"But God!" - Ephesians Chapter 2
April 1, 2019

C. R. Oliver


April 1, 2019

"But God!"

Ephesians Chapter 2

You may watch this Newsletter in a video HERE.


     Chapter Two introduces a spiritual factor rarely understood in the equation of historical events. It is an intervening variable imposed on the plans and circumstances of mankind. Its genesis originates in the Throne Room of the Most High God. Regardless of time or place, convenience or chaos, it appears in majestic form superior in power over any matter.

     Encapsulated in a set of Scriptures, lyrical in form, it bursts on the scene amidst what might be termed as "A symphony of the Spirit." Flowing from the closing lines of the first chapter and rushing like a river from its source to the sea, this overarching testimony is bigger than time or space.

     Like a huge rubber stamp wielded by a gigantic hand across the span of man's manipulations are these two words: BUT GOD. Parliaments may render their most odious of decrees only to be censured by this two-word phrase. Greater than governmental oppression or the ordinances of politics and recrimination, this hand scripted wall (like that of Daniel) obliterates compounded idiocy with one fell sweep: BUT GOD!

Stamped across all financial conundrums, economic intrigues or public instability comes this mighty declaration, BUT GOD.

Printed over the direst diagnosis of disease, with all its hopeless conclusions, is this great stamp of overriding power, BUT GOD.

Standing in the path of puzzling dilemmas, and seemingly impossible situations, comes the swift hand from which nothing is impossible, BUT GOD.

Religious institutions in tumultuous forays, ripped by sin and churned into indecision while standing helplessly lost in purpose and power, being oblivious to the prayers of the saints, there comes a rescue of hope in two words: BUT GOD!

Forces gaining strength on a thousand fronts, causing men's hearts to melt in fear, hear a trumpet blast across the horizon and see a triumphing vision like Elisha's angelic swordsmen - BUT GOD!

Whatever one's circumstances, concerns or considerations, there is a mighty hand with a single conclusion, BUT GOD!

Ephesians 2:1-10:  And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Paul, when confined in prison, was surrounded by the rawest elements of men as he captured in the first three verses the state of man without hope and spiritually lost. So universal is this condition that succeeding generations can never eclipse its truth. This IS the condition of the world today. This IS the truth which describes the modern society of sin and moral decay. Lost humanity needs to see its estate in the kingdom of darkness, and they need to cry out for God, but how shall they hear without a preacher?

Name whatever citizenry in any place in the world and Paul's description fits! Its blatant form shadows every doorstep and threatens every soul. It incorporates both family members and neighbors. Its tainted fingers grip the reigns of government and religion. Lost humanity looks, smells and sounds like verses 1-3.

Paul said in essence: "Face it, this description once applied to all of us (both Paul and the Ephesians). Together, we were examples of unbelief and deception, but we turned to God and changed our course. We now are led by the Spirit of God, while they are led by another kind of spirit."

Ephesians 2:2: The spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience

There really is a "spirit" working in all the sons of disobedience. No social program, educational formula or religious program can offer an answer to such a spirit. Debate with these "spirit" infested beings will not dissuade their intentions to carry out the wishes of the "prince of the power of the air." Their flesh demands that their lust be fulfilled, thus corrupting their mind which will soon be called, "reprobate." These children of wrath flood streets of protest, postulate horrific demands on institutions, rake furrows of disdain across platforms of government. They fill minds with their pollution through media and self-promotion. They hate God and all His children with unified disgust and singular profanity. Serving the false gods of sexual perversion and bowing to idolatrous pride, they stroll the avenues of promiscuity, while mocking the living Lord. Answering no appeal, they close their ears to all but the siren sounds of their master spirit.

They wage spiritual war against all that is deemed holy and sacred. They defy the Almighty with laughing insanity, calling themselves "Progressives." They espouse hatred and promote division, while challenging anyone who dares call himself "Christian."

There is but one remedy and it arrives in two words:


Ephesians 2:4-6:
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Paul knew the great need among the churches of his day was a clarification of just who God really is. Such clarification is still the prescient need in the modern church. The church has all but lost its understanding of the Creator. It is as if each congregate has his own concept of God (such becomes a Christian form of idolatry approximating what happened to the Samaritans). Having made God in their own image, they worship myriad forms whether in a church service or in their private dwellings.

Ephesians becomes a concise rendering of basic theology. The subject of God and Man emerges in verse four. Look into the rapidly unfolding nature of God.

  1. God is rich in mercy
  2. God has great love (for us)
  3. God gives grace (for sinners)
  4. God provides place (for His own)
  5. God has a plan for His beloveds

In six verses, Paul encapsulates God's redemptive formula for every believer. God's love surrounds the object of His affection. His love bursts through the unrighteousness of man and claims him for Himself. The dead (in trespasses and sin) are made ALIVE by grace through Jesus. Believers are resurrected in Christ and share His throne, sitting together in heavenly places.

