What does Ephesians 2:8–9 mean?

Ephesians 2:8–9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." These powerful verses summarize the main point of the gospel. We are sinners who need a Savior and can only be saved by God's grace. We put our faith in Jesus who died on the cross to pay for our sins; and we are brought into relationship with our Creator God.

The apostle Paul wrote Ephesians to the Christians living in Ephesus while he was imprisoned in Rome. The letter was later broken down into six chapters. The first three chapters focus on God's grace, and the last three on how believers are to respond to that grace. As a whole, they paint a picture of God's plan for redeeming humanity from its sinful state.

The first chapter of Ephesians says that believers have been blessed by God. It explains God's plan to redeem humanity by sacrificing His Son Jesus so that people could be forgiven for their sins. Paul then prays that the believers in Ephesus might have a deeper understanding of God's grace. The second chapter begins by demonstrating how believers have changed from who they were before they believed into who they are now that they believe. The next part of the second chapter and the third chapter reveal that God's plan includes both Jews and Gentiles. Paul emphasizes that together with the Jews, "Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel" (Ephesians 3:6).

Ephesians 2:8–9 encompasses all of the ideas in the first three chapters of the book. It makes it clear that believers are saved by God's grace through faith and not works. No one can ever do anything to earn salvation or ever be good enough to deserve it. Rather, God freely gives us His grace as a gift (grace) because of His kindness and love for us even though we are unworthy of it. In addition, it emphasizes that we cannot boast in our own power because it is only by God's power that we are redeemed. He receives all the glory, not us.

However, Paul did not leave it there. In Ephesians 2:10 he stated, "For we are his [God's] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Although we are not saved by good works, when we are saved we are transformed; a product of that transformation is good works (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:1–14; Ephesians 4:17–32). In chapters four through six of Ephesians, Paul addresses how believers are to live now that they have been made new in Christ. "So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ" (Ephesians 4:14–15).

Related Truth:

What does it mean that salvation is by grace through faith?

The grace of God—What is it?

What is a biblical definition of faith?

Is salvation by faith or works or both?

How are good works the result of salvation?

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