WE have already seen how Paul describes what God’s grace has done for us; we shall now hear him recite what it has wrought in us if we are indeed saved.
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (we were without spiritual life, but now we are made alive unto God; regeneration is as great a wonder as if the corpses in the churchyard should burst their graves and begin life again. Grace is life, sin is death, conversion is a resurrection.)
2, 3 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (What a humbling passage! The best of men were by nature no better than the worst. Satan found a willing servant in each one of us, and such we should still have been had not grace interposed.)
4, 5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved;)
That little sentence, “By grace ye are saved,” is the key of true divinity. Study it well, and believe it thoroughly, and you will escape a thousand doctrinal errors. Carry this text in your heart, and you will be sound in the faith.
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
We grovel in the dust by nature, but grace sets us up above all earthly things. What manner of persons ought we to be who sit with Jesus in heaven!
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (In saved men the love of God is more clearly seen than in all the universe besides. The new creation is the crown of all the works of God.)
8–10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
11, 12 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (The distance was infinite, and the nearness is intimate. The blood of Jesus works marvels, it annihilates distance, breaks down partition walls, and transforms aliens into sons.)
14, 15 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Here we have the Trinity in one verse all uniting to help us to pray. All the three divine persons must aid us before we can offer a single acceptable petition.)
19–22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
The saints of God are not so many loose stones, but they are parts of a building, and it is for each one of us to fill his place in the church for the good of others and the glory of the Lord, who dwells within his church as a king in his palace. Let us remember this, and seek above all things to promote the unity, edification, and holiness of all our brethren in Christ.
C. H. Spurgeon, The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1964), 707–708.