As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 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. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Understanding And Applying the Text
Paul outlined the doctrine of election in Chapter 1. But the doctrine of election raises an obvious question. “Why me?” What was there about me that caused God to choose me? Was it because I was smart enough or good enough? Was it because God knew I would respond to His call? Did God see something in me that was worthy to save? If so, what was it? Was it because I was more spiritual and had more faith? Could it be he saw potential in me?
Paul starts by pointing out that there is nothing good in us. So God did not choose us because we were better, smarter, or responsive. We are all sinners. We all were objects of wrath. In other words, God would be just if He reach down and kill us all. Not only were we objects of wrath we dissevered that wrath. Our very thoughts are sinful. We craved sin. So, why me? Why you? Paul answers this by stating in clear terms. The reason God saved any of us was to show His grace. What better way to show grace than to give His love to those who do not deserve it? He showed us grace because He loves us. We do not deserve God’s love. God loved us when the very core of our being was evil and depraved. God did not see in us anything worth redeeming. In fact, Paul goes on to say that the salvation we received because of the grace of God we received through faith. And even that faith is not even ours. God had to give to us as a gift.
So then what is the answer to the question, “Why me?” It has nothing to do with you. It was nothing to do with me. It is so God can show His grace and His glory. That is a shock to many to learn that it is not about you at all. It is about God.
The doctrines of grace are so sweet. God has given us such a wonderful gift. And we do not deserve it. I spoke with a friend one day about the doctrine of predestination. I mention God’s sovereignty. He responded with, “What if the starting point for better understanding God is not His sovereignty but rather His love?” That is exactly where Paul starts, the love of God. But we fail to realize the greatness of His love if we fail to realize the sinfulness of man or the holiness of God. Every heresy the church has faced is because of underestimating either or both the sinfulness of man or the holiness of God. We are sinful. God is not. God is holy. We are not.