Ephesians 2:4 starts off with a contrast “But God”. Unlike us, wallowing in our passions and filth, God is rich in mercy and love. He made us alive when we were dead (another contrast). And not only did He make us alive, but He raised us up along with Christ and seated us with Christ in the heavens. This was so that His grace which is immeasurable could be displayed throughout the ages. Now obviously we are not literally seated with Christ now in the heavenly places. This passage is talking about spiritually and figuratively being raised and seated with Christ. Positionally we are in Christ so that our relationship to God is as though we were Christ. We have the benefits that Christ has. As chapter 1 told us, we are adopted as sons. When contrasted with how dead and passion-consumed we were at the beginning of this chapter, it is mind-blowing to realize what God has done for us. This is not something we could accomplish on our own, nor would we have had the desire for this without God intervening.
In verse 8 of chapter 2 we come to some of the most familiar verses in the Bible – “For by grace you have been saved through faith…” We are not saved by our works or our own doing, but rather by God’s grace through faith. Chapter 1 has just shown us the immeasurable riches of God’s grace towards us in Christ, and chapter 2 continues to sound the praises of God’s glory. Yet we are not just saved to be trophies on God’s shelf, but for “good works” which “God prepared beforehand”. Just as chapter 1 tells us that God chose us to be holy and blameless, chapter 2 tells us that we are saved not by works but for good works. This echoes what we are taught elsewhere in Scripture, such as James, that while salvation is not by the works we do, our salvation becomes evident through the works that we do as a result of our salvation.
Verse 11 starts off with “Therefore”, which we’ll tackle next time as Paul continues to talk about the contrast between what we were before salvation and what we are now in Christ.