“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” -–Ephesians 2:4-9
He loved us – “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us”
Obviously, the passage just before this makes it exceedingly clear that we are not worthy of God’s love. Before God’s grace, we were depraved, disobedient, dead and doomed. Verse four carries on with two of the most powerful words in the Bible; “But God.” The love of God, as it relates to sinners, is specifically called grace and mercy. These two attributes of God are what make it possible for sinners to be saved.
Many people and religions believe that they can earn their way into heaven, but the Bible makes it clear that we simply are not worthy to come anywhere near God’s dwelling place without the imputed righteousness and perfecting work of Jesus Christ. Thankfully, by God’s mercy, we do not receive the punishment we truly deserve, (Psalm 103:10.)
He quickened us – “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”
Paul emphasizes again, the fact that we were dead in our sins. This is only to demonstrate the great power of God to quicken us, (or make us alive,) with Christ. We’ve already learned that it is God’s mercy that spares us the punishment we deserve. Now we learn that it is God’s grace that that gives us the salvation we do not deserve.
He exalted us – “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”
As if being forgiven of our sins were not enough, God goes on from there. He continues to pour out his grace on us buy seating us together in heavenly places with Jesus Christ. God has now demonstrated His love for us by pouring out even more blessings we do not deserve. Amazingly enough, Paul also states this fact in the past tense, further demonstrating God’s sovereignty and ability to maintain a salvation and a standing that we could never hope to maintain on our own.
He keeps us – “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Our salvation is God’s gift to us. That is to say that we did not purchase it or earn it in any way. We have no right to boast or to be prideful of the fact that we are saved. In fact, it should be just the opposite. We should be incredibly humbled by the fact that God chose to save a wretched sinner like us.
This is a wonderful design by God to ensure that ultimately, His purpose shines through. That is that the glory goes to God and no one else. If God has an eternal purpose for us to fulfill, He will keep us for all eternity. Since we have not been saved by our good works, we can not be lost by our bad works. It is simply the gift of God.
It is my prayer that as you read this, if you are not born again, the Spirit might be working on your conscience. I pray that you might be led to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. If you are born again, I pray that this serves as a humble reminder that your salvation is not of your own works, but rather the "gift of God;" lest any man should boast.