Ephesians 2:4
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Rich in mercy.—Not only merciful, but rich “in the multitude of mercy,” as attaching even to those dead in sin (see Chrysostom on this passage). The idea of richness in grace, glory, mercy, is especially frequent in this Epistle. (See Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8; Ephesians 3:16.)

For his great love.—Again, as in Ephesians 1:4, stress is laid on the love of God, before all else, as the one moving cause of salvation. (Comp. Romans 5:8, “God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”)

EPHESIANS

THE RESURRECTION OF DEAD SOULS

Ephesians 2:4-5Scripture paints man as he is, in darker tints, and man as he may become, in brighter ones, than are elsewhere found. The range of this portrait painter’s palette is from pitchiest black to most dazzling white, as of snow smitten by sunlight. Nowhere else are there such sad, stern words about the actualities of human nature; nowhere else such glowing and wonderful ones about its possibilities. This Physician knows that He can cure the worst cases, if they will take His medicine, and is under no temptation to minimise the severity of the symptoms or the fatality of the disease. We have got both sides in my text; man’s actual condition, ‘dead in trespasses’; man’s possible condition, and the actual condition of thousands of men-made to live again in Jesus Christ, and with Him raised from the dead, and with Him gone up on high, and with Him sitting at God’s right hand. That is what you and I may be if we will; if we will not, then we must be the other.

So there are three things here to look at for a few moments-the dead souls; the pitying love that looks down upon them; and the resurrection of the dead.

I. First, here is a picture, a dogmatic statement if you like, about the actual condition of human nature apart from Jesus Christ-’Dead in trespasses.’

The Apostle looks upon the world-many-coloured, full of activity, full of intellectual stir, full of human emotions, affections, joys, sorrows, fluctuations-as if it were one great cemetery, and on every gravestone there were written the same inscription. They all died of the same disease-’dead through sin,’ as the original more properly means.

Now, I dare say many who are listening to me are saying in their hearts, ‘Oh! Exaggeration! The old gloomy, narrow view of human nature cropping up again.’ Well, I am not at all unwilling to acknowledge that truths like this have very often been preached both with a tone and in a manner that repels, and which is rightly chargeable with exaggeration and undue gloom and narrowness. But let me remind you that it is not the Evangelical preacher nor the Apostle only who have to bear the condemnation of exaggeration, if this representation of my text be not true to facts, but it is Jesus Christ too; for He says, ‘Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you.’ And I think that be He divine or not divine, His words about the religious condition of men go so surely to the mark that a man must be tolerably impregnable in his self-conceit who charges Him with narrowness and exaggeration. At all events, I am content to say after Him, and I pray that you and I, when we accept Him as our Teacher, may take not only His gracious, but His stern, words, assured that a deep graciousness lies in these, too, if we rightly understand them.

Let me remind you that the phrase of my text is by no means confined to Christian teachers, but that, in common speech, we hear from all high thinkers about the lower type of humanity being dead to the loftier thoughts in which they live and move and have their being. It has passed into a commonplace of language to speak of men being ‘dead to honour,’ ‘dead to shame,’ ‘dead’ to this, that, and the other good and noble and gracious thing. And the same metaphor, if you like, lies here in my text-that men who have given their wills and inmost natures over to the dominion of self-and that is the definition of sin-that such men are, ipso facto, by reason of that very surrender of themselves to their worst selves, dead on what I may call the top side of their nature, and that all that is there is atrophied and dwindling away.

Unconsciousness is one characteristic of death. And oh! as I look round I know that there are tens, and perhaps hundreds, of men and women who are all but utterly unconscious of a whole universe in which are the only realities, and to which it becomes them to have access. You live, in the physical sense, and move and have your being in God, and yet your inmost life would not be altered one hair’s-breadth if there were no God at all. You pass the most resplendent instances and illustrations of His presence, His work, and you see nothing. You are blind on that side of your natures; or, as my text says, dead to the whole spiritual realm. Just as if there were a brick wall run against some man’s windows so that he could see nothing out of them; so you, by your persistent adherence to the paltry present, the material, the visible, the selfish, have reared up a wall against the windows of your souls that look heavenwards; and of God, and all the lofty starry realities that cluster round Him, you are as unconscious as the corpse upon its bier is of the sunshine that plays upon its pallid features, or of the dew that falls on its stiffened limbs. Dead, because of sin-is that exaggeration? Is it exaggeration which charges all but absolute unconsciousness of spiritual realities upon worldly men like some of you?

