Who Am I 4) I Am Saved

I Am Saved

Text: Ephesians 2:1-10


When I was about 2 years old we had some relatives come over from Holland, my dad’s cousins, Frak and Argh, yes that’s what Dutch people call their kids. But anyway my dad wanted to show them Tassie. On one particular trip we went to Hastings Caves and nearby there are some hot springs, which they’ve turned into a swimming pool. And while everyone was having fun I fell into the pool. I couldn’t swim, I don’t even remember trying to, I don’t remember feeling panicked, I just remember looking up through the water and seeing the shapes of people walking past. I don’t even know who noticed me, but someone did, and they hauled me up out the water. They saved me from drowning.

In our passage this morning Paul uses that same language. Twice he says, ‘you have been saved.’ The goal of this sermon is that you will be able to say, ‘I am saved!’ I want you to know what you have been saved from, what you are saved by and what you are saved for.


1) We need saving from…

So let’s start with what we need saving from. Often as Christians we take this sort of lingo for granted, and we ask people ‘Are you saved?’ and we know what we’re talking about, but they don’t have a clue, ‘Saved from what? Why do I need saving?’ If your house was on fire you’d call the fire brigade. If you were drowning you’d call the life savers. If someone tries to break into your house you’d call the cops. But if you don’t have any sense that you are in danger, you don’t realize that you need a Saviour. Paul outlines 6 things that we need saving from in our text this morning.

a) Death

Like someone saved me from drowning when I was two so Paul says that we have been saved from death. He says, ‘1 As for you, you were dead… (Eph 2:1a)’ That seems like a strange thing to say to someone who obviously isn’t dead. But according to the Bible if we rebel against God we ‘17 …will surely die. (Gen 2:17c)’ and later the Bible says that ‘23 …the wages of sin is death… (Rom 6:23a)’ And not just physical death, but eternal death, what the Bible calls hell. The only reason we aren’t dead is because God is gracious, God is patient, because God wants to save us. But unless he saves us we will all die. It’s like my laptop here, if I unplug it from the source of power, it is only running on battery power, it is slowly dying, and unless I plug it back in it will die. In the same way we have been disconnected from God, the source of life, and we are all dying. The truth is we are spiritually dead, we are physically dying, and unless we are saved we will be eternally dead. Some of you are physically alive but spiritually dead. You don’t love Jesus, you don’t hate sin, and you’re going to die and face eternal death. And we don’t want that for you, and maybe that’s why God brought you here, so that he could save you from death.

b) Sin

Secondly, we need saving from sin. Paul says you were once dead ‘1 …in your transgressions and sins. (Eph 2:1b)’ Sin is basically falling short of God’s will for us. Sin is doing what God says we shouldn’t do, as well as not doing what God tells us to do. Sin includes our thoughts, our words, our deeds, and our motives. Paul talks about how we have transgressed in some way, how we have gone wrong, or off course. We are meant to live in relationship with God, we are meant to live for his glory, and instead we live for ourselves. Sin is slowly destroying our lives. We need to be saved from our sin.

c) Worldliness

Next, we need saving from worldliness. Paul talks about how we ‘2 …followed the ways of this world… (Eph 2:2a)’ The word translated ‘world’ is kosmos, and sometimes it refers to the literal world, or the physical universe, but the Bible also contrasts it with God’s kingdom. So you can either follow God’s way, or the world’s way. Worldliness is how the world thinks, it’s what our culture values. The problem is that our world, our society, how we think, is all affected by sin. The world has turned its back on God and is going its own way. Jesus says, ‘13 …wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. (Mt 7:13)’ The truth is it’s easier to get divorced then it is to stay faithful to your vows. It’s easier to spend all your money on yourself than it is to be generous. It’s easier to expect people to serve you then it is to serve others. It’s easier to follow the ways of this world than it is to follow God’s ways. We need saving from the world.

d) Satan

Fourthly, we need saving from Satan. Paul talks about how we once followed ‘2 …the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (Eph 2:2b)’ Satan is real. He was once an angel, but he rebelled against God, and the Bible calls him the prince of this world (Jn 12:31). And while the Holy Spirit helps us be obedient to God, Satan wants people to be disobedient. While God wants to save you, Satan wants to condemn you. While God wants to give you life, Satan wants to make sure you lose it. The Bible says ‘8 …Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Pet 5:8b)’ Satan is our enemy. We need to be saved from Satan.

e) Our Sinful Nature

Next we need saving from our sinful nature. Paul says we were, ‘3 …gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. (Eph 2:3b)’ In the Greek it’s the word for ‘flesh,’ not because our flesh is evil and our soul is good, but because earthly existence has become infected by sin. And this sinful nature is seen by our sinful desires and our sinful thoughts. Because of our sin our desires and our thoughts are all about us, about what we want, about what we like. We need saving from our sinful nature.

