1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Only You has a wonderful progression from seeing our need for a Savior, asking Him to help us see more, proclaiming the knowledge we gain from God, and seeing that there is nothing we can do without God.
Ephesians 2:1-3 speaks of the human condition, to the depth of our sinfulness, to the extent of our wickedness. In contrast to that, Ephesians 2:4 shows the heart of God and the heart of the Gospel message. Even when we were far off – even when we were living life according to our desires – even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins God loved us and made us alive in Christ. This is the truth of the Gospel. This is the truth displayed in Verse 1 and 2. We are the ones who were once in darkness. We are the ones who have been brought into the light and adopted as God’s own. We are the children of God and fellow heirs with Christ.
Through prayer and Scripture we can come to know the grace of God. Only from God we understand God. The pre-chorus is a prayer of illumination. Together we pray, “Oh God, would you help us to understand the fullness of the grace shown to us even when we did not deserve it – even though we will never deserve it.” Without prayer it is very easy to forget the grace of God and fall back into our darkness and death in which we once walked. Prayer is the doorway to the relationship with God.
It is only when we let God into our heart and let Him show Himself to us that we can proclaim the truths of the chorus. The words of the chorus fight against our innate human urge to brag of our righteousness. It causes us to realize that it is only Christ that can save us or anyone. Because salvation is entirely by the grace of God, we ought never to boast of our spiritual insights or accomplishments. Instead we should rest in Christ our righteousness, our holiness, and our redemption.
Because of Christ we are no longer helpless children, but raised up with Him. Our hopelessness is combatted by the grace and love of God. Our sinfulness is defeated at the cross.