And, then, take another illustration. Another of the signatures of death is inactivity. And oh! what faculties in some of my friends listening to me now are shrivelled and all but extinct! They are dormant, at any rate, to use another word, for the death of my text is not so absolute a death but that a resurrection is possible, and so dormant comes to express pretty nearly the same thing. Faculties of service, of enthusiasm, of life for God, of noble obedience to Him-what have you done with them? Left them there until they have stiffened like an unused lock, or rusted like the hinges of an unopened door; and you are as little active in all the noblest activities of spirit, which are activities in submission to and dependence upon Him, as if you were laid in your coffin with your idle hands crossed for evermore upon an unheaving breast.

There is another illustration that I may suggest for a moment. Decay is another characteristic and signature of death. And your best self, in some of you, is rotting to corruption by sin.

Ay! Dear brethren, when we think of these tragedies of suicide that are going on in thousands of men round about us to-day, it seems to me as if the metaphor and the reality were reversed; and instead of saying that my text is a violent metaphor, transferring the facts of material death and corruption to the spiritual realm, I am almost disposed to say it is the other way about, and the real death is the death of the spirit; and the outer dissolution and unconsciousness and inactivity of the material body is only a kind of parable to preach to men what are the awful invisible facts ever associated with the fact of transgression.

There are three lives possible for each of us; two of them involuntary, the third requiring our consent and effort, but all of them sustained by the same cause. The first of them is that which we call life, the activity and the consciousness of the bodily frame; and that continues as long as the power of God keeps the body in life. When He withdraws His hand there comes what the senses call death. Then there is the natural life of thinking, loving, willing, enjoying, sorrowing, and the like, and that continues as long as He who is the life and light of men breathes into them the breath of that life. And these two are lived or died largely without the man’s own consent or choice.

But there is a third life, when all that lower is lifted to God, and thinking and willing and loving and enjoying and aspiring and trusting and obeying, and all these natural faculties find their home and their consecration and their immortality in Him. That life is only lived by our own will and it is the true life, and the others are, as I said, but parables, and envelopes, and vehicles, as it were, in which this life is carried, that is more precious than they. In the physical realm, separate the body from God, and it dies. In the natural conscious life, separate the soul, as we call it, from God, and it dies. And in the higher region, separate the spirit, which is the man grasping God, from God, and he dies; and that is the real death. Both the others are nothing in comparison with it.

It may co-exist with a large amount of intellectual and other forms of activity, as we see all round about us, and that makes it only the more ghastly and the sadder. You are full of energy in regard to all other subjects, but smitten into torpor about the highest; ready to live, to work, to enjoy, to think, to will, in all other directions, and utterly unconscious and unconcerned, or all but utterly unconscious and unconcerned, in regard to God.

Oh! a death which is co-existent with such feverish intensity of life as the most of you are expending all the week at your business and your daily pursuits is among the saddest of all the tragedies that angels are called upon to weep over, and that men are fools enough to enact. Brother! If the representation is a gloomy one, do not you think that it is better to ask the question-Is it a true one? than, Is it a cheerful one? I lay it upon your hearts that he that lives to God and with God is alive to the centre as well as out to the finger tips and circumference of his visible being. He that is dead to God is dead indeed whilst he lives.

II. Now, notice, in the second place, the pitying love that looks down on the cemetery.

‘God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us.’ Thus the great truth that is taught us here, first of all, is that that divine love of the Divine Father bends down over His dead children and cherishes them still. Oh! you can do much in separating yourselves from God through selfishness, selfwill, sensuality, or other forms of sin, but there is one thing you cannot do, you cannot prevent His loving you. If I might venture without seeming irreverent, I would point to that pathetic page in the Old Testament history where the king hears of the death, red-handed in treason, of his darling son, and careless of victory and forgetful of everything else, and oblivious that Absalom was a rebel, and only remembering that he was his boy, burst into that monotonous wail that has come down over all the centuries as the deepest expression of undying fatherly love. ‘Oh! my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Oh! Absalom, my son, my son!’ The name and the relationship will well up out of the Father’s heart, whatever the child’s crime. We are all His Absaloms, and though we are dead in trespasses and in sins, God, who is rich in mercy, bends over us and loves us with His great love.

