Five Eternal Gifts from God - Faith 4
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)
Three important aspects of salvation are explained in the latter part of Ephesians 2. We have previously noted the gift of God’s grace in vs. 1-7 as the basis or motivation by God to save sinners. In vs. 8-9 we not only see God’s grace as the sole motivation unto salvation but also God given faith as the sole or only means by which God’s saving grace, and its corresponding results, are applied to the sinner.
First, justification/salvation by God is by grace alone. Vs. 8a. “For by grace you have been saved.” The phrase, “for by grace” carries the idea of explanation. It also is the concept of a preceding cause that will generate a corresponding effect. The preceding cause Paul is explaining is grace.
Grace (χάριτί; chariti) is God’s unmerited favor and kindness. It is the unprovoked and undeserved favor by God that is directed towards sinners who should have received God’s judgment and had no reason to expect anything else but God’s judgment.
It is solely because of the preceding cause of God’s grace that the corresponding effect is realized: “you have been saved.” The sinner now presently exists in a new relationship with God. The sinner is now one who has been saved. The verb (σεσῳσμένοι) is a perfect passive participle meaning that it is an action completed in the past which continues to have lasting results. Salvation happens in a moment by God, but its eternal benefits remain forever.
This salvation is an active act by God that the sinner is enabled to receive. It is an act God initiates upon the sinner. To be saved means to be rescued from danger and delivered unto divine salvation.