"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;)" (Ephesians 2:4-5).
The first word of our text sets up a great contrast between what we were and deserved as dead sinners, and what we are, due to God's mercy and grace. In the preceding verses, the picture of man's state is very dark; we "were dead in trespasses and sins" (v. 1). We were cut off from the things of light and "walked . . . according to the prince of the power of the air" (v. 2), controlled by Satan. Our lives were characterized by the "lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind" (v. 3). Everything about us was abhorrent to God, not only our sinful, fleshly actions, but the perversion of our minds, and we deserved His "wrath" (v. 3).
It is not likely that mere man could have conceived the concepts expressed in the following verses. Scarcely would a human mind have proposed that the very God, whose justice demanded punishment, would take that punishment upon Himself in order to lavish upon us His incomparable grace. "But God . . . is rich in mercy" (v. 4). He had compassion on us, which with "His great love," compelled Him to act strongly on our behalf. He devised a masterful plan to "quicken," or make alive, those who were dead "together with Christ," for "by grace ye are |literally completely| saved." Just as certainly as Christ is alive, we are "made alive" through His grace.
This plan of grace defies understanding and description. Through it, we have been "saved" (vv. 5, 8), we have a present home "in heavenly places" (v. 6), and we will experience its "exceeding riches" throughout the ages (v. 7). Even the faith to accept it is "the gift of God" (v. 8). God's gracious plan fully overwhelms our wickedness and worthlessness; it exceeds all our desperate need. JDM