My wife, Bronwyn, grew up going to church. She went to Christian summer camps and was a “good Christian.” Just before she began studying at university, she attended a conference that changed her life. As she sat in a small group discussing heaven, she said, “But don’t Christians just have a better chance than the next person of getting into heaven?”

The group went silent. She knew she’d said something “wrong.” After the session, a friend took Bron for a walk and they discussed the concept of grace. Until that moment, she had never understood grace. But that’s when the penny dropped for her. She realized that all this time she had been relying on being a good Christian to be right with God, but in fact God had already done everything she needed. Jesus died for her sins so that she could be right with God.

Right then and there Bron accepted God’s grace for the first time. The burden of trying to be good enough for God was finally lifted from her shoulders.

Grace. It’s a precious word to Christians. If we truly understand its meaning, we will see that grace* is at the very heart of the good news of what Jesus has done to offer salvation. It refers to the undeserved favor of God, extended to us free of charge, even though we have no natural right to it and can never earn it on our own merits.

Perhaps no passage in the Bible expresses the concept of the grace of God as succinctly as Ephesians 2:8–9:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

We have been saved by grace. Forgiveness of our sins,* salvation,* and reconciliation* with God come to us as a gift. Salvation is not earned through good works* or good behavior. It is granted to us through faith.

Little wonder these verses are special to followers of Jesus. Millions of us have memorized them, keeping their precious, life-giving, profoundly encouraging words close to our hearts.

Let’s explore how these famous and beloved verses fit into the message of Ephesians, and in particular how they fit in 2:1–10. In their immediate context, they take on even greater significance and meaning. There they provide the inevitable and joyous conclusion to the argument that begins in 2:1. Join me on a journey to understand the wonder of the message of Ephesians 2:1–10.