Let’s explore one of the most familiar verses in the New Testament … Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God.”
One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 11:6 that says “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Do you want to please God? There is only one way, and that is by faith. We refuse to rely on anyone or anything else for our salvation. Someone defined faith like this – —
Forsaking All, I Trust Him. (Jesus Christ)
Paul, in the Ephesians 2 passage, tells us “by grace you have been saved.” Do you realize this plan of God began in the eternal councils of God before the world was created? In Ephesians 1:4 we read that “God chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world” and His expectations were “that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
Salvation is all of God. He is gracious, and there isn’t anything we can do to earn His grace. It is His unmerited and undeserved favor. God is both merciful and gracious. There is a great difference between the two – mercy is not receiving from God what we do deserve. Grace is receiving from God what we do not deserve. I praise God for both His mercy and His grace. We all should.
We live at a time when there are many different voices that are telling us there are different ways or roads that lead to heaven and eternal life. They would say “we are all going to the same place, just taking different roads.” I’m sure there are many people who want to believe it is true – BUT IT ISN’T. Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.”
Peter in Acts 4:12 wrote – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Folks, if we want to go to heaven when this life is over, we must come to terms with the fact that there is only One Person who can save and we need to welcome Him into our lives. That Person is Jesus Christ.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8 that it is “through faith… not of yourselves … it is a gift of God.” The very next verse (2:9) tells us “not of works, lest anyone should boast”. If we could earn our way to heaven and thereby receive salvation, heaven would be awful. Can you imagine an unlimited number of people there all boasting about how they earned their way there? It would be awful. No – salvation is totally of God and must be received by faith in Jesus Christ.
In Ephesians 2:10 Paul wrote, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
We are not saved by our good works. But the outworking of the salvation we receive, from God, should be resplendent with Good Works, as a witness of the new life, we have received through Christ. We are His workmanship. We are His special creation.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we read “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have been made new.”
Have you received Jesus as your Savior and Lord? … then you are His masterpiece. His work of art … His special creation. Peter puts it like this – “that we should show forth (display) the excellencies of Him, who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
What a privilege has been entrusted to us – that we who are truly saved would clearly let the Savior be seen in all of our living. I believe Paul summed it up well in 1 Corinthians 10:31 when he wrote – “Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.”
“Lord, as we lift you up in our lives, may others be drawn to put their trust in you. Amen.”