Journal Eph 2 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: (Paul speaking) For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God—not a result of works so that no one may boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (which God prepared beforehand) that we should walk in them. Therefore,
Remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh (called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision (the Jews)—which is made in the flesh by hands), remember that at you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the Blood of Christ. (Eph 2:8-13)
Observation: It appears that the Greek believers were discriminated against by the Jewish believers of Ephesus. What becomes of the common denominator of the Cross?
Analysis: “For by grace you have been saved…” What is the point of this statement?
Simply: Grace is the action observed and experienced of God’s Sovereignty. Why is this important to embrace? I am convinced that it defines the distance between Creator and Creation, Eternal and Temporal, and the separation (physically and mentally) between the All-Powerful (Omnipotent God) and the Powerless (Man).
The stumbling issue at Ephesus perhaps were the believing Jews, making a tiered distinction between themselves and the Gentiles (“Look, see here? We follow the traditional instructions and are circumcised; therefore, we are 1stClass believers and not 2nd Class like yourselves…).
That attitude is contradicted by the statement “For by grace you have been saved…” The Triune God unilaterally exercised grace for Mankind and Creation for salvation. For Man, this was done through the Son’s atoning death on the Cross (and the unimaginable agony elsewhere on the eternal plane that must have been).
That Atonement was for Creation: No distinction between Jews and Gentiles. As I, by a function of faith, embrace what the Trinity did and specifically what Jesus did, I can lay claim to the Hope of Salvation.
What should I remember, proclaim, and worship? That God did all of this. Even the faith that rises in my soul and my mind is all the Holy Spirit’s doing.
And I am grateful.
Ricky Two Shoes