The Apostle might well expatiate in these two varying forms of speech, both of them intended to express the same thing-’rich in mercy’ and ‘great in love.’ For surely a love which takes account of the sin that cannot repel it, and so shapes itself into mercy, sparing, and departing from the strict line of retribution and justice, is great. And surely a mercy which refuses to be provoked by seventy times seven transgressions in an hour, not to say a day, is rich. That mercy is wider than all humanity, deeper than all sin, was before all rebellion, and will last for ever. And it is open for every soul of man to receive if he will.

But there is another point to be noticed in reference to this wonderful manifestation of the divine love looking down upon the myriads of men dead in sin, and that is that this love shapes the divine action. Mark the language of our text, in which the Apostle attributes a certain line of conduct in the divine dealings with us to the fact of His great love. Because ‘He loved us’ therefore He did so and so. Now about that I have only two remarks to make, and I will make them very briefly. The one is, here is a demonstration, for some of you people who do not believe in the Evangelical doctrine of an Atonement by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that the true scriptural representation of that doctrine is not that which caricaturists have represented it-viz. that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ changed in any manner the divine heart and disposition. It is not as unfriendly critics {who, perhaps, are not to be so much blamed for their unfriendliness as for their superficiality} would have us to believe, that the doctrine of Atonement says that God loves because Christ died. But the Apostle who preached that doctrine and looked upon it as the very heart and centre of his message to the world here puts as the true sequence-Christ died because God loves. Jesus Christ said the same thing, ‘God so loved the world that He sent His Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should be saved.’

And that brings me to the second of the remarks which I wish briefly to make-viz. this, that the Divine Love, great, patient, wonderful, unrepelled by men’s sin, as it is, has to adopt a process to reach its end. God by His love does not, because He cannot, raise these dead souls into a life of righteousness without Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ comes to be the channel and the medium through which the love of God may attain its end. God’s pitying love, because ‘He is rich in mercy,’ is not turned away by man’s sin; and God’s pitying love, because ‘He is rich in mercy,’ quickens men not by a bare will, but by the mission and work of His dear Son.

III. And so that is the last thing on which I speak a word-viz. the resurrection of the dead souls.

They died of sin. That was the disease that killed them. They cannot be quickened unless the disease be conquered. Dear brethren, I have to preach-not to argue, but to preach-and to press upon each soul the individual acceptance of the Death of Jesus Christ as being for each of us, if we will trust Him, the death of our death, and the death of our sin. By His great sacrifice and sufficient oblation He has borne the sins of the world and has taken away their guilt. And in Him the inmost reality of the spiritual death, and its outermost parable of corporeal dissolution, are equally and simultaneously overcome. If you will take Him for your Lord you will rise from the death of guilt, condemnation, selfishness, and sin into a new life of liberty, sonship, consecration, and righteousness, and will never see death.

And, on the other hand, the life of Jesus Christ is available for all of us. If we will put our trust in Him, His life will pass into our deadness; He Himself will vitalise our being, dormant capacities will be quickened and brought into blessed activity, a new direction will be given to the old faculties, desires, aspirations, emotions of our nature. The will will tower into new power because it obeys. The heart will throb with a better life because it has grasped a love that cannot change and will never die. And the thinking power will be brought into living, personal contact with the personal Truth, so that whatsoever darknesses and problems may still be left, at the centre there will be light and satisfaction and peace. You will live if you trust Christ and let Him be your Life.

And if thus, by simple faith in Him, knowing that the power of His atoning death has destroyed the burden of our guilt and condemnation, and knowing the quickening influences of His constraining love as drawing us to love new things and make us new creatures, we receive into our inmost spirits ‘the law of the spirit of life’ which was in Christ Jesus, and are thereby made ‘free from the law of sin and death,’ then it is only a question of time, when the vitalising force shall flow into all the cracks and crannies of our being and deliver us wholly from the bondage of corruption in the outer as well as in the inner life; for they who have learned that Christ is the life of their lives upon earth can never cease their appropriation of the fulness of His quickening power until He has ‘changed the body of their humiliation into the likeness of the body of His glory, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue even all things unto Himself.’