Spurgeon's notes addressed God's love and grace as is found in Ephesians through a work entitled: Sought Out.

     "Thou shalt be called, Sought Out"- Isaiah 62:12

The surpassing grace of God is seen very clearly in that we were not only sought, but sought out. Men seek for a thing which is lost upon the floor of the house, but in such a case there is only seeking, not seeking out. The loss is more perplexing and the search more persevering when a thing is sought out. We were mingled with the mire: we were as when some precious piece of gold falls into the sewer, and men gather out and carefully inspect a mass of abominable filth, and continue to stir and rake, and search among the heap until the treasure is found. Or, to use another figure, we were lost in a labyrinth; we wandered hither and thither, and when mercy came after us with the gospel, it did not find us at the first coming, it had to search for us and seek us out; for we as lost sheep were so desperately lost, and had wandered into such a strange country, that it did not seem possible that even the Good Shepherd should track our devious roaming's. Glory be to unconquerable grace, we were sought out! No gloom could hide us, no filthiness could conceal us, we were found and brought home. Glory be to infinite love, God the Holy Spirit restored us!

     The lives of some of God's people, if they could be written would fill us with holy astonishment. Strange and marvelous are the ways which God used in their case to find His own. Blessed be His name, He never relinquishes the search until the chosen are sought out effectually. They are not a people sought today and cast away tomorrow. Almightiness and wisdom combined will make no failures, they shall be called, "Sought out!" That any should be sought out is matchless grace, but that we should be sought out is grace beyond degree! We can find no reason for it but God's own sovereign love, and can only lift up our heart in wonder, and praise the Lord that this night we wear the name of "Sought out."

Paul declared this marvelous redemption was planned for the ages to come. We live in those "ages to come."

Ephesians 2:7: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Glory to God, we are seeing verse seven played out in our time. His manifold grace surrounds us and beckons to a place deeper into grace than thought possible. We are meant to grow with grace and exhibit its affectations upon us.

Ephesians 2:8-10:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

     Because the book of Ephesians is a Grace-filled epistle, it is necessary to review various aspects of it:

1. There is no "measure" of grace - it is always available and infinite in scope.
John 1:16-17:
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ

2. Grace is given so the believer can grow up into spiritual maturity.
Acts 20:32:
32 "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified

3. Grace authors gifts within the body of faith.
Romans 12:5-6:
5.we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:

4. Grace leads the believer to a deeper worship.
Colossians 3:16:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

5. Grace gives confidence to interact with the Lord directly.
Hebrews 4:16:
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

6. Grace gives the power to minister in a great variety (manifold) of ways.
1 Peter 4:10-11:
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

7. Grace is not to be abused.

     a. James 4:6:
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore, He says:
"God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble."

     b. Jude 4:

4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

     c. Hebrews 10:29-30:

Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

(See: Double Grace, Zadok Publications.com)

Paul wanted his congregations to realize the great power of the new birth as God's handiwork. Being a new creature is just that! The believer is transformed.

Ephesians 2:10: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Good works flow out of the new creation because God ordained it before the world was founded. It is grace that prompts the believer; grace that opens doors of ministry; grace that engenders the desire to move into the walk of fire which encompasses the fellowship of the flame. Ephesians, in the ensuing passages, lays hold of these facts and carries them forward.

Ephesians 2:11-13:
11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh - who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands - 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ

"Therefore," in verse eleven, is like a gateway. Everything said before it leads into and is the basis for what follows. If one will link the first half of verse eleven to verse thirteen and read it together as a complete sentence, it describes the "then" versus the "now."

Therefore, remember that you, (were) once Gentiles in the flesh- But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ

(Bro. Glenn Miller taught me and others that "Gentile" should be replaced with the proper translation: Heathen [founder of Lake Hamilton Bible Camp, Hot Springs, Ark.]).

Paul captured the awesome and horrible estate of all who were not of Israel. They were treated by Judaism as outlaws without a redeemable trait among them. Indeed, they were not participants in the "commonwealth" of Israel. (The use of commonwealth shows the national attribute of Israel.) They had no covenant with God; they had no hope---they were headed to eternity without God. BUT GOD!

Jesus changed it all. He opened the covenant, the hope, the kingdom to all who would come to Him. No longer was it a matter of fleshly circumcision. No longer was it necessary to sacrifice at the Temple. Now, they were new creations-something that never existed before.

Ephesians 2:14-18:
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

The veil was rent and the separation forever gone, for now redemption is through Jesus. On the cross, He put to death the enmity, preaching to Jew and Gentile alike the gospel of peace and salvation.

