The Christian church has always been plagued by debates over how sinners can be saved. With that in mind, Paul offers a counterpoint in Ephesians 2 for just about everyone who claims anything other than salvation by grace through faith.
Do you believe that works can save? Paul says, “By grace you have been saved, not a result of works” (Eph 2:8-9).
Do you agree with the tenets of hyper-grace where faith plays no part in our salvation? Paul says, “By grace you have been saved through faith.”
Do you suggest that born-again sinners can possess faith but remain unchanged, unconverted? Paul says, “We are created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph 2:10).
Do you look back on your own conversion and claim too much credit for your faith? Paul says, “When we were dead in our trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:5).
The truth is, however, Paul isn’t directly arguing against anyone in this passage. There are none of the tell-tale signs such as Paul asking and answering rhetorical questions or responding to hypothetical arguments. Rather, he’s building on what he previously said and prefacing what he will say in the remaining chapters.
Paul is talking to believers here. In the first chapter, he reminds us that something incredible has taken place on our behalf. God chose us. The Son of God redeemed us by his blood. God’s Spirit seals us. God’s power resides in us. Ultimately, we have a glorious eternal inheritance that can never be lost or taken away.
In short, you and I are different. We are different than we were before. We are different than most of the people living on this earth. We’ve been adopted out of the fallen family of Adam into the family of God. Furthermore, we’ve been changed, transformed into new creations. Motivated by unconditional love, God has rescued us not only for the future but also in the present.