1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)
The whole of Ephesians 2 focuses on who we as believers used to be, who we are, and on who accomplished that transformation. But verses 1-10 focus on the fact that our salvation is a gift of grace, while verses 11-22 focus on the fact that our salvation is an accomplishment of unity.
Verses 1-10 are split into two sections.
You used to be dead (1-3)
Your state of death was defined by the way you “walked,” the manner of your life. That was to live exactly like the sinful world does. That was to live exactly as Satan loves for people to live and how he influences people to live: to follow all the sinful desires of our sinful nature.
But God gave you life (4-10)
Yet even though you were dead, destined for God’s wrath, running heedlessly after your own lusts, God made you alive! Because he is so rich and mercy, and because he loved you with such a great love, he made you alive with Christ, raised you up with Christ, and seated you in heaven with Christ, all so that he might spend the rest of eternity showing you how immeasurable his grace is!
And Paul emphasizes God’s grace in verses 4-7 because it is by God’s grace that you were saved - that is, your salvation was a gift! Being made alive with Christ isn’t a result of your work, but of God’s work for you and in you.
So God saved you in Christ, by grace, so that he could magnify his grace forever.
Therefore, are you boasting in God’s work, in God’s grace? Or do you somehow think there is any goodness in you, in spite of your deadness without Christ?
And are you walking in good works? This new life God has given us is one of doing good works (verse 10). Works don’t precede salvation, but they always follow it! Talking about predestination to salvation is incomplete unless you also talk about predestination to good works—and unless you live that out.