”For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2.8-9
it is by grace. Not because of grace. Not with grace, but by grace that you have been saved. Past tense. You have been saved. This is a letter written to believers after they have met with the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul’s writing to them about the grace with which they have been saved.
And this grace, Paul continues, doesn’t come from their own good intentions. It’s not something one can generate and then produce readily in ones’ life. It is “a gift of God.” Now God offers many gifts but is there any greater gift than grace? It’s not a works-based offering, so we can brag about our own good deeds. It is God-given.
Eugene Peterson in The Message, puts it this way —- “Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (TMG, Ephesians 2.7-10).
I love what Peterson says, “God does both the making the saving.” He does this in us as well if we allow him to do a work with our sin, our self and our souls.
As we travel towards Lent, and strive to have faith within this world of outbreaks, virus’, wars and conflicts, we remember that God’s gift to us, his grace, overcomes all fears, anxieties, diseases and difficulties. God’s grace is not only greater than our sin, it’s greater than