Even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.
Paul started this chapter with the truth that, “you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked” (v. 1-2). That applies to every Christian. What did Paul mean by dead? He gave a clear answer in Romans: “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8).
Spiritual deadness is a complete inability to please God. This also includes our faith because faith is most pleasing to God: “And without faith it is impossible to please him” (Heb. 11:6). By nature, we’re not able to please God with saving faith. Something must happen prior to that.
That’s why Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again [born from above] he cannot see the kingdom of God,” which includes not being able to believe and enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5).
God has to give us spiritual life before we can believe. He does that through His life-giving word: “Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). God’s call creates life and believing.
The essence of salvation by grace alone is the fact that God “made us alive together with Christ.” His finished work and resurrection is the sole cause of all spiritual life, whereby God has united us to Jesus from “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). His resurrection to life is our resurrection to new life. There is no self-induced spiritual life. Thus, we can only boast in His grace.