f) God’s Wrath

Finally, we need saving from God’s wrath. Paul says ‘3 ...Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. (Eph 2:3c)’ We don’t like to think about God’s anger against our sin. We prefer to think of God as loving and gracious, but according to the Bible God is also holy and just and he is angry at our disobedience and rebellion and he won’t let it go unpunished. So many people today don’t understand why God would be angry with them. They figure they’re good people, they don’t hurt other people, they don’t break the law, they just don’t love God. But that’s the problem right there. It’s like a father trying to convince us he’s a good person because he doesn’t break the law, when he’s walked out on his wife and kids. It’s the severed relationship that matters the most. You can’t turn your back on God and not expect him to get angry. But maybe you think God isn’t angry with you because you don’t see it, everything is going just fine, so God must be okay with you. But the Bible says, ‘5 …because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (Rom 2:5)’ You’re not getting away with anything, instead you’re piling it up. Every sin you commit, every failure, is going into an account, and one day you’ll stand before God and face his divine anger against your sin. We need saving from God’s wrath.

That’s our spiritual reality, we are in deep, dark and dangerous water. We are spiritually dead, we are lost in our trespasses and sin. We follow the ways of this world and of Satan. We are trapped by our sinful nature and are under God’s wrath. You need to be saved. Do you understand your need for salvation? Do you realize that in God’s eyes you are doomed, you are drowning in your sin, you are on the road to destruction and damnation? You need to be saved from death to life, from sinner to saint, from worldliness to holiness, from the power of Satan to the power of the Holy Spirit, from the old nature to the new nature, from children of wrath to children of God.


2) How am I saved?

So the big question is how do you get saved? How will you be saved from death? How will you find salvation from your sins? How will you be rescued from worldliness? How will Satan be defeated? How will you be delivered from your sinful nature? How will you escape God’s wrath?

a) I can’t save myself

Well firstly, I want to point out that you can’t save yourself. As a two year old who couldn’t swim I couldn’t save myself then. And the truth is none of us can save ourselves from the consequences of our sin. And yet we like to think we can. In fact, every religion ever invented tells us that we can. In Buddhism, you have to cease all desires and you will be saved. In Hinduism it’s detaching yourself from your ego and making an effort to live in unity with the divine that saves you. In Islam, it’s living a holy life of good deeds that saves you. In Judaism it’s obeying the law that saves you. In New Age it’s being true to yourself that saves you. For many people simply being a good person saves you. The point is that we like to think that we can save ourselves. But the Bible is clear, we can’t save ourselves by our own efforts. Paul says that our salvation is, ‘9 not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph 2:9)’ There is no one who can boast that they were saved by their own efforts. We cannot save ourselves. So I want you to say that out loud, ‘I am not saved by works!’

b) Grace

Instead the Bible says we are saved by grace. Paul writes, ‘4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Eph 2:4-5)’ And he says it again, ‘8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Eph 2:8)’ So let’s unpack exactly how we are saved by grace.

i) God’s Love

Firstly, grace is all about God’s love. Note the word ‘but’ in verse 4. That word acts as a turning point in our passage. Before it’s all bad, we are spiritually dead, sinful, worldly, following Satan, with a sinful nature, deserving God’s wrath. Basically, we deserve hell… but because of God’s love, everything changes. God’s love makes all the difference.

ii) God’s Mercy

Secondly, Paul mentions God’s mercy. God’s justice demands that we pay for our sin, but God’s mercy means that God provides a way out. And Paul tells us that God is rich or abundant in mercy.

iii) God’s Son

Thirdly, Paul talks about God’s Son, Jesus Christ. God’s greatest gift is himself. God gives us his own Son, the second person the Trinity. Paul says, even though we were dead in our transgression God made us alive with Christ. The Good News is that ‘11 …it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved. (Acts 15:11)’ God’s grace is found in no one else except Jesus. And we see that most fully on the cross, were Jesus gives us his life in our place. Jesus pays the penalty for our sin. And because of Jesus’ death and resurrection we who were once dead have been made alive. We who were once sinners have become saints. We who were once worldly have been made holy. We who were once children of Satan have become children of God. We who were once controlled by our old sinful nature have been given a new nature. We who were once under God’s wrath are now recipients of God’s grace. We are saved because of Jesus. Peter says, ‘12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Act 4:12)’ Jesus is the only Saviour.

iv) God’s gift

By its very nature grace is a gift. Paul says, that our salvation is not from ourselves, it is the gift of God. Salvation can’t be earned, it can only be given, it’s a gift, free and undeserved. God’s gift to us is himself. God gives us the second person of the Trinity, so that through his life we might live. In Christ we are plugged back into God, the source of life.

