key verse: 10
We ares His workmanship
Paul describes here the process of faith through which the pagans are saved. Many boasted in their works, but salvation comes only through grace. But this salvation from God has a reason for existing (10).
1. Among whom we once lived (1-3)
The Pharisees pretended they were different from other people and pointed accusingly at tax collectors who prayed next to them. Yet, this is an error made by men who are tempted to distinguish themselves. Paul's gospel begins by recognizing that we were once among those cursed by God. The pagans followed the course of this world, which was the way of Satan. They worshipped idols. Yet the Jews also lived according to the desires of the flesh. Thus they were all children of wrath, without distinction, because of their rebellion against God.
2. We are His workmanship (4-10)
Through God's mercy, we sinners are saved. All men were dead because of sin, but God reached out his hand to save them. Men are saved by believing in Jesus, His Son. People justify themselves through works, but these works are dead and much like dirty rags. If works make one just, it is as though God needed our help, as though He were not really so strong. But God is powerful enough to save men without needing their help. Through grace only is man saved, so the glory goes to God alone. He who has saved us in great mercy also reveals His will concerning the purpose of this salvation. It's not for living a comfortable life or for our well-being, but rather, for His future work of salvation. God wants to use our salvation to show in the coming ages the hope of being saved by the unchanging immesurable riches of His divine grace. We are his workmanship and destined to do good works. In man's life and concerning salvation, these works are not the cause, but the result.