v1-3 - There are only two spiritual conditions, and before learning what it means to be alive in Christ, you must understand the default condition: being dead in sin.
People who are spiritually dead are slaves to "the ruler of the kingdom of the air (v2)."
All people who are not in Christ are in this condition,
enslaved to satisfying their own unquenchable appetite.
This sinfulness makes people deserving of God's wrath, not His love.
v4-7 - Always be on the lookout for big BUT's in the Bible, and this is one of them. BUT:
although we deserved God's wrath,
because of God's love, He has:
made you alive in Christ by grace,
and raised you up with Christ, in order that:
in the age to come
He can give you even greater kindness.
v8-10 - This passage is the central message of the Bible - understand it well!
you have been saved
faith (which has been given as a gift from God)
not the good things you've done (nobody can brag about how they've saved themselves).
God did this because you're the best thing He's made.
He created you in Christ
so that you could do the good works He prepared for you before He created anything.
v11-18 - Salvation by grace through faith is the one thing that brings unity to all people.
All those in Christ have:
been brought into one new humanity,
and thus are in peace!
This message of peace is what is preached by Christ.
v19-22 - As a result, you are:
Joined in perfect unity with fellow citizens of God's Kingdom.
We are all being built "to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit (v22)."
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Another word for 'dwelling in which God lives' is temple. Read 1 Kings 8:1-14 which tells of God's glory coming to dwell in the temple Solomon had built, realizing that God's Spirit has come to dwell in you.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Paul mentions a specific way in which God is rich. What is it? (See verse 4.)
Suppose that at the end of this chapter, Paul added this line: “If you remember only one thing from this chapter, let it be this: …” How do you think he would complete that sentence?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God has wrath for those who remain dead in their sin (v3), yet He is rich in mercy (v4)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the strength and wisdom to identify and fulfill the good works you've been created to do (v10)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: