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Biblical Analysis of Ephesians 2:1-10Assessment

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¶ … Ephesians 2:1-10

One among the most noteworthy passages in the whole of the Scripture is Ephesians 2:1-10. When taken from one perspective, the passage represents a simple synopsis of the Bible's message: mankind lived in sin, died in it, was headed towards its ultimate judgment, and was saved by God. In a different sense, the passage's treasures could be extracted forever. It can be counted among the most meaningful, most loved, and most well-defined of all descriptions of redemption that the New Testament presents. What is of interest here is the manner in which the passage captures an image of this redemption, and specifically, what it means, as per Ephesians 2:1-10, to be "saved" (The Docent Research Group n.d.).

Sin's consequences are severing of the relationship between the individual, the world and God; due to this rebellion from His will, the Almighty condemned everyone. Gentiles as well as Jews are convicted to death through sin, after been found as deserving to receive the Almighty's divine judgment. So far as He is concerned, they are spiritually and rightfully dead (2:1-3). The love of God, however, planned a means for saving the condemned world, which was -- sacrificing his Son, Christ instead of us. This way, the Almighty pronounces us just and forgives our sins, while granting us life based on the virtuousness of Him who passed away, rising on mankind's behalf. The richness of God's divine grace and mercy are revealed in elevating those who are spiritually dead to a fresh life in Jesus. Furthermore, we are given an even greater gift by Grance -- beyond just sharing in Jesus's heavenly seat in future, owing to the union of our spirit with Jesus, we have already taken a seat with Jesus in heaven (verses 4-7) (Arroyo 2015).

Salvation is God's gift, appropriated solely by Faith (verses 8-9). That is, the saving of a person does not hinge on his/her qualities or the works done by him/her, but by the Almighty freely according salvation through His Grace to anyone willing to have faith through the Holy Spirit. Salvation constitutes an interaction between God and man. Faith's content, i.e., what we must believe (specifically the death of Jesus death, His sacrifice, and His rebirth), is provided by God. However, the real believing is done by us and no one can do this for anyone else. Faith is not a work. It is the response, sought by God, of acknowledging and taking what is provided by God (Romans 4). 'Faith alone' implies merely believing that Jesus's redemption is sufficient for man's salvation, without needing to add his own religious rituals or obedience. This novel relationship of man with God generates within us a new life, i.e., life in Jesus (v. 10). A new position, or center, to our lives with Christ at its center subdues our older, sinful character. Due to this fresh relationship with Christ, our works must be good, in agreement with the design and character of God. Though good works do not form the cause or basis of one's salvation (as Christ is the root and foundation), still, they make up the outcome or 'fruit' of one's new covenant connection with Christ (Arroyo 2015).

Historical Context

Despite the fact that this book starts with, "Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus," by God's will, to those faithful in Jesus, and the saints at Ephesus" (1:1), modern-day scholars are divided concerning the book's intended beneficiaries and its authorship. Although a comprehensive treatment of the above issues extends beyond this exegesis' scope, the following brief synopsis can be made.

Authorship

The book's language, vocabulary and style of writing, distinctly differs from letters that are regarded by scholars as unquestionably Pauline; these include Romans, Galatians, 1-2 Corinthians, Philippians, Philemon and 1 Thessalonians. Moreover, some of this letter's theology varies from the theology in other letters of Paul. For example, it is stated in Romans 6:5 that, if mankind unites with Christ in correspondence with his passing, it will also form part of Christ's resurrection. The verse perceives resurrection - unity with Jesus - as something that will be experienced in future. However, Ephesians 2:6 states that, we have been raised up with Christ, and made to sit alongside him in heaven. That is, according to this verse, man's resurrection-unity with Jesus has already been achieved (Donovan 2012).

Intended recipients

The phrase "at Ephesus" (1:1) does not appear in the most ancient, and likely most reliable, of manuscripts. This epistle does not address congregational issues, such as are dealt with in other letters of Paul to churches. Moreover, from the verses 3:2-4, it appears as though the Ephesians do not personally know Paul; this contradicts the fact that, on Paul's second missionary expedition, he visited Ephesus (Acts 18:19-28), and also resided there for three years during his third expedition (Acts 20:31). The above facts have led some biblical scholars to suppose that the letter was composed pseudonymously -- perhaps after the death of Paul, by one of his followers, who wrote in Paul's name. In those days, pseudonymous works were a common thing; the purpose behind pseudonymous letters was not deception. The addressees would probably have known that the letter was pseudonymous. According to some scholars, this particular letter was composed for distribution among numerous churches, and not just that at Ephesus. Nevertheless, for this exegesis' purpose, as well as to keep it simple, Paul will be referred to as its author, with the Ephesians being the intended beneficiaries -- while allowing that its author could have been somebody else, and its intended beneficiaries could have been many churches (Donovan 2012).

Literary Context

Regarding the literary context of Ephesians, Robert H. Gundry has written that, Ephesians, unlike most letters of Paul's, does not appear to be written as a response to some specific argument or occurrence. The letter is of a nearly meditative nature (421). Paul addresses the Church at Ephesus, encouraging its members to unite as a single unit under Christ. Emphasis is placed on the equality of Gentiles and Jews as both being children of the Lord. Ephesians 2:1-10 directly follows the epistle's introductory material. Paul begins his sermon by reminding readers of God's redemptive work to their lives (Scroggins n.d.).

In verses 1:3-23, it has been written by Paul that the Father chose us, in Jesus, for adoption (1:3-6), that the Son saved us (vv. 7-10), and that the promise of the Holy Spirit was sealed for us (vv. 11-14). The passage 2:1-10 actually forms the first part of the reminder of Paul to his readers that they have transitioned from death into life -- from servitude to sins into liberation from sins. Verses 11-22, i.e. The epistle's second half, describes man's previous separation from the covenant promises of God to Israel, as well as its current unification with Him and with all children of God (that is, both Gentiles and Jews) (Schaub 2007).

Flow of Verbal Structure

As is characteristic to the book, the text in question is also heavily laden with clause upon clause, and prepositional expressions piled up like cordwood. Verses 1 to 7, in the original Greek, make up a single 124-word sentence, with the subject not appearing until the 4th verse, and the key verbs appearing in the 5th and 6th verses. Therefore, examining this text in small sections is helpful in order to understand and appreciate Christian life's vision, as displayed by the author (Carlson 2009).

Key "Theological Terms" and Concepts

The epistle begins with a portrayal of man's earlier conduct and reality (verses 1-3). We were previously ruled by our sins and trespasses, which ruled our life (verses 1-2a). This sort of existence also utterly bonded us to malicious powers, described by the text through various phrases, in verses 2b to 3 as "flesh," "this world," and "the ruler of the power of the air." In Ephesian cosmology, "this world" denotes the current age in animosity with the Lord (cf. 1:21). "Air," here, refers to the region between the heavens and the earth, inhabited and governed by hostile forces who exercise their power over the earth lying beneath it. This ruler, later on in Ephesians, is termed as the 'devil' (4:27; 6:11). "Flesh" denotes man's condition, so focused on oneself that one's cravings, passions, and outlook are in utter disgrace and defiance, thereby marking mankind as the children of fury (verse 3). Though this was Christians' former existence, it is the existing reality of every non-Christian (verse 2b) (Carlson 2009).

Main Idea of passage (text) (MIT) and Main Idea of the Sermon (message) (MIM)

Ephesians 2:1-3. You were dead through your trespasses and sins

You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience; 3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing… [END OF PREVIEW]

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