1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God,
to those who believe in His name:
1:13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man,
but of God.
1:19 … the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe,
according to the working of His mighty power
1:20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places …
… 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins …
… 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ
(by grace you have been saved),
2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places
in Christ Jesus,
2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace
in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God,
2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
You are about to see … just how backwards things can appear to be!
The KEY is … In these passages, Christians are described as …
“those who believe” (John 1:12) and “us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19).
JOHN refers to Christians as “them”, “children of God”, and “those who believe”
… and says that they had NO part at all in becoming “born of God”.
PAUL begins with how Christians need spiritual power for spiritual wisdom … through
“the exceeding greatness of His power … according to the working of His mighty power” (1:19).
God made people spiritually alive who were spiritually dead (2:1, 2:5) …
by raising them up (2:6) with the same power that raised Christ from the dead (1:19-20)!
God did NOT exercise His great love and mercy (2:4) towards people who
were spiritually dead … because they decided to believe in the gospel.
But, He did this of His own volition … just because of His grace (2:5, 2:7, 2:8).
It’s all about God’s grace (unmerited favor) … It’s all about God’s desire to be praised
because of His grace … and it’s nothing about peoples’ choosing to believe anything.
Salvation is given strictly as the gift of God (2:8), but it can be refused.
What about this business of “saved through faith” (2:8)?
Simply, these are the ones who respond appropriately … they accept,
believe, have faith in, trust in, etc. the revelation which they received from God.
But, if they choose to NOT accept the revelation, they are NOT saved through faith!
What about this business of God “desires/wants all people to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4)?
Many say this means people from ALL of the ethnic groups, countries, etc.
Question: Does God really give His free gift of spiritual revelation to everyone,
and then only a small percentage of them accept, believe, exhibit faith, trust, etc.?
Some bonus election coverage …
Acts 16:13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside,
where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer;
and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.
16:14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics,
a worshiper of God, was listening;
and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.