Ephesians 2:1–10 (NKJV)
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.Ephesians 2:1-3
In chapter 2, the letter to the Ephesians offers a triumphant description of salvation. In theological terms, soteriology is the study or discussion of salvation and its process. Here, Paul writes of the new life that comes to those dead in sin at salvation. He also describes the state of sinfulness, the bondage that was inflicted by Satan. The doctrine of sin, or hamartiology, examines the nature and effects of sin, and Paul presents a summary of that doctrine in this short passage as well.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:4-10
Paul then quickly returns to his discussion of the salvation process by reiterating the joyous truth that life is given through the sacrifice of Christ. He names mercy as a gift of God that makes one alive (although deserving death) and raises up the sinner to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. He mentions several times that grace is the gift of God that effects salvation in the life of one who believes in the work of Jesus Christ in their own life. As was stated in the latter half of chapter one, all a sinner needs to do to be saved is to genuinely believe in God for salvation. This discussion culminates in the well-known verses eight and nine: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” This statement demonstrates that salvation is not from works. One cannot live good enough to be saved. Instead, the gift of God is just that, an act of grace from God to man that saves an evil soul from its eventual destruction and places it on a new path to heaven. We cannot boast of our goodness, but rather fall upon the grace of a righteous God in humility and believe. This makes the Christian the workmanship of God, the new creation designed for good works that God intended. Without His grace, we cannot live righteously for Him. With His grace, we can become new women and men of faith and goodness. Salvation is free, brought about by the grace of God, and humanity is evil, in need of a Savior, Jesus. That grace that brings us near by Christ is simply amazing!