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What Exactly Does Ephesians 2:8-9 Really Mean?


Ephesians 2:8-9  is actually a verse in scripture that is often misused by false ministers to completely misinterpret the word of God and to promote the false salvation by grace through faith only doctrine.


Yes, we are saved by grace but grace is not a license to sin, and this is a point that so many self-proclaimed ministers teach today. That Christ has done it all so there is no need to do anything in terms of obedience.


In so many words claiming that grace is a license to sin, that grace is a license to break the commandments and the word of God as a whole. And in reality, this is the reason why there is so much blatant hypocrisy today.


But grace is not a license to continue in sin and sin is the transgression of the commandments and the word of God as a whole. And this verse if taken out of context, misinterpreted, and applied improperly, can have dire consequences.

What the verse in Ephesians 2:8-9  actually means is that we are saved by God’s grace in that he sent Christ to die for our sins. God’s grace was manifest when he gave his son as a sacrifice, something none of us deserved because we were all guilty, deemed enemies,  and separated from God.


But God in his mercy “his grace” sent his son to pay the price for that sin. Through the sacrifice of Christ, we are saved and there is nothing we can do of our own volition to pay the price for the sins of Adam. Only God the father coming in the flesh could pay that price St John 1:14, we are saved only by God’s grace through the selfless sacrifice of Christ.


Christ has paid the price, there are no works we can do to substitute or take the place of that sacrifice. The point being, if Christ had never laid down his life as a sacrifice there would be nothing any human being could do in terms of obedience to the commandments or good works to substitute or take the place of Christ death as payment for those sins.


We would still be doomed to die forever, and would always be guilty and deemed enemies of God, no matter what we did in terms of good works or obedience to the commandments or the word of God the Bible.


We would still be guilty, doomed, separate and deemed enemies of God. Christ shed blood and sacrifice was the only thing sufficient to pay the price for the sins of man and  Adam. There is nothing anyone of us could have done in terms of obedience to the commandments or word of God as a whole or in terms of good works to pay that price, to wash away that sin.

But with all that being said now that the payment has been made for us by the sacrifice of Christ are we to continue in sin? If you are acquitted of a crime in a court of law does that give you the right to go out and break the law again?


We all know the answer to that if we did that we would be right back in front of the judge again and possibly facing an even harsher punishment as a repeat offender.


The same thing applies to us as repentant Christians, God expects us as Christians to cherish and show our respect for Christ’s sacrifice through obedience to the commandments and word of God as a whole. We are not saved by God’s grace from sin to continue in sin.


If that were the case what would be the purpose of being saved by God’s grace from the sin that bought the death penalty on us in the first place, to continue in the same sin that bought the death penalty upon us?


Matthew 19:17

New International Version (NIV)

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”


1 Corinthians 6:19-20

New International Version (NIV)

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.


Romans 6:1-3

New International Version (NIV)
Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?



Romans 6:13-15

King James Version (KJV)

13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

The law of condemnation or punishment as it pertains to breaking aspects of the old covenant laws, as well as the more offensive points of the commandments, is what’s being emphasized in Romans 6:13-15. Under the old law if a person sinned depending on the severity of the transgression they were tried and stoned to death if found guilty.


That law no longer applies as this verse emphasizes, but now if the person is guilty of stumbling they are to admit their sin before God, ask for forgiveness, grace is then applied, they are forgiven by God, and they are to then be about the business of sincerely and diligently working to overcome that sin or behavior that is contrary to the Bible and offensive to God no matter what it is. God will administer punishment on the day of judgment if the sin is not overcome or corrected.

Notice St John 5:28-29, Romans 2:6-10.

Galatians 5:24

King James Version (KJV)

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Crucified means put to death, or to put sin to death .



Colossians 3:5-11

King James Version (KJV)

5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.


Hebrews 10:26-32

King James Version (KJV)

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


Also Notice

Hebrews 6:6-8

King James Version (KJV)

6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

Now that Christ has paid the price it is now our responsibility to show our appreciation for that sacrifice by continuing in obedience to the commandments and the word of God as a whole. As God commands us.1 John 2:3-6,


 John 8:2-11 is an example of the grace of Christ in action when a woman was caught in the act of adultery and was about to be stoned, but Christ pardoned the woman but his instruction to her afterward was to go and “sin no more”.

John 8:2-11

King James Version (KJV)

2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Also, Notice Christ emphasizes in John 5:14 after he had healed the man to go and “sin no more” lest a worse thing come upon you.

John 5:14

King James Version (KJV)

14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.


1 John 3:4

King James Version (KJV)

4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.


Jude 1:4

King James Version (KJV)

4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.


Romans 3:31

King James Version (KJV)

31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.


James 2:20

King James Version (KJV)

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

James 2:24

King James Version (KJV)

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

When you understand the context by which Ephesians 2:8-9  should be applied you begin to understand that works are equally as important as faith to be justified or deemed right in the eyes of God. After all, true love is expressed in action in the form of good works, rather than words, this is biblical, and a universal, truth and is something that is further confirmed in……

Romans 13:10

King James Version (KJV)

10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

 It clearly states that true love is the fulfillment of the law or the commandments so true love is based on keeping the commandments and word of God as a whole. The Bible also emphasizes in …. 

James 2:13

New International Version (NIV)

13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Emphasizing that he that showed no mercy or love will be judged without mercy and also that mercy or love overcomes harsh judgment or condemnation when judged.



Also Notice Matthew 5:7 where it emphasizes that the merciful will obtain mercy as well as Proverbs 10:12  where it emphasizes that hate stirs up strife but love covers all sins. The Bible is clearly pointing out the importance and necessity of good works and love which really can be defined as obedience to the commandments and word of God as whole. To be considered righteous in the eyes of God and to be  favorably judged when we stand before God something that is further confirmed in

John 5:28-29

King James Version (KJV)

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.



Romans 2:6-16
King James Version (KJV)

6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.



James 2:20

King James Version (KJV)

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?


James 2:24

King James Version (KJV)

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.



Titus 3:8

King James Version (KJV)

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.



Revelation 20:12

King James Version (KJV)

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.



Revelation 20:13


King James Version (KJV)

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works

 Obedience to the commandments and word of God as well as good works will play a crucial role in determining whether you are acquitted or condemned when judged something that is clearly and powerfully emphasized and outlined in scripture.


Many people because they have been completely led astray and deceived by false unlearned ministers use this verse in Ephesians 2:8-9 to justify disobedience to the commandments and word of God as a whole. And are in danger of losing their physical and spiritual lives because they have bought into this gross satanic deception, and gross form of biblical misinterpretation.




Donald Bohanon

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