Commentary on Ephesians, 2:7-9


Ephesians 2:7-9

“6 and raised [us] together and seated [us] together in the heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that he might show in the coming ages the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.” LEB

“in the coming ages”

Endless ages. Greek expression which refers to eternity.

“show”

Display or exhibit. “The middle voice denotes for His own glory.” – Vincent

“surpassing riches”

Exceeding or immeasurable or limitless riches.

“grace”

Unmerited favor.

“in kindness”

Kindness and goodness of God.

Throughout endless ages, God will display His grace and kindness in those who are in Christ. We will be an exhibit of His grace and favor and goodness of heart. The redeemed in Christ will serve as a continuous reminder of the limitless value of the grace that God extended to mankind when we were “dead in our sins” and in need of saving. The mercy and love of God (vs 4) will be magnified through those in Christ. The angels will look upon us, and we will look upon each other, and our praise of God will be heard throughout His Kingdom. We will worship Him forever and ever for what we will then experience in His glorious presence.

“8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this [is] not from yourselves, [it is] the gift of God; 9 [it is ] not from works, so that no one can boast.” LEB

The subject of these verses is obviously salvation (“saved”). Yet, Calvinists claim that the “gift” in this verse refers to “faith.” Amazing. The entire context of these two verses is about salvation. I think any good English teacher would identify the subject as being salvation, not faith, as the following English professor would confirm:

Quote:

How to Identify the Subject:

 

“The clearest way of spotting the subject of a sentence is to turn the sentence into a yes-no question (by this we mean a question which can be answered with either ‘yes’ or ‘no’). In English, questions are formed by reversing the order between the subject and the first verb which follows it. Look at the following example:

He can keep a Tamagotchi alive for more than a week.

The appropriate question here if we want a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as an answer is:

Can he keep a Tamagotchi alive for more than a week?

Here ‘he’ and ‘can’ have changed places and that means that ‘he’ must be the subject in the first sentence. . . .  – Richard Nordquist PH.D, About.Com –
Unquote
Using the above instructions, let’s reword the first sentence of verse 8:

From:

“you have been saved through faith.”

To:

“have you been saved through faith?”

The subject is clearly saved not faith.

Calvinist feel that they need to identify faith as being the gift that Paul mentions, because they believe that exercising faith would be meritorious. Thus giving a person reason for “boasting.” In their thinking, since exercising faith from a free will (more accurately, from a freed will), then the “gift of God” must be referring to faith. However, that is as forced as anything can be. There is no good reason to identify faith as being the gift of God.

Paul says in Romans 6:23 that the “gift of God [is] eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul is consistent in his teaching. He clearly names “eternal life” as being the gift of God in this verse. Therefore, the gift of God that he names in Eph 2:8 is also eternal life, or as he describes it here, salvation (“saved”).

In regard to faith, Paul says in Romans 10:17 that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” ESV

We cannot come to faith in Christ on our own. We can only come to Christ as the Holy Spirit uses the “word of Christ” in our hearts. The Holy Spirit must convict us of our sins and open our eyes to the truth of the gospel message. We are spiritually depraved, thus, we are not able to believe on our own. The Holy Spirit must free our wills so that we can respond to the message in faith. We are not forced to believe, as the Calvinist doctrine of irresistible grace teaches. We are simply enabled to believe. We are free to resist and reject the grace of God.