Brethren! He Himself has said, and His words I beseech you to remember though you forget all mine, ‘He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and he that liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.’ ‘Believest thou this?’Ephesians 2:4-6. But God, who is rich in mercy — That is, in compassion for us, amidst our sins and miseries, and in his free, gratuitous goodness and readiness to pardon the guilty, and save the lost: for his great love — Of benevolence and bounty; wherewith he loved us — When there was nothing in us but sin and misery to move him to do it. Love in God was the cause why he resolved to show mercy to certain descriptions of persons, namely, to such as should obey the gospel call to repentance, faith, and new obedience. Love is a desire to communicate good to us, considered as creatures; but mercy respects us as fallen into sin and misery; even when we — Jews and Gentiles, and all men; were dead in sins — See on Ephesians 2:1. Hath he quickened us — Brought us into spiritual life, by begetting in us repentance unto life, and living faith, and in consequence thereof by justifying us, or reversing the sentence of condemnation to eternal death under which we lay, taking us also into his favour, and uniting us to himself, by giving us his quickening and renewing Spirit, in consequence of which our affections are set on things above, and we become spiritually minded, which is life and peace. Together with Christ — In conformity to his resurrection from the dead, and by virtue of our relation to him and union with him. By grace ye are saved — By God’s mere mercy, or undeserved goodness, which is the original source and moving cause of our salvation; and by the enlightening, quickening, and renewing influences of the Holy Spirit, the efficient cause of it. The apostle speaks indifferently either in the first or second person, the Jews and Gentiles being in the same circumstances both by nature and by grace. This doctrine lays the axe to the very root of spiritual pride, and glorying in ourselves. Therefore St. Paul, foreseeing the backwardness of mankind to receive it, yet knowing the absolute necessity of its being received, again asserts the very same truth, (Ephesians 2:8,) in the very same words. And hath raised us up together — Both Jews and Gentiles, already in spirit, having not only rained our souls from spiritual death to spiritual life, but having given us assurance of the resurrection of our bodies, and begotten us again, as his children and his heirs, to a lively hope of a heavenly inheritance, and enabled us to set our affections on the felicity and glory implied therein: and made us sit together in heavenly places in and through Christ Jesus — Our head and representative, who has already been admitted into heaven as our forerunner, to take possession of these glorious mansions for us. For by means of that relation between him and us, which divine grace hath established, we may look upon his resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of God, as the certain pledge and security of ours; and regarding him under the character of a public person, who is thus raised and exalted in our name, we may be said to share in those felicities and dignities which are conferred on him.2:1-10 Sin is the death of the soul. A man dead in trespasses and sins has no desire for spiritual pleasures. When we look upon a corpse, it gives an awful feeling. A never-dying spirit is now fled, and has left nothing but the ruins of a man. But if we viewed things aright, we should be far more affected by the thought of a dead soul, a lost, fallen spirit. A state of sin is a state of conformity to this world. Wicked men are slaves to Satan. Satan is the author of that proud, carnal disposition which there is in ungodly men; he rules in the hearts of men. From Scripture it is clear, that whether men have been most prone to sensual or to spiritual wickedness, all men, being naturally children of disobedience, are also by nature children of wrath. What reason have sinners, then, to seek earnestly for that grace which will make them, of children of wrath, children of God and heirs of glory! God's eternal love or good-will toward his creatures, is the fountain whence all his mercies flow to us; and that love of God is great love, and that mercy is rich mercy. And every converted sinner is a saved sinner; delivered from sin and wrath. The grace that saves is the free, undeserved goodness and favour of God; and he saves, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus. Grace in the soul is a new life in the soul. A regenerated sinner becomes a living soul; he lives a life of holiness, being born of God: he lives, being delivered from the guilt of sin, by pardoning and justifying grace. Sinners roll themselves in the dust; sanctified souls sit in heavenly places, are raised above this world, by Christ's grace. The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners heretofore, encourages others in after-time, to hope in his grace and mercy. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by any thing done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out. All is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by his power. It was his purpose, to which he prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of his will, and his Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our good conversation, and perseverance in holiness. None can from Scripture abuse this doctrine, or accuse it of any tendency to evil. All who do so, are without excuse.But God, who is rich in mercy - On the use of the word "rich" by Paul, see the notes at Ephesians 1:7. It is a beautiful expression. "God is 'rich' in mercy;" overflowing, abundant. Mercy is the riches or the wealth of God. People are often rich in gold, and silver, and diamonds, and they pride themselves in these possessions; but God is "rich in mercy." In that he abounds and he is so rich in it that he is wilting to impart it to others; so rich that he can make all blessed.

For his great love - That is, his great love was the reason why he had compassion upon us. It is not that we had any claim or deserved his favor; but it is, that God had for man original and eternal love, and that love led to the gift of a Saviour, and to the bestowment of salvation.

