Article - Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound
In Ephesians 2:8 Paul wrote, “For by grace have you been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God.” In this text, the inspired apostle tells us that grace plays a vital role in the salvation of mankind. The subject of grace has been a rather controversial subject by the denominational world. Grace is so controversial because many people try to shape the grace of God into what they think it should mean, instead of what the Holy Spirit intended for it to originally mean. Actually, God’s grace hits right at the heart and core of everything man is or ever will be. The importance of grace to the soul is elaborated on by the Apostle Paul in this text. To correctly understand grace we must define it in context.
In Ephesians 2:1 the Apostle Paul wrote, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sin.” In this verse Paul reminds the brethren in Ephesus that until Christ they were dead in sin and in a lost state. Ephesus was a Capital City, major seaport, and cultural center among the provinces of Asia Minor. As one would enter the city of Ephesus by ship, the first thing that would come to view was the Temple of Dianna. Dianna was the pagan goddess of love and fertility, and the central figure of idol worship. It is believed that some of the members at the church in Ephesus were once part of this idolatry (Acts 19:23-41), hence they “walked according to the course of the world”(Ephesians 2:2). Also, in Ephesus the problems of black magic or sorcery(Acts 19:19), sensuality, and sexual uncleanness were very rampant. Those who practiced sorcery believed that they must appease their god or goddess by fulfilling the desires of the flesh in their honor. Since Dianna was the goddess of fertility and love, it is no wonder the Apostle told the brethren they “conducted themselves in the lust of their flesh fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath”(Ephesians 2:3).
It is evident that the Ephesians were once dead in sin. However, every human being has at one time been just as spiritually dead as the Ephesians. I Jn 3:4 says, “sin is a transgression of God’s law”, and Romans 3:23 says, “ All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” As a result, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you. . “, and, “the wages of sin is death”(Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23). In light of these passages not only were the Ephesians dead in sin, but you and I have also at one time been dead in sin.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Ephesians 2:4-5). In Ephesians 2:1-3, man had fallen into the quicksand of sin and was sinking fast, but in verses 4-7 God intervenes by throwing in the life line of Grace. Paul affirms in this passage that a combination of both God’s mercy (Hebrews 8:12), and His love ( Jn 3:16) are the amazing grace of God. An overview definition for the grace of God is, His unmerited favor towards mankind. However, an even more accurate definition is, when God allows us to receive what we don’t deserve (heaven), and allows us to escape what we do (Hell). An acrostic way to remember grace is God’s Riches At Christ Expense. In essence it could be said that the grace of God ran through the veins of our savior and spilled on the ground at Calvary for all humanity (Titus 2:11-12). I believe the Old Hymn sums it up best,
How Sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
was blind, but now I see.”
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