Ephesians 2

The American Standard Version

2:1 And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins,

2:2 wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience;

2:3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:--

2:4 but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

2:5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved),

2:6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus:

2:7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus:

2:8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

2:9 not of works, that no man should glory.

2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.

2:11 Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands;

2:12 that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ.

2:14 For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition,

2:15 having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace;

2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

2:17 and he came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh:

2:18 for through him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.

2:19 So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,

2:20 being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone;

2:21 in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord;

2:22 in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.

Pathways Notes

Ephesians 2 is a profound exposition on the themes of grace, reconciliation, and the transformation that comes through faith in Christ. Paul elucidates the transition from death to life, explaining that salvation is not a product of human effort but a gift from God. This chapter is pivotal for understanding Christian identity and the radical shift from living according to the flesh to walking in the Spirit. For those engaged in self-help and personal development, Ephesians 2 offers essential insights into how grace can transform self-perception, liberate from past constraints, and motivate towards good works. This transformative understanding of grace redefines personal worth and efficacy, encouraging believers to live out their new identity with confidence and purpose.

Study Instructions for Each Echelon

  • Echelon 1: Enthusiast - Embracing Grace as the Foundation for Life

    • Read: Focus on verses 1-10, where Paul describes the transition from death to life through God’s grace.

    • Reflect: Consider how the concept of grace as a free gift affects your view of personal achievement and worth. How does understanding that you are 'saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God' change your internal dialogue from self-condemnation to acceptance?

    • Apply: Explore the implications of being created in Christ Jesus for good works (v. 10). Reflect on how this divine purpose can guide your decisions and actions, helping you to manage your emotions and actions more effectively.

  • Echelon 4: Emissary - Building on the Foundation of Grace

    • Read: Revisit the entire chapter, with a particular focus on the latter part (verses 11-22), which discusses the unity and peace Christ has created between diverse groups.

    • Reflect: Think about how the grace that saved you also breaks down barriers between people. How can this understanding help you guide others in embracing their new identity and the community of believers?

    • Teach: Consider practical ways you can help others realize their potential through the lens of grace. Develop strategies to encourage and support others in discovering and fulfilling the good works God has prepared for them.

  • Echelon 5: Master - Advanced Understanding of Grace and Salvation

    • Read: Analyze the chapter in its entirety, paying close attention to how Paul integrates doctrinal truths with practical outcomes.

    • Reflect: Deepen your understanding of the theological underpinnings of grace and its implications for Christian living. How does this enhanced perspective equip you to lead others more effectively?

    • Lead: Develop teachings or materials that help others grasp the depth of their transformation under grace. Focus on how this understanding can positively impact their self-talk, emotional health, and spiritual growth. Consider creating case studies or real-life examples where understanding grace has led to profound personal transformation.

By guiding each echelon through Ephesians 2 with these tailored instructions, participants can not only grasp the transformative power of grace in their personal lives but also learn to apply these principles in leading and helping others. This approach ensures that the study of scripture is not only about personal edification but also about community building and leadership development.

Ephesians 2 Notes:

In Ephesians 2, the Apostle Paul delivers a profound message that illuminates the transformation available through Christ, vividly contrasting our past state of spiritual death with our renewed life of grace. Paul begins by reminding us of our former condition—enslaved by worldly pursuits, sin, and disobedience, living under the sway of malevolent forces that operate in opposition to God's will. This depiction not only reflects the universality of sin but also highlights our utter helplessness in changing our fate on our own.

However, the tone shifts dramatically as Paul introduces the central theme of God’s immense love and mercy. Despite our bleak state, God, rich in mercy, intervened out of great love for us. Through Christ’s sacrifice, we are raised from the depths of our transgressions and seated with Him in the heavenly realms. This act is not a result of any human effort or worthiness but is purely a gift of grace. It is through faith that this gift is received, ensuring that no one can boast of earning their salvation.

Paul emphasizes that this transformation is part of God’s masterwork, in which we are created anew in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. This new creation is not just about individual salvation but also encompasses a communal transformation. Paul explains how Christ’s sacrifice has reconciled diverse groups into one new humanity, thus promoting peace and unity. The barriers of hostility that once divided us—symbolized by the law with its commands and regulations—have been demolished.

The chapter culminates in a vision of a new community, a holy temple where followers of Christ are joined together as a dwelling place for God. This imagery not only underscores the unity and interconnectivity of believers but also affirms the indwelling presence of God through the Holy Spirit in this collective body.

Ephesians 2, therefore, offers a rich tapestry of theological insights about grace, transformation, unity, and purpose. It reassures us of our place in God’s eternal plan and challenges us to live out our faith actively, contributing to the building of a community grounded in love and peace.