Hope At The End of The Rope
It is only to the guilty undeserving souls who finally recognize that they are lost souls in need of reconciliation with God that God offers “the Forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His Grace” (Eph. 1:7). All humans are born alienated from God. The “natural man” has a mind twisted due to the “sin [nature] in the flesh” of all men from birth.
“For what the [Mosaic] law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh [as Jesus of Nazareth], and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” [on behalf of all men at the Cross]:” Romans 8:3 (KJV)
Some of us recognize our fallen nature and our need sooner than others. Nevertheless, in Ephesians 2:2-3 we see the hopeless state of all mankind, lost in their own selves, relying upon their own devices.
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world [age], according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our
conversation [manner of living] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Ephesians 2:2-3 (KJV)
First, Eph. 2:2-3, which sheds clear light upon the fallen nature and destiny of lost humanity and by this we see the necessary power of God’s grace. These verses speak of the fallen nature and wrath-filled destiny for lost mankind as “the children of disobedience” who “by nature the children of (God’s) wrath.” Paul wrote this to formerly lost and hopeless people at Ephesus, those who had at last come to trust the good news of Salvation to be found in Christ.
Thus, we see that Paul uses the past tense, “in time past ye ...” “in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind” and “ were by nature...” when he addresses these believers concerning their former state before God, in contrast to their present state before God.
Consider for a moment on these phrases: “the children of disobedience” [vs 2] and “by nature children of (God’s) wrath” [vs 3]. So, it is against this dark and hopeless background of deserved wrath that we read further in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and find the good news of His love and grace toward all mankind.
So, all men are born almost entirely by the twisted desires of self-interest and self-concern that governs their lives as they grope through life in spiritual darkness. But then in verses 4-5 we see the good news of the Self-less One – God in Christ, who changes everything for lost humanity if they will only trust in Him.
In the Bible the word “But” always indicates ‘a changed view is about to be spoken.’ Note the change of view that begins here with “But God...”
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened [enlivened] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” Ephesians 2:4-6 (KJV)
It actually takes a load off one’s heart and mind when we come to the end of our rope, as it were, and admit that we are needy helpless sinners, who are deserving God’s wrath. The end of the rope leads us to genuine “light” of God’s love and a new life for us. How sweet to the ears of such a lost one is the wonderful message of redemption by God’s grace, through faith the finished work of Christ at Calvary’s Cross - offered as a free gift to all who will simply trust in Christ as their Savior and redeemer.
We were all “in time past” the “children of disobedience” and therefore “by nature the children of wrath”: “BUT GOD!”
When all hope for mankind seemed gone, God intervened by Christ’s cross. He now freely offers salvation to all of us by His grace, through faith... in His Son’s cross, in Christ dying for us, in place of us!
“ 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
All that’s left for one to do is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Then, even after we are saved, we are to conduct our lives in the very same way of trusting Christ. We trust Christ who now indwells us as the new us, and as He teaches us how we are to live in rest and peace.