Ephesians 2: 1-10,
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
These first three verses tell us how filthy we were prior to our acceptance of Christ. We walked according to the power of the air, and the spirit that works in the sons of disobedience. We indulged in the desires of the flesh and the desires of the minds. Please note that Paul said we formerly did those things.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
These four verses say that God overlooked our sinfulness and made us alive (born again) together with Christ Jesus, raising us up with Him, and seating us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that we might be with Jesus in the ages to come.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
Verses 8 and 9 remind us that we are saved by the love and kindness of God, and not by any works of our own.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
In verse 10, Paul speaks of our new life in Christ Jesus, and tells us that we are to walk in the works God prepared beforehand. These are not works to gain or ensure our salvation; they are works that spring forth from the Spirit of Christ within us, such as loving one another, helping one another, thinking on things that are good and worthy of praise, etc.
These are the works of the Spirit within us, and they are only done when we walk by the Spirit. When we walk by the flesh, the works of the sons of disobedience naturally spring forth; when we walk by the Spirit, the works of the sons of obedience naturally spring forth.
This is Christianity; this is being born again; this is the gospel of Christ. This is attaining to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, Hebrews 5:8, 9.
Peace to all who submit to the Father’s discipline.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org