Devotion On Grace

Our Bible passage for this devotion is Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV)

In today’s culture, much like the time when this passage was written, there is a fundamental misunderstanding of God’s grace towards mankind, especially, as it relates to salvation. In America, for example, there is a prevalent attitude that doing more gets you more. Or that doing good will give you more “good” into your life and that doing bad will bring more “bad” into your life. This attitude is what some call karma or “what goes around comes around”. Many believe that if they have “good things” in life it is because they’ve somehow earned God’s favor and blessings.

In a sense, we see this at Christmas time where children are told they better be good if they want to get presents. In other words, if we are good and nice as we live our lives, this will come back to us giving us better, more enjoyable, fulfilled lives. These positions carry over into religious beliefs in what is believed about the afterlife, especially, in terms of what Christians call salvation. Normally, these are non-Christians who hold these beliefs, yet sometimes Christians fall into these traps. These beliefs run contrary to the Christian position of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Therefore, it is important to understand and always keep in focus the grace in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We Christians need to be reminded of this so we can continue to trust Jesus with our lives. Understanding grace is also important so we can share Jesus accurately with non-Christians. Two key issues will help us understand God’s grace in salvation. 1) You can never be good enough to earn salvation since it is of God’s grace and 2) You can never be bad enough to be ineligible for salvation since it is of God’s grace.

Again, our verses are Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV)

What Does “Never Good Enough” Mean?

As we consider salvation, however good we think we are in our own eyes, we can never be good enough in God’s site. The book of James (2:10-11) tells us if we break any one of God’s laws that we are guilty of breaking all of them, that is, sinning against God. We are guilty not only in our actions, but we sin against God in our thoughts and intentions as well. As Jesus said (Matt. 5:27) even if we only lust in our hearts we are guilty of adultery. To be good enough would mean to be perfect. Since God doesn’t grade on a curve you could be 99% perfect and 1% imperfect you would still be 100% guilty. God’s righteousness demands perfection. Think for a moment. Do you find perfection in yourself? Have you ever? Do you always? This is why we must rely on Jesus to save us. In Him alone we find perfection, forever and always. He kept all of God’s laws perfectly with not even one sin. Since we are not without even one sin we must rely on God’s grace. As the Bible tells us, we are saved by grace through faith not because of our works. Not only can our good works not save us, but our bad works cannot exclude us. We bring nothing to salvation, but the sin that makes it necessary.

What does “Never Bad Enough” Mean?

The other side of this scenario is the attitude that some people have done such bad things that they are beyond God saving them. They are ineligible to be saved it is believed. Some people get so beaten down and so hard on themselves that they give up and believe that God would not save a person like them. Sometimes we Christians can be so condemning. Forgetting about God’s grace. This self-righteousness can be seen when comparing others to ourselves and to other people. Forgetting that we all fall short of God’s requirements. Remember, except for Jesus, we are all 100% guilty before God. If anyone was ineligible to be saved by God it would have been the Apostle Paul who was guilty of murdering Christians. Yet, in the book of Acts ch. 9 during the very time he was seeking out Christians with deadly threats, Jesus saved him. Not only did Paul go on to write most of the New Testament, but he was killed because of his service to Jesus. No one is ineligible for salvation because it is by God’s grace not of our works whether those works be good or bad.

As we consider both sides of our lives, the good and the bad, remember God’s grace in our own lives and as we share Jesus with others. Remember these two basic points 1) You can never be good enough to earn salvation since it is of God’s grace and 2) You can never be bad enough to be ineligible for salvation since it is of God’s grace. God’s grace in salvation is that all who believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross taking punishment for their sins and then rose from the dead will be saved and have eternal life with God.

Meditate on the implications of God’s grace in Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV)

Praising Him,

Mark

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