1996-10-22 - The Great Parenthesis
Ephesians 2:5 "(by grace you are saved)
The 5th Verse of Ephesians has Three Characteristic
- A repetition of our condition which we were in by our nature, "When we
were dead in our sins" Paul says, "He made us alive together with Christ".
- The first benefit bestowed upon us, which is our promise of glory, that
is our being made alive together with Christ.
The Apostle's note, in a parenthesis, where he fingers the cause. "by
grace you are saved".
Now why is this given in the form of a parenthesis? I think it argues that
Paul's thoughts were full of the grace that God had given him. He uses his
first opportunity to inject it in, even though it breaks the chain of what
he is establishing. He mentions our being made alive in Christ and it is
as if he says, "Are you alive?", "It is by grace that you have been made
alive". He can't seem to hold himself back.
How do we put the two concepts of grace and being saved together? 1. By looking
at God's everlasting purposes, looking beyond ourselves, so we see every
benefit that is given to us and which flow out of grace and the good-will
of God. You see this being done in 2 Timothy 1:9, "Who has saved us, and
called us with a holy calling, not according to our own works, but according
to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before
the world began". Here the love of God, set upon us, is called a gift.
What was the cause of the death of Christ for us? It was the free grace of
God in his eternal purpose, Romans 8: 32, Having given us His Son, "how
shall he not with him freely also give us all things?" So Christ, the
most excellent gift, yet was a gift to us, and with Him came all else.
- God has laid all grace and all our salvation, and all the virtue by which
we are saved, not in ourselves, but in another, namely; in Christ. So we
are never saved by any grace that is in us, but only by the grace that is
in Christ for us. It is not our holiness that shall cause us to rise on the
last day, but Christ's.
Peter says (1Pt 5:12), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying
that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!", or really, I have
opened the gospel to you. But beware, there is nothing that the heart of
man is more likely to fail to understand or to fall away from. Galatians
1:6, "I marvel that you are so soon deserting Him who called you by the grace
of Christ, for a different gospel". We are easily put off the course and
self-love comes and we are ruined. This very little sentence, a parenthesis,
is the very heart of the gospel. And the gospel is for believers, for their
encouragement and joy. Soli