“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9 NIV).
No matter how many times I read this segment of Scripture, I am constantly amazed at how much God loves us. The gift of grace, showered upon those of us who certainly have not earned His favor, but have it any way. Wow! What an awesome God!
Since He knows us and our propensity to boast about “how good we are” or a number of other things we do to proclaim our salvation, He reminds us that it is not by “our works” (what we do or don’t do) that saves, but because of His grace–the gift of the work on the cross–because of His love that we are saved. Why do we need to be reminded of this? Because of those who love to “try to control others” by constantly telling people who is or who is not saved.
Most of us know some of these people by what “they say.” If a person does not agree with them, their constant rejoinder is, “you need to be saved.” If a person has a differing view of scripture, “you need to be saved.” If a person doesn’t attend a certain church, “you need to be saved.” If a person doesn’t wear their clothes exactly right, “you need to be saved.” If a person goes to a movie,” you need to be saved.” If a person watches television,” you need to be saved.” If a person doesn’t read their bible every hour on the hour, “you need to be saved.” This list could go on and on, but the point here is–they are the ones who have forgotten–we are saved by grace, not by works. They are the ones who are attempting to get into heaven by their works, not realizing their constant misjudgment of people will certainly not bode well for them.
Since I have accepted the gift of grace from God (not man), I am saved. I honor Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and try always to do those things that please Him. I do not know what others have done at any point in their life and I certainly acknowledge the fact that we are not all going to agree about a number of things–pertaining to salvation, but that does not mean a person is not saved. That judgment call is up to God, not me.
However, we do know that when people are saved, they do good works–helping others, encouraging others, praying for others, and warning others (not judging them). They do the works because they are saved; not because they are trying to be saved. The gift of grace–God’s unearned, unmerited favor–is the gift that keeps on giving when we do the good works God inspires us to do for others.
Lord Jesus, we thank You for the gift of Grace that You give us, bringing us into relationship with You so we can hear and obey all You say to us. Thank You for using us in demonstration of the gift that keeps giving.