Depravity and Deliverance

Our lives are filled with “but God” moments. Perhaps it was an addiction in which we were ensnared, but God delivered us. Maybe it was a place where we almost compromised our purity, but God restrained us. We may have thought a relationship was irreparable, but God restored it. Failures in parenting may have seemed unbearable, but God redeemed those moments and the gospel was magnified. But the greatest “but God” moment for the believer is when God brings us from death and darkness to life and light in Him. We should never cease to be amazed that the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead is also at work to raise the spiritually dead. One of the best places to learn about this amazing grace is in Ephesians 2:1-10. 


The Depravity of Man 

In the first chapter of Ephesians Paul emphasizes Gods immeasurable power toward His people, illustrating his point with the resurrection and exaltation of Christ (1:20-23). Then in Ephesians 2:1-3 he gives another powerful illustration—the resurrection of believers from spiritual death to life. Like the dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision that came to life by God’s power, Paul proclaims God raises His people from spiritual death to life. Before God saved us Paul states that we were happily walking in darkness, willingly following the course of this world, submissively bowing to the devil, readily indulging the passions of our flesh, and under Gods wrath. Since we “were dead in the trespasses and sins” (v. 1) there is nothing we can do to make ourselves alive. Sadly, many people don’t understand this truth and therefore do not have a proper view of God’s holiness and our need for His deliverance.


The Deliverance of God

The somber truths of Ephesians 2:1-3 makes the phrase, “but God” (v. 4), spectacular. The desperate plight of humankind highlights God’s gracious deliverance. The same power that raised Christ from the dead also raises sinners from spiritual death. The richness of God’s mercy flows from His redeeming love. Remember, He loved us when we were sinners, so His love is not based on our goodness, but on His grace.

               Paul goes on to present a beautiful picture of our union with Christ. By His power God made us alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:5). We are no longer walking according to the course of this world, enslaved to the devil and the passions of our own flesh, and facing the wrath of God. Additionally, we have been raised up with Christ (v. 6). He is the firstfruits of our resurrection. Even now we have the power to walk in newness of life with the hope and assurance that our soul and body will be reunited at Christ’s return and we will live with Him for all eternity in the new heaven and the new earth. Finally, we have been seated with Christ in the heavenly places (v. 6). Although on this side of glory we still battle sin, because of our union with Christ we are victorious and share in His ruling power. The believer’s salvation glorifies God by displaying “the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (v. 7). We will be raised from the grave to the praise of His glorious grace!

               Salvation is of the Lord, “the gift of God” (vv. 8-9). We have been saved from sin, so that we can accomplish good works for God’s glory (v. 10). He providentially and purposefully works in our lives so that we will accomplish what He prepared beforehand for us to do. This is tremendously encouraging! Our heavenly Father is orchestrating His plan for our lives. We don’t have to be afraid we’ll miss it or try to frantically find it. Consider your calling and gifts, as well as the opportunities before you. Then celebrate the work God has given you as you accomplish it by His power.

               Ephesians 2:1-10 provides a beautiful summary of the doctrines of grace. First, humankind is dead in their trespasses and sins (vv. 1-3). Second, it is only by God’s favor, which we have not earned, that He saves any of us (vv. 4-5). Third, our salvation is not a possibility, but a certainty (vv. 6-7). Fourth, we cannot resist the saving grace of God (vv. 8-9). Finally, He preserves His workmanship and enables them to do good works for His glory (v. 10).

               Be encouraged today, dear believer. God’s grace really is amazing! You share in Christ’s life, have received His power, and are the recipient of His great love. Our depravity is great but His deliverance is greater.      

Sarah Ivill (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is a Reformed author, wife, homeschooling mom, Bible study teacher, and conference speaker who lives in Matthews, North Carolina, and is a member of Christ Covenant Church (PCA). To learn more, please visit


Sarah Ivill