"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."
Of all the "But God"s in the bible this one might be my favorite! I love this passage because it gives us a stark comparison of pre vs. post justification. We see a few things in verses 1-3. First of all, we see that we, apart from Christ, were were totally immersed and overwhelmed by the world. We chased after ever fleeting worldly passion, and it was our nature to. According to Romans 8:7-8, we were incapable of pleasing God. Paul is trying to show us the immense depths of our awful depravity.
The Part of these first few verses that should be the most humbling to us, is verse 3. What right do we as Christians have to boast in our salvation, if apart from Christ, we are no different from the world? This is one of Paul's main themes in the book of Ephesians. Our nature is incapable of Righteousness! Apart from Christ, we have no righteousness!
Here's where the "But God" comes in!
John Calvin writes in his commentary of Ephesians
"there is no other life than that which is breathed into us by Christ: so that we begin to live only when we are ingrafted into him, and enjoy the same life with himself. This enables us to see what the apostle formerly meant by death, for that death and this resurrection are brought into contrast. To be made partakers of the life of the Son of God, — to be quickened by one Spirit, is an inestimable privilege."
Haha, I need to start using words like "inestimable", but that is what it is! God's grace is impossible to calculate! God's grace reaches from his perfect holiness to our radically corrupt nature to save us! Don't you see why Paul calls God rich in mercy? This is one of Ephesians most powerful passages, because Paul uses our depravity to give light to the magnificence of God's grace.
How Humbling! We deserve nothing. We rejected God every moment from birth until his grace broke our stubborn hearts and we were adopted as sons into the "immeasurable riches of his grace."
To God be the Glory. He saves wreched sinners.