" For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one mat boast." Ephesians 2:8,9 NES
The gift of God - salvation, freedom from sin through Christ's death and resurrection, joy, peace, a new spiritual family, a reason to live, a home in heaven! All these are a gift of God! and yet, how hard we "work" to get them! We often act as though, we are the ones giving ourselves salvation....by the works we are doing!
Let me be a little blunt! We often talk negatively about other groups and say "they are trying to work their way to heaven." Or we critisize one group or another for what they do! What do we do in our own lives in our own churches, adding to Christ's death and resurrection? What do I do in my own life , adding to the cross of Christ?
Did He not say, "It is finished"? I'm sure that those three words mean so much more than I understand...but when someone says, "It's done" "I'm done" or "It is finished", it means its complete! All that God was moving humanity forward to through history, was completed in Christ's death on the cross. His plan was not just for you to have a good life, but to be whole, complete in Him.
I do love traditions! At Christmas, we have ham, brussel sprouts, cooked baby carrots and mashed potatoes. On Birthdays we sing "Happy Birthday". In church, we do things a certain way! That's how we have always done it and so that's how we will do it!Christ taught us wonderful things like... give to the poor, visit the sick, visit the prisoners, help others, fast and pray... But, All in All, we are not saved by these things! We are saved by Jesus Christ! Again I say: by Jesus christ!
Ephesians 2: 10 goes on to say that we were created in Christ Jesus FOR good works, but before that it says we are not saved BY them!! Big difference!
We are sinners saved by grace, through faith, in the finished work of Christ!
That's hard to swallow!
Even me, just realizing this, in the inner most recesses of my spirit, will have to think about this for awhile.
This is phenominal - but it is True!!
Going back to Ephesians 2:4 it says," But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us.."
Jesus went to the cross, BECAUSE HE LOVES US! He endured everything " for the joy that was set before Him". That joy is when you and I accept His free salvation - His Gift - the gift of God - and become his child.
The gift of God - not as a result of works, so that no one may boast!