4. God, who is rich—Greek "(as) being rich in mercy."

for—that is, "because of His great love." This was the special ground of God's saving us; as "rich in mercy" (compare Eph 2:7; Eph 1:7; Ro 2:4; 10:12) was the general ground. "Mercy takes away misery; love confers salvation" [Bengel].

Rich in mercy; abundant. Riches of mercy here, as riches of grace, Ephesians 1:7; see Psalm 51:1 86:5.

For his great love; the fountain from whence his mercies vouchsafed to us proceed; riches of mercy from great love: God shows mercy to us miserable creatures in time, because he loved us from eternity, viz. with a love of good will.

Wherewith he loved us, both Jews and Gentiles; there being the same original cause of the salvation of both. But God, who is rich in mercy,.... Mercy is a perfection of the divine nature, and is essential to God; and may be considered with respect to the objects of it, either as general, extending to all men in a providential way; or as special, reaching only to some in a way of grace; for though mercy is his nature, yet the display and exertion of it towards any object, is the act of his will; and special mercy, with all the blessings and benefits of it, is only exhibited in Christ Jesus: and God is said to be "rich" in it, because he is free and liberal in dispensing it, and the effects of it; and that to a large number of persons, in great abundance and variety, by various ways, and in divers instances; as in the covenant of grace, in the mission of Christ, in redemption by him, in regeneration, in pardon of sin, and in eternal salvation; and yet it is inexhaustible and perpetual; and this sets forth the excellency and glory of it:

for his great love wherewith he loved us; the love of God to his chosen people is very great, if it be considered who it is that has loved them, God and not man; who is an infinite, unchangeable, and sovereign Being; and his love is like himself, for God is love; it has heights and depths, and lengths and breadths immeasurable; it admits of no variation nor alteration; and is altogether free, arising from himself, and not from any motives and conditions in men: and if the persons themselves are considered, who are the objects of it, men, sinful men, unworthy of the divine notice and regard; and that these are loved personally, particularly, and distinctly, and not others; nakedly, and not theirs, or for any thing in them, or done by them, and that notwithstanding their manifold sins and transgressions: to which may be added, that this love is represented as a past act; and indeed it is from everlasting, and is antecedent to their being quickened, and was when they were dead in trespasses and sins; and is the source and spring of the blessing next mentioned: so the divine love is often called in the Cabalistic writings of the Jews (t), , "great love".

(t) Zohar in Gen. fol. 8. 4. & in Exod. fol. 102. 3. Lex. Cabal. p. 44. 45.

{8} But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

(8) Now from this follows another member of the comparison declaring our excellency, that is, that by the power of Christ we are delivered from that death, and made partakers of eternal life, to the end that at length we may reign with him. And by various and different means he emphasises this, that the efficient cause of this benefit is the free mercy of God: and Christ himself is the material cause: and faith is the instrument, which also is the free gift of God: and the end is God's glory.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 2:4. Now begins, after the intervening clauses, Ephesians 2:2-3, the resumption, and that with the subject, which Paul already had in mind at Ephesians 2:1. See on Ephesians 2:1. It is not, however, by οὖν, but by δέ, that the thought is taken up again, because that which is now to be spoken of (the abundant compassion of God) stands in an adversative relation to what has been said in the relative clauses. See Klotz, ad Devar. p. 377.

πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει κ.τ.λ.] The connection is: God, however, since He is rich in mercy, has for His much love’s sake made … us … alive in Christ. As to the distinction between ἔλεος and οἰκτιρμός, see on Romans 9:15. On ἐν ἐλέει, comp. 1 Corinthians 1:5; Jam 2:5; 2 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Timothy 6:18.

διὰ τὴν πολλ. ἀγάπην αὐτοῦ] namely, in order to satisfy it.[140] Luther erroneously renders: through His great love. The Vulgate, rightly: propter, etc. Comp. Philemon 1:8. We may add that not αὑτοῦ is to be written, but αὐτοῦ, as at Ephesians 1:6.

ἣν ἠγάπ. ἡμ.] as in John 17:26. Comp. the classical ἔρωτα ἐρᾶν, Lobeck, Paral. p. 516. The manifestation of the divine love thereby meant is the atoning death of Christ, in which, in pursuance of the abundance of the divine compassion, the great love of God communicated itself to us. Romans 5:18; John 3:16; Ephesians 5:2; Ephesians 5:25.

