By Stan Brown
Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, (God) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Paul now states three things that God did in accomplishing our transformation from sinners to saints; that is from death to life. All three of these were accomplished by God in our lives. The first of the three is mentioned here as he says God made us alive together with Christ. Paul begins by essentially repeating what he wrote in 2:1 with only two minor changes. The pronoun is changed from you to we as Paul includes himself in the description of being spiritually dead. He also omits the word sins but since sins and transgressions are essentially synonymous terms, Paul likely thought that his readers might remember what he said just a few short verses previously. Paul reminds us of the fact that we were all at one time dead and he includes himself in the mix. Now he speaks of the most spectacular miracle that has ever been performed and God performs this miracle countless times each day. Jesus performed the miracle of restoring physical life to some when he was on earth but they had to die again. As God transforms us from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive, we will never die again. This miracle is almost commonplace as it occurs every day all around us, yet each time it occurs it remains as splendidly spectacular as it did the time before. The word translated made alive together is used only here and in Col 2:13 He made you alive together with Him. We are made alive together with Christ that we might live with Him forever where He lives. It does not suggest that Christ ever needed to be made alive spiritually. He was always alive in that sense. (He is the only human who ever lived who was never dead in trespasses and sins.).
Now Paul says by grace you have been saved. Shortly Paul will say we received that grace through our choice to believe but the accomplishment of salvation is always a result of God’s grace. He will repeat the words by grace you have been saved in 2:8. God’s grace is demonstrated as his love and mercy as stated in the previous verse, act out His grace in our transformation from death to life. The Greek construction here emphasizes the accomplished fact of our deliverance from death. We are no longer the sons and daughters of disobedience. We belong to God. He has transformed us. Hoehner writes “God, by His grace, initially saves, but by that same grace he keeps believers safe or saved…from sin’s grip of death from which they are delivered.”
God’s deliverance from death is absolutely assured. God does not give incomplete gifts. The emphasis here is on what God has done. We can no more effect losing salvation through lack of works or evil works than we can affect gaining salvation through doing good works. Works have no relationship to receiving eternal life. It is absurd to believe that although we cannot receive eternal life through works, we can lose it by evil works. It makes no sense. To bring works into the equation makes it a work of man when it is a work of God. It is a logical absurdity. We have been made alive with Christ through grace forever. Having been transformed by God, it matters how we live. Works make a difference in our fellowship with God but never in our place in His family.