Welcome to DAY 8 of our new online Bible study on Ephesians!
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Read: Ephesians 2:4-10
One afternoon recently, I sat and talked with an older gentleman who has been walking with the Lord since before I was born. We covered topics from parenting and marriage to writing and hospitality, then settled in on the subject of grace, as Christians are prone to do.
He said, “There’s only one word that separates our faith from every other religion around the globe and back again.”
“Grace!” I exclaimed.
“Alone!” He retorted.
My Sunday school answer didn’t cut it this time. He wanted me to go deeper.
Because, you see, many people other than Christians accept a surface form of grace — God’s unmerited goodness toward an imperfect people. But to think that our faith alone in God’s grace alone can save us, without a lick of our own good works? Beyond comprehension!
“Nothing good have I done
to deserve God’s own Son
I’m not worthy of the scars
In His hands.
Yet He chose the road to Calvary
To die in my stead
Why He loved me I can’t understand.”
(Remind Me Dear Lord by Allison Krauss)
No! I can’t understand this sort of grace . . . I must do at least a little something to secure His love and clinch the eternal deal. The irony, of course, is that good works are part of the Christian life; however, they are intended to come after our salvation, not before.
Good works are the result of a saved life!
When we place our faith in grace alone, we’re free to fall headlong into every good work He’s prepared for us to walk in! You can’t earn it, you can only live it out, one God-honoring good work after another.
You wrote it out in your favorite translation, but let me share with you mine:
“Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish. We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and the saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (Ephesians 2:8-10, The Message)
You were made and saved by Christ alone! Nothing you did added one ounce to tip the scales in your favor. It was simply the generosity of Christ, going to the cross for you and me! So that we might join Him in the good gospel works He’s planned for us.
Before I ever experienced His grace, I sang these words in Sunday school:
“Ephesians 2:8 and 9,
I’m saved through the end of time.
Oh, I’m saved by His grace —
Oh, I’m saved!”
If you’ve made it this far into our study of Ephesians without accepting God’s generous gift of salvation, let me invite you to take Him entirely at His Word right now. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)
Stop working so hard, sweet friends, it’s faith alone in grace alone. Pray with me.
Dear God, I’ve been trying to be good enough, do enough, to work my way out of all the sin in my life to earn your love and forgiveness. I see now that it’s all simply a gift, and I could never ever earn it — only accept it. And I do, right now. Thank you, and Amen.
~ Diving Deeper ~
Have you accepted Christ’s gift of grace?
If you prayed the prayer at the end of this devotion today,
please send us a note HERE so we can connect with you!