Paul reiterates that God, out of mercy and love, “when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ,” further explaining that this is what it means to be saved by grace (v.5). It is probably a significant understatement that the church does not understand the significance of the reality of our also being raised up, “and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (v. 6) He has made us to sit together within in his current messianic reign over all things, in his kingdom! “The ages to come” is the full inauguration of the new covenant administration that occurred with the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and the close of the canon (v. 6a). It is these ages we now live in, and not “the last days” of the old covenant administration.
The riches of his grace is thus seen “in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (v. 7) All of this is what immediately precedes the well known verses that follow. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (vv. 8-10) We have been created and re-created for a godly purpose. Each of us is a work of art, predestined to walk with Him in the good works which he has also predestined for us to walk in. The good works are a result of regeneration in Christ Jesus, by grace through faith, and not a condition of it. We must guard this biblical doctrine with our lives.