8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."
Ephesians 2:8 - 9 has been our focus for our memory verse this week. In this verse we have learned a few things. We are saved solely through God's grace. There is nothing of ourselves or about ourselves that can save us. If we could save ourselves we would be co-saviour as Bob put it so eloquently. It doesn't matter what we do or how good we think we do it, nothing saves us but God. This verse tells us very clearly it is His gift to us. If we don't have faith that it is God's grace that saves us, we will never experience His love for us.
I spent a good part of my life not understanding this very thing. I had thought, looking through my old indoctrinated eyes, my deeds guaranteed me salvation. If I threw enough timber up, my house would be built for me in heaven. The problem in this line of thought is very clearly that would be me saving myself and not my faith and not Jesus. This also lead to me glorifying myself and not God. See what I have done to earn a spot with my Lord.
I can almost hear you saying ",Wait! So, we are not supposed to do good things?!"
If you read past Ephesians 2:9 and into Ephesians 2:10 it becomes clearer, still.
"10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."
We do good things because we are called by God to them. We glorify God when we do them. The moment we say to ourselves Look at what I have done. It is good. Who are we glorifying? We were created to be tools of God not the other way around. Isaiah 29:16 has this to say on this very thing:
16 16 "You turn things around!
Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay,
That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”;
Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?"
I struggled with this for five years. See, to my feeble mind God was a tool that would allow me to get things done. My thought process went something like this: God will bless me because I have done X, Y, and Z (my works) and then I will accomplish this, that, and the other. (cover me with blessings). I simply did not understand that everything is through His grace and has nothing to do with me. I was the clay saying to the potter through my actions and thoughts You didn't make me. I am self made. Look at all I have done without you. We are equals. My thought process was in fact worse in that I considered God the clay and myself the potter! In modern speak, it would be like thinking God was an app on my phone that I just used when I needed to get something done and the more tokens I had to use on the app the more I would get done. Crazy huh?
It simply does not work that way. Everything is through God's grace and His alone. Thankfully Jesus interceded for us so, that through Him, we could be saved and truly know God.
How do we get know somebody? Through talking with them. How blessed are we to have the Living Word of God available to us? Our bibles are just that and through them God speaks to us so that we may know Him. We speak to Him through prayer, our hearts, and our actions. Our entire walk is one continuous conversation.
May you be uplifted through Jesus and through the Word of God and in doing so we give the glory all to Him. Amen.