When it comes to understanding the heart of the gospel, Ephesians 2:8–10 is an anchor passage. And this week I had the privilege and the challenge of preaching it. The privilege comes in the fact that, this verse encapsulates so much gospel truth. The challenge is unpacking all that is there in those three verses.
As with many sermons, preaching this passage makes the preacher feel as though so much more could be said about this vast and glorious subject. Nevertheless, I pray this week’s message articulated the gospel truth that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in the work of Christ alone. And such free grace ensures that the new life of the believer means that saving faith is never alone, rather as Ephesians 2:10 says: it produces a life of good works.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
- When it comes to the Bible, why do definitions matter?
- How might people define grace and faith wrongly today? How have people (in the church even) misunderstood grace and faith?
- From Ephesians, how should we define grace, faith, and salvation? Look up the way grace and faith (believe or faith) are used there.
- What is the relationship between salvation and works? Faith and works? Grace and works? (Compare 2 Timothy 1:8–9, Titus 3:3–8, James 2:14–26).
- In reading Ephesians 2:8–10, what is the hardest thing to understand? What’s the hardest thing to embrace emotionally? Are these two things the same or different? If different, why so?
- How are we tempted to let works define ourselves? How does Ephesians 1–2 help us find our identity in Christ?
- Who might be a good person to share this message with?
- Justification a la John Calvin — a short compilation of Calvin quotations by Tony Lane
- By God’s Grace: Rome and Luther on Salvation — a short article by Timo Laato differentiating the way Catholics and Protestants speak of grace, faith, and salvation
- What is Saving Faith? – a meditation on Romans 4 by David Schrock
- Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation by Erwin Lutzer — a great history of the Reformation; the last chapter does an exceedingly good job explaining the ongoing problems with the Roman Catholic Church.
- Why the Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves and Tim Chester — a more systematic and theological look at the Reformation.
** Both of these books are available in on our church’s bookshelf.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds