THOUGHTS FROM EPHESIANS

23 WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SAVED?

A meditation on Ephesians 2:1-10

 

We have already seen over many weeks what it means to be saved. In Ephesians 2:1-10 some additional aspects of salvation are identified.

To be saved means regeneration – new birth, new life [2:1,5].

To be saved means to have a new allegiance - God has rescued us out from under the jurisdiction of Satan, our old master, mentor and motivator [2:2-3] and allied us to himself and his purpose [2:10].

To be saved means to be removed forever from the reach of God's wrath. In ourselves we were 'the objects of wrath' [2:3], justly deserving God's condemnation and judgement. At that time there was no way we could escape from the penalty of our sin, no way we could ever hope to receive God's favour. But now, Paul teaches, we are seated with Christ 'in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus' [2:6] where God's wrath can never touch us, where no penalty or accusation is ever made regarding our sin and guilt. Rather it is God's purpose in this amazing action, that 'in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus' [2:7]. Instead of on-going wrath [condemnation, judgement, separation from God] there is on-going kindness [incomparably rich grace – undeserved, unmerited, unearned, irrevocable, unlimited, sheer gift].

God did not save us in a limited way so that we are again the objects of his wrath, the recipients of his condemnation every time we sin. His grace was not a mere temporary means of getting us to the point of salvation. No. Paul clearly teaches here that the purpose of God saving us in Christ, was in order that he might continue to demonstrate the incomparable riches of that grace expressed in Christ. He saved us by grace in order to continue to lavish his grace upon us.

This means, of course, that salvation continues to be something we do not deserve. Because this new life, this new allegiance, this safe and secure relationship with God, is always the result of God's saving grace, it is never something we can boast about [2:8-9]. We do not deserve, merit or earn it any more today than we did when we first received it. There is never a moment when we can stand in God's presence apart from his grace. There is never a moment when we are not sinners who sin, upon whom God's wrath would surely fall if he had not saved us in Christ. There is never a moment when this salvation depends on us. It is therefore totally secure, totally sure. Indeed, as Paul says elsewhere, because it is by faith, not because of our works, it is guaranteed [Romans 4:16].

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2011