ἡμᾶς] After the glance has extended from the readers (Ephesians 2:1-2) also to the Jewish Christians (Ephesians 2:3), the resumption of the object with ἡμᾶς now embraces both, the Jewish and Gentile Christians.

[140] The great love of God, who is rich in mercy towards the wretched, was the motive for not leaving them to their misery, but, etc. The ἔλεος is thus related to the ἀγάπη as the species to the genus.Ephesians 2:4. ὁ δὲ Θεὸς, πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει: but God (or, God, however), being rich in mercy. A return is now made to the statement which was interrupted at Ephesians 2:2. The resumption might have been made by οὖν. The adversative δέ, however, is the more appropriate, as the other side of our case is now to be set forth—the Divine grace which meets the sinful, condemned condition, and which stands over the dark background of our death by sin and our subjection by nature to the Divine wrath. God who is wroth with sin, is a God of grace. His disposition towards those who are dead by trespasses and sins is one of mercy, and this no stinted mercy, but a mercy that is rich, exhaustless (for πλούσιος, πλουτίζειν, etc., cf. 1 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Timothy 6:17-18; Jam 2:5).—διὰ τὴν πολλὴν ἀγάπην ἣν ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς: by reason of His great love wherewith He loved us. The use of the cogn. acc. ἣν adds to the force of the idea; cf. the use of the same phrase by our Lord Himself with reference to His Father’s love, John 17:26. If mercy is God’s attitude to sinful men, love is His motive in all that He does with them; and as the mercy is “rich” so the love is “great”. With this great love God loved us when He chose us, and it is on account of that love (not “through” it, as Luther puts it) that He acts with us as He does. The ἡμᾶς has the widest sense here—all of us, whether Jew or Gentile.4. But God] The Divine counter-fact now comes in, brighter for the awful contrast.

who is rich in mercy] See note on “riches,” Ephesians 1:18.—The ultimate motive of the work of regeneration is here given, and it is simply the Divine Mercy. No claim or obligation is in the question, nor right inherent in the alienated race, nor “fitness of things” in the abstract; only the uncaused and supremely free choice of the God of mercy. Cp. Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3.

for his great love, &c.] On account of, &c.; another aspect of the same fact.

loved us] the New Israel, the Church. Not the Philanthropy of God, His “love toward man” (Titus 3:4), but His inner and special love, is here in view; affection rather than benevolence. The whole context shews this.—Observe the change from “you” (Ephesians 2:1) to “us.”—For similar words regarding the Old Israel see Deuteronomy 7:8; “Because the Lord loved you, &c.”Ephesians 2:4. Πλούσιος, rich) “over all,” Romans 10:12.—ἐλέειἀγάπην, in mercy—love) Mercy takes away misery; love confers salvation.Verse 4. - But God, being rich in mercy. The preceding verses convey the idea of a rushing towards inevitable ruin - towards some frightful cataract, when all help from man is hopeless. Man's extremity becomes God's opportunity. The "but" is very emphatic, and wonderfully reverses the picture. The sovereignty of God is very apparent, on its gracious side. It interposes to rescue those who would otherwise plunge into irretrievable ruin. We have here the filling up of that Divine saying, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help." The genesis of salvation is declared to be in two of God's attributes, of which the first is mercy, or compassion. God has a tender, yearning feeling towards men brought to misery by their own sins. And this feeling is not shallow or spare - he is rich in mercy. It is an exuberant, full-flowing feeling in God ("Thy mercy ... is in the heavens," Psalm 36:5), and may therefore be appealed to trustfully. For his great love wherewith he loved us. The other attribute from which the plan of salvation sprang is God's love. Love is more than compassion. Compassion may be confined to the breast, but love goes forth in active beneficence. It makes common cause with its object. It cannot rest till its object is lint right. Two expressions are used intensifying this Divine love:

(1) his great love;

(2) love with which he loved us;

the verb of love governing the noun of love makes the idea rich and strong. This view of the exuberance of the Divine attributes from which salvation has its rise is in harmony with the whole character of the Epistle. But God

Resuming Ephesians 2:1.

For His great love (διά)

For the sake of, in order to satisfy His love.

Quickened us together

Spiritually. Compare Colossians 2:13; Romans 6:11-14; Romans 8:10, Romans 8:11 "What God wrought in Christ He wrought, ipso facto, in all who are united with Him" (Ellicott).

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