5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Paul paused for a moment to make a parenthetical statement: God’s making us alive in Christ was by the grace principle.
(by grace you have been saved),
How did God make us alive together with Christ? By grace. Verses eight and nine will enlarge on His grace. No one is beyond salvation. Because man did not deserve to be saved and he could not save himself, God introduced His grace. Man needed a non-meritorious system if he was to be redeemed.
The word “grace” occurs about 100 times in just Paul’s writings alone. Grace is God’s provision for man without his deserving it. This is a central theme in Ephesians (1:3-14). God lavished His grace on believers (1:6-8). Grace is the cause of our redemption (1:7). Paul did his ministry by grace (3:2, 7-8). Verse seven explains that God will lavish His abundant grace in time and eternity.
God’s act of making sinners alive with Him is an act of unadulterated grace. This grace made us “alive together with Christ.” This is exclusively God’s initiative in grace. He did it all through Christ.
The phrase “have been saved” confirms the permanence of our salvation (perfect tense). Christians are in a saved state; they are saved from hell and possess heaven right now and for eternity. Salvation began at some point in the past; we do not wait for eternity to be saved. This is not the act of saving but the fact of having been saved.
Grace is God’s provision for believers without any merit in them.
What Christ did, He did for us. God ties our destiny to His destiny. We are identified with Christ forever. There is no cause in us that would recommend to God that He forgive us. God owes us nothing. He did not have to provide His Son for us. He gave us salvation, never to take it back because of our status with Christ.