v) Through faith

And finally we receive God’s grace through faith. Of course it’s not faith that saves us, it’s the object of our faith that saves. Some people think that all you need is faith, or enough faith, but it’s possible to have faith in the wrong thing. For example, what if I was in that pool and I thought that a really big solid iron anvil would save me, and I had great faith that it would save me, that if someone would just throw me an anvil and if I grabbed hold of it really tightly, I’d be saved. Faith isn’t enough to save you, but if you put your faith in Jesus then Jesus can save you. If you put your faith in Jesus he will save you from your sins, and he will save you from an eternity separated from God in hell. He will save you from this world and from Satan. He will save you from your sinful nature and God’s wrath. And that’s possible not because of our efforts, or our works, but because of God’s grace. You are saved because of God’s love. You are saved because of God’s mercy. You are saved by God’s Son, Jesus Christ, through his death and resurrection, a free and undeserved gift, through faith. Let’s say it together, ‘I am saved by grace!’


3) I am saved for…

We have been saved by God’s grace in Christ Jesus. But what have we been saved for?

a) Heaven

Firstly, we have been saved for heaven. Paul writes, ‘6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:6)’ God saved us so that like Jesus was raised up we too might be raised up, and like Jesus sits at God’s right hand in heaven, so we too have a seat in heaven. We have been saved not just to be given a new life, but eternal life. The Bible says that this world is no longer our home, we are no longer citizens of this world, rather heaven is our new home, we are citizens of God’s kingdom. So let’s say it together, ‘I am saved for heaven!’

b) God’s glory

Secondly, we have been saved for God’s glory. Paul says that we have been saved, ‘7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:7)’ We have been saved so that through us God can show the incomparable riches of his grace. We are a testimony to God’s goodness, to his grace, to his kindness as Paul puts it. The fact that God saves sinners, that God chose you and me proves not just how gracious he is, not even the riches of his grace, but the incomparable, all-surpassing, overflowing riches of God’s goodness and love. In fact, Paul uses this same word two other times in Ephesians. In chapter 1 where he talks about God’s ‘19 …incomparably great power for us who believe. (Eph 1:19a)’ And in chapter 3 where he talks about God’s love that ‘19 …surpasses knowledge. (Eph 3:19a)’ The point is that we have been saved so we can proclaim just how amazing God’s love and grace and power is towards us in Christ. If you know the incomparable riches of God’s grace, are you proclaiming his glory? Let’s say it together, ‘I am saved for God’s glory!’

c) Good works

Finally, we have been saved for good works. Paul finishes by saying, ‘10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:10)’ ‘We are God’s workmanship,’ which means God is working in us, and he’s working on us, and he’s going to work through us. And we have been ‘created’ or in a sense recreated, or made new, ‘in Christ Jesus,’ there’s our identity as Christians; for what? ‘To do good works.’ We aren’t saved by good works, rather we are saved to do good works. Our works are the result of Jesus’ work on the cross. Unlike religion, or spirituality, or morality that teach that our good works save us, the Bible teaches that we are saved by Jesus’ work on the cross. Our good works are an act of worship, or gratitude. I want finish by saying a few things about good works.

i) All work done for God’s glory is good

Firstly, all work done for God’s glory is good. Jesus says, ‘42 …if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. (Mt 10:42)’ When we serve someone in need for God’s glory it is a good thing. We do good works by the grace of God for the glory of God.

ii) All work can be done for God’s glory

Secondly, all work can be done for God’s glory. There’s no such thing as secular work and sacred work. It’s not as if Jesus only brought glory to God during his 3 years of preaching and teaching, and not his earlier life as a carpenter or a boy. You can do good works in whatever place or situation God has put you in. If you are a stay at home mum you can do good works for God’s glory. If you are a student you can do good works for God’s glory. If you are an office worker, or a labourer, or a tradesman, or business man, you can do good works for God’s glory. You don’t need to look for new things to do, you just need to start doing what you’re doing for God’s glory. Paul writes, ‘31 …so whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Cor 10:31)’ You don’t need to become a pastor, or an elder, or a deacon to do good works, God has prepared good works for you to do right where you are. Maybe you can ask God this week what good works you can do for him.

iii) God doesn’t need our good works, but others do

Finally, God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbours, or your workmates, or your friends, or even complete strangers do. God doesn’t need school supplies, but the kid without a dad does. God doesn’t need groceries, but a single mum does. God doesn’t need a roof over his head, but homeless people do. God uses our good works so that people will know that he is a good God.


My prayer this morning is that you can say ‘I’m saved from death and sin, from worldliness and Satan, from my sinful nature and God’s wrath.’ That you can say, ‘I’m not saved by my works, I’m saved by grace, by God’s love and mercy displayed in Jesus Christ. My salvation hasn’t been earned, it’s God’s gift to me. And I’m saved by faith in Jesus Christ.’ And I hope that you can say ‘I’m saved for heaven, and to glorify God, and to do good works.’ People of God, in Christ you are saved. Amen.

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