Paul included himself in verse eighteen. No longer would there be a system of exclusion, for the door is open to all who would come to Christ-- both Jew and Gentile have access to the Father via the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22:
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Another "therefore" gateway is opened; based on what is said in the passages leading up to this point, it gives vent to one of the most powerful scriptures in the Bible. Believers are one in Christ and "fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God."

Stop a moment and let the truth of what was said sink deep into your spirit. Many in the churches today have no clue to the depth of this statement. Neither do they fathom the fact that as a believer they have an integral part in the building of the kingdom. Beginning in verse twenty, one must realize that God, before the foundation of the world, decreed that His household would reside in a holy temple. Verse twenty said such a holy temple is already under construction and the building blocks are the redeemed.

Let those who disregard the Old Testament hear Paul say the foundation consists of the prophets and subsequently the Apostles (of which Paul was one). Bedrock truth poured out of both groups. Both groups honor the Messiah Jesus, for He is the corner stone (the stone on which the building sets---it determines the squareness, the plumbness, the shape and the scope of all who build upon it). No unholy person will touch it. No unredeemed will be part of this Temple. This is the eternal Temple from which God will never depart.

Paul said both Jewish believers and Gentile believers are being shaped and parried for the building's completion.

being fitted together v. 21
being built together v. 22

Beloved, it's time to yield to the Spirit and know who you are in the great scheme of things. It is time to yield to the Spirit and let Him chip away the dross and shape your life. It is time to be holy. It is time for the holy ones to be built and fitted together---realizing that the profane are not to be linked to us in any form!

Read now from the Living Bible:

Eph 2:19-22:
Now you are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven, but you are members of God's very own family, citizens of God's country, and you belong in God's household with every other Christian.

20 What a foundation you stand on now: the apostles and the prophets; and the cornerstone of the building is Jesus Christ Himself! 21 We who believe are carefully joined together with Christ as parts of a beautiful, constantly growing temple for God. 22 And you also are joined with him and with each other by the Spirit and are part of this dwelling place of God.

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.

Oliver Evangelistic Association Board of Directors Meeting

On March 2, the board of the Oliver Evangelistic Association met for the annual board meeting in The Woodlands, Texas. At this meeting, the report from all activities of the OEA are shared by Dr. and Mrs. Oliver. In addition, we have updates from the various missionary activities which are supported by OEA. Attending were board members Victoria Anderson, Dr. Samuel Karunanithi, Glenn Manning, Betty Oliver, Dr. C. R. Oliver, Stephen Oliver, Kevin Stoltenburg, and ministry guests.

On Friday evening, we assembled at The Homewood Suites Hotel in The Woodlands

Kevin & Joy Stolenburg with Don Davis

We had dinner at Casa Medina Mexican Restaurant

On Saturday Morning, we gathered together for our meeting

The Book Table showing all the books written by Dr. Oliver

Dr. Oliver opened the meeting

Don and Beverly Davis lead Praise & Worship

Don Davis speaks about his
and Beverly's mission activities

Portia Sharp speaks about her
recent missionary trip to Africa

Larry & Marla Johnson from Guatamala speak about their ministry
Board Member Dr. Samuel Karunanithi
speaks about his ministry trips
to Switzerland, France, and India

Dr. Karunanithi with Dr. Oliver

Bob Altimus of West Heart Ministries
reports on his recent Africa Trip

Board Member Kevin & Joy Stolenberg report
on their Ministry Tool Box ministry

Tommy Mesche, of Elim Church, Pasadena, introduces our speaker, Travis Moffitt, President of Connect Global

Tommy Mesche, Dr. Oliver, and our speaker Travis Moffitt

Travis Moffitt speaks.

Travis Moffitt prays for Marla Johnson

Travis Moffitt prays for Portia Sharp

Travis Moffitt prays for Victoria Anderson

Group prays for speaker Travis Moffitt.

Board Member Victoria Anderson closes meeting with Communion

Attendees receive Communion

Lunch at The Red Phoenix Hunan Restaurant

Dr. Oliver with Bob Altimus

Group Picture


Paperback volumes may still be ordered through our website.

To see the currently available books from Amazon, click on the cover images below.

The Sons of Zadok HR The Regal Pair Solomon's Secret Called to be Saints

Consumed By His Fire Double Grace En Punto A Study in Isaiah

The Road to Captivity Exact Ezekiel

Study Guide - The Sons of Zadok Study Guide - Called to be Saints Study Guide - The Road To Captivity

In Spanish:

Called to be Saints El Secreto de Salomon Los Hijos de Sadoc

In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

To see the currently available books from Barnes & Noble, click on the cover images below.

Sons of Zadok Double Grace HR The Regal Pair Consumed By His Fire

Called to be Saints Solomon's Secret En Punto A Study in Isaiah

The Road to Captivity Exact Ezekiel

In Spanish:

Called to be Saints El Secreto de Salomon Los Hijos Sadoc

In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

Last modified: 02/07/2019