Jeff Noblit is the Senior Pastor-Teacher of First Baptist Church of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He has served on the pastoral staff for 26 years, the last 18 as senior pastor. Jeff is the founder of Anchored in Truth Ministries, an expository preaching ministry, and is the author of The Accountability Notebook and the witnessing booklet, The Great Answer to the Great Question. He has written articles for various magazines and journals.
Text: Ephesians 2:4-7
A trophy doesn’t do anything but reflect or show off the accomplishment of another. And that is exactly what we are. We are trophies of grace. We are here to show off the grace and glory of God in our lives.
You’ve got to remember the context (2:1-3). “But God . . .” – The two greatest words in Scripture.
It does not say, “But angels . . .”. It does not say, “But creation . . .”. It does not say, “But man . . .”.
He can perform it, and we are the trophies to show forth His accomplishment.
1. We are trophies of grace because He has directed His love and mercy toward us (v. 4).
God says, “What what I can do because I have the capacity to show mercy, and I have the show love that the world has never seen.” God did not just have mercy, but is rich in it (Rom. 2:4). He raised us from spiritual death because of His love. His love was satisfied when He redeemed us with rich mercy. God looked at you specifically, personally, individually through sovereign love and mercy.
The nature of the being dictates the desire of that being. God is in every respect perfection; man is in every respect imperfection. Wonderfully beyond comprehension is God’s love. God by virtue and by His very nature possesses a desire to extend mercy to the most undeserving (1 John 4:8-10). God made us trophies of grace though there was nothing in us attractive at all.
2. We are trophies of grace because He raised us from spiritual death (v. 5).
Rom. 5:8 – while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God made us alive even when were dead in our transgressions. There we were, doing our thing, being dead God made us alive. God called us forth from spiritual death by His omnipotence. (John 10:26-27) When you hear His voice, new life is brought forth. God spoke in creation and behold it came forth; God speaks in salvation, and new life comes forth. John 5:25-29 – The dead will hear the voice the Son of God, and those who hear will live. That is going on right now! It is all a gift of grace.
We are together with Christ; it is this connection, this union with Christ – to be “in Christ” that makes this happen. We are “made alive ‘in Christ.’” God wants to put you on the trophy shelf of eternity and show forth the greatness of God’s love and mercy.
3. We are trophies of grace because He has placed us in His kingdom (v. 6).
“and raised us up with Him and seated us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” This the heavenly abode of God, the kingdom of God. The kingdom is in us now, but in Christ, you are already in it. Satan cannot touch you; you cannot be condemned; you cannot be lost; you cannot be judged. God has sealed you securely forever, so much so that as you live here, you are seated in heavenly places right now. God has delivered us from the domain of darkness but transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. God has purchased our citizenship of another kingdom. In Jesus Christ, we have title deeds to all the privileges, joys, and blessings of another kingdom. You begin to taste some of the other joys of the kingdom as down payments what is to come later.
We possess the Spirit of that new kingdom. In every function of life, we live according the purposes, principles, and patterns of a new kingdom. We are partakers of His Spirit, adopted into His family, and have all the rights and privileges that accompany that.
4. We are trophies of grace that we might bring Him glory for all eternity (v. 7).
I love the glories of grace, the wonders of it, the mysteries of, everything about it! Why did He do all this? That He might show, manifest, illustrate, put before everyone, the surpassing riches of His grace. God is absolutely thrilled about being God. God is overwhelming delighted in Himself, because if He were thrilled or delighted in anything other than Himself, it would be sin. For God to be worshipped, adored as He ought, all of who He is needs to be seen, and for all that He is to be seen, His Son needed to die. God did it for God first.
The surpassing riches of grace was demonstrated when He saved people like us. It was in Him, by Him, through Him, and to Him. It’s all about Jesus. When He died, we died; when He arose, we arose. In chapter one, we were predestined and chosen as His before you were born; in chapter two, you were raised and seated before you die. I am so saved it makes me dizzy. It’s a God thing. Grace bestowed on us is all to the praise of His glory.
God’s glory is the vital center of the universe. Get over your proud, self-consumed, man-centered me stuff. It is not about us; it is about God. We receive an unimaginable blessing when we realize that everything that is done on our behalf is by God, for God, and to God. God is glorified in creation. God is glorified in salvation. God is glorified in condemnation. God is glorified in final glorification.
God loves to show off what He accomplished. He will say, “Look what I did. Look what my love and mercy did.” The angels might say, “I can’t believe he is here!” It is all the wondrous, glorious grace of God.