Paul’s argument was that our lives were so “spiritually stagnant” at one time that we did not know the first thing about what God had done in Christ. We lived under the influence of death, according to the passions of the flesh, meaning that we did what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, with no sense of shame or guilt, with no sense of the consequences, with no regard for the welfare of others. We willfully did wrong, and walked in the ways of intense selfishness. Yes, we may have had breath, but in reality we were deader than a doornail, persons without a purpose.
That’s the bad part of the message. But like Paul Harvey, there is more to the story: the good part of the story is that together with Christ we have been made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5). Not in isolation, but together. Twice Paul states that by God’s unmerited favor, by God’s unconditional kindness, by God’s immeasurable mercy, by God’s great love – we have been saved, rescued, made alive - together! No longer dead!
It is what the gospel is all about: “saved by grace through faith!” In other places, it is about being “justified by grace through faith!”
And though salvation and justification are bit different, it is God who does both, as “being justified" means that we have been brought into God’s family and marked as a child of God by our trust in God (and not by the things we do like Sabbath-keeping, or food laws, or circumcision), whereas “being saved by grace” means that it is God who ultimately rescues us from the fate we would have otherwise incurred had we not received the gospel.
Salvation and justification are both gifts from God, which is what grace is all about! God's gift! God's active, compassionate, and redeeming love that brings us into the family and saves us, in spite of our lostness.
How may we walk in the way that leads to life? How may we receives God's good gift of grace? How may we be aware of God's grace?