Having laid foundational truths of God’s salvation in chapter one, Paul now in chapter two explains how God saves sinners.
First, God causes sinners who are spiritually dead to be made alive through Jesus Christ (vv. 1-10). Note how unbelievers are described in verses 1-3: spiritually dead in sin (v. 1), controlled by Satan (v. 2), and devoted to living for oneself, gratifying the sin nature (v. 3). Then, “but God,” (v. 4)! Sinners have no hope in themselves, only in God’s mercy and love while they were sinners (vv. 4-5). God causes them to be born again (vv. 5-6), for his glory (v. 7), and solely by grace through faith (vv. 8-9). Believers are what they are by God’s work and thus live for him (v. 10).
Second, though Jews and Gentiles were guilty before and separated from God and one another, through Christ’s death God forgave and reconciled believing sinners (vv. 11-22). God graciously chose Israel and blessed them with promises and Jesus Christ, but Gentiles were far away from and aliens to these blessings (vv. 11-12). Then, “But now,” (v. 13)! Through Jesus’ death hopeless Gentiles who trust in Christ are brought near (v. 13). The One who brought this peace is Jesus, who through his life, death, and resurrection did away with every cause of separation (vv. 14-15a). Jesus causes every believer, whether Jew or Gentile, to become spiritually united in one body forever (vv. 15b-18).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Sinners are hopeless lost, cannot save themselves, and of themselves will not seek salvation (vv. 1-3). Any and every sinner’s only hope is “but God.”
- While works cannot save, one who is saved works (vv. 8-10). Salvation is by the free grace of God, but true salvation is never free of works demonstrating and proving that one has been saved. God saves sinners so they will no longer live to sin, but rather so they will live to glorify him in life.
- Work through this chapter noting different words and phrases characterizing God’s salvation in Jesus through the Spirit (such as “rich in mercy,” “great love,” etc.).