8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Verses eight and nine show how Christians enter into a saved state (v.5). Salvation comes from God, not man.
Paul now further developed the concept of grace, especially the means of salvation. Verses eight and nine are an explanation of “the exceeding riches of His grace” of verse seven. These verses also expand the statement about grace in verse five— “by grace you have been saved.”
by [the] grace
The basis of our salvation rests on “the” grace principle presented previously in the context. The “the” points back to the already-mentioned grace principle. God’s grace is the provision of Christ to suffer for our sins. Grace effects our salvation.
you have been saved
“Saved” here is our eternal salvation. The Greek indicates that God saved us in the past with the result that our salvation continues without cessation.
The means of appropriating our salvation is “through faith.” “Faith” is the instrument whereby we avail ourselves of God’s offer of salvation. Grace effects our salvation; faith apprehends salvation.
and that [whole process of salvation] not of [source] yourselves;
Salvation does not originate in us but in God. We cannot merit salvation by works.
it is the gift of God,
Salvation is a gift from God, so it cannot come from us. Christ’s death for our sins is God’s gift for our salvation. Jesus is the meritorious Agent for our sins. This is God’s initiative. It is an initiative with no strings attached.
Our salvation rests on grace and comes to us through faith.
“Grace” is God’s job; “faith” is ours. Salvation is also God’s “gift.” God exercised His grace by sending His Son to die for our sins. Our part is to rest on or believe what He did on our behalf. Faith involves abandonment of any attempt by us to save ourselves by works. In God’s perspective we can never mix faith with works; they are mutually exclusive. We cannot justify ourselves.
Biblical faith is not the same as credulity. Credulity is to believe something without evidence. People today believe in certain miracles simply because they wish them to be true. This is not biblical faith. Biblical faith rests on statements and promises by God and not on feelings.
Faith in the Bible rests on knowing what God says. No one can become a believer without first knowing that they must rest on the death of Christ to pay for their sins.