Ephesians 2:4-5 But God
Our text this morning is in Ephesians 2:1-10.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, 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 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
On September 13, 1884 the famed preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote a letter to a friend saying,
Dear Mr. Page, I thank you and your people with all my heart. I intend to give you as a birthday present a complete set of Calvin’s works. I believe the books will be at the Tabernacle by Thursday. You will want a cab to take them home. You have earned them so there will be no need of thanks. Yours ever lovingly, C.H.S.
Notice briefly with me four things about this letter.
First, Spurgeon is thankful with all of his heart for this man and his congregation. He says, “I thank you and your people with all my heart.”
Secondly, out of gratitude Spurgeon has purchased this man an unexpected present. A present so large that a cab will be needed to get it home.
Thirdly, Spurgeon loves this man and his congregation saying, “Yours ever lovingly, C.H.S.”
Forthly, Spurgeon says, “You have earned them so there will be no need for thanks.”
Spurgeon’s love and gratitude for Mr. Page and his congregation played some role in the giving of this gift, but Spurgeon clearly believes this man has earned it in some way. Therefore, Spurgeon said that this minister did not need to give any thanks. He simply instructs him to get a cab and pick it up on Thursday.
Contrast that letter to what Spurgeon preached to his congregation. He said, “The constant tenor and spirit of our lives should be adoring gratitude, love, reverence, and thanksgiving to the Most High.”
Spurgeon worked tirelessly for his congregation. However, notice that Spurgeon did not tell his congregation that they ought to adore, be grateful for, love and reverence and to be ever thankful for his long ministry to them. No, they were to have adoring gratitude, love, reverence, and thanksgiving to the Most High.
Spurgeon could admonish his congregation in this way because a Christian has not earned by their own merits any good thing from the Lord. All that they have received: salvation, the innumerable spiritual blessings, and their eventual glorification, is a gift from God. As Paul will say in our text today, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Note those last six words, “...so that no one may boast”.
There are so many people boasting of so many things but we can be sure of this one thing; there will not be two types of people in heaven.
There will not be those who can boast and those who can’t.
There will not be those there who were saved by their own merits and those who made it in only by the merits of Christ.
There will not be those who added some degree of their own righteousness to get into heaven and those who had no righteousness of their own to offer.
Let me give you two verses from Ephesians that show us that God’s plan is to make one new man by the grace of God.
This is what Paul will say in Ephesians 4:5-7, “There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”