by Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921)
"By grace have ye been saved," says Paul to the Ephesians (Eph. ii. 5, 8); and so important does it seem to him that his readers shall understand this and bear it on their hearts that he says it twice in the course of four verses. He says it in such a way, moreover, as to throw a tremendous emphasis on the word "grace," and therefore on the manner in which they had been saved, as distinguished from the salvation itself. He is not assuring the Ephesians that they had been saved. They knew that for themselves, and were rejoicing in this wonderful thing which had come to them. What he is eagerly repeating to them, intent on fixing it so firmly in their hearts that they cannot escape from it for a moment, is that it is just "by grace" that they have been saved.
He is engaged in this context in reminding his readers of the greatness of their salvation. They had been dead in their trespasses and their sins, children of wrath by nature, like the rest of men. But God is rich in mercy and has loved them mightily. Because of this his great love for them, he has come to them, lying helplessly dead in their sins, and has made them alive in Christ. Here the apostle breaks in on himself to cry, for the first time, "By grace have ye been saved"! God has raised them with Christ and seated them with him in the heavenly places, for no other reason than that he might show forth in the ages to come the surpassing riches of his grace, as manifested in this his kindness to them in Christ Jesus, for-the apostle now adds with iterant emphasis--"by grace have ye been saved."