctrine, or accuse it of any tendency to evil. All who do so, are without excuse.Even when we were dead in sins,.... See Gill on Ephesians 2:1.

Hath quickened us together with Christ: which may be understood either of regeneration, when a soul that is dead in a moral or spiritual sense, is quickened and made alive; a principle of life is infused, and acts of life are put forth; such have their spiritual senses, and these in exercise; they can feel the load and weight of sin; see their lost state and condition, the odiousness of sin, and the beauty of a Saviour, the insufficiency of their own righteousness, and the fulness and suitableness of Christ's; breathe after divine and spiritual things; speak in prayer to God, and the language of Canaan to fellow Christians; move towards Christ, exercise grace on him, act for him, and walk on in him: and this life they have not from themselves, for previous to it they are dead, and in this quickening work are entirely passive; nor can regenerate persons quicken themselves, when in dead and lifeless frames, and much less unregenerate sinners; but this is God's act, the act of God the Father; though not exclusive of the Son, who quickens whom he will; nor of the Spirit, who is the Spirit of life from Christ; and it is an instance of the exceeding greatness, both of his power and love; and this may be said to be done with Christ, because he is the procuring and meritorious cause of it, by his death and resurrection from the dead; and is the author and efficient cause of it; and he is the matter of it, it is not so much the quickened persons that live, as Christ that lives in them, and it is the same life he himself lives; and because he lives, they shall live also; it is in him as in the fountain, and in them as in the stream: or else this may be understood of justification; men are dead in a legal sense, and on account of sin, are under the sentence of death; though they naturally think themselves alive, and in a good state; but when the Spirit of God comes, he strikes dead all their hopes of life by a covenant of works; not merely by letting in the terrors of the law upon the conscience, but by showing the spirituality of it, and the exceeding sinfulness of sin; and how incapable they are of satisfying the law, for the transgressions of it; and then he works faith in them, whereby they revive and live; they see pardon and righteousness in Christ, and pray for the one, and plead the other; and also lay hold and live upon the righteousness of Christ, when the Spirit seals up the pardon of their sins to them, and passes the sentence of justification on them, and so they reckon themselves alive unto God; and this is the justification of life, the Scripture speaks of; and this is in consequence of their being quickened with Christ, at the time of his resurrection; for when he rose from the dead, they rose with him; when he was justified, they were justified in him; and in this sense when he was quickened, they were quickened with him:

by grace ye are saved: the Claromontane copy and the Vulgate Latin version read, "by whose grace"; and the Arabic and Ethiopic versions, "by his grace"; either by the grace of him that quickens, or by the grace of Christ with whom they were quickened; the Syriac version renders it, "by his grace he hath redeemed us"; which seems to refer to the redeeming grace of Christ; and so the Ethiopic version, "and hath delivered us by his grace"; and there is a change of the person into "us", which seems more agreeable to what goes before, and follows after; See Gill on Ephesians 2:8.

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