Thielman, Frank. Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010.
Chapter 4, “From Children of Wrath to New Creation (2:1-10)” pp. 118-147
“In 2:1-10 Paul shows his readers how the mighty power of God, demonstrated in the resurrection and victorious enthronement of his Messiah, affects them individually” (Thielman 2010, 118). Thielman divides his discussion into three parts: 2:1-3, 4-7, and 8-10, identifying different emphases in the parts (Ibid.).
Ephesians 2:1-3 identifies the readers as “children of wrath like all the rest”(Ibid., 120). This is in sharp contrast to the expression of redemption in 1:19-22. Paul makes the connection of sin and death here, as in other places (Ibid., 121). This is a universal condemnation, common to the whole world (Ibid., 123). Thielman brings out the root of sin, discussing Paul’s view of “desires” and “cravings” (Ibid., 125-127).
As Paul continues in 2:4-7 he declares that the very people condemned earlier are objects of God’s mercy (Ibid., 131). His emphasis on God’s grace is central. In verse 4 Paul describes God as “rich in mercy” (Ibid., 132). As Paul describes God’s gracious actions here he favors compound verbs with the prefix “with” or “together” (Ibid., 134). Phrased in the aorist tense they indicate completed action. Thielman questions the apparent lack of discussion of Christians or Christ suffering in the passage. He concludes that the theme of suffering does exist in Ephesians but in this passage the concern is the gracious gift of God’s mercy (Ibid., 137).
In verses 8-10 Thielman considers Paul to address “the nature and consequences of God’s grace” (Ibid., 141).This grace of God rescues the believers freely yet is tied to faith. Trust in the gospel is essential. “Faith and grace stand over against anything that human beings can offer God” (Ibid., 143). The theme of verse 10, that Christians as God’s creation do the works of God, is not at all foreign to Paul (Ibid., 145). As God has redeemed his people, they live out their redemption by their works.