In this study, I would like to paint a picture of the human dilemma and what God alone can do about it. In Ephesians 2:1-10, Paul has just completed his discussion in chapter 1 of the blessings believers have received as well as his prayer for them to realize what they have. He continues his thoughts that began in verse 19 of the resurrection of the believer. He not only prayed that their “understanding” be “enlightened” and that they “may know what is the hope of His calling...the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”, but he also prayed that they would know “what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.” This same power that “raised” Jesus “from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (vv.18-20) is the same power that raises the believer from spiritual death to spiritual life. John 5:21 says, “the Father raises the dead and gives life to them.” That verse is realized throughout the Bible. Whether its God raising the son of the Shunammite woman through Elisha (2 Kings 4:30-36) or Jesus raising the dead during His earthly ministry (Mat.9:25), John 5:21 says, “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.” When Jesus died on the cross, Matthew 27:50-53 says at that very moment “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” God raised these saints from the dead and He raised Jesus as well. Notice what Peter says in Acts chapter two.
In Acts 2:24 Peter said to the crowd who was gathered at
“The Father raises the dead and gives life to them” (John 5:21). The dead do not raise themselves. When we read Ephesians 1:20 that is what we’re seeing. God “raise Him [Christ] from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (vv.20-23). Then chapter two says, “And you....” Chapter breaks many times interrupt a passage as is the case here. Verse 1 is still part of the content of Paul’s prayer. Only now in verse 1 does he turn his attention to the resurrection of the believer. He says that the same power which raised Jesus from the dead raised you from spiritual death. Notice how Paul paints this graphic picture of what we were before our spiritual resurrection in verses 1-3. He says we were dead in sin, living according to the world and Satan and according to the flesh.
Have you thought lately where you were when God showered His mercy and grace on you? You were dead in trespasses and sins; powerless and helpless. That is the spiritual state of all unbelievers. Don’t ever forget it. Just as God raised Jesus from the dead, He must do the same for believers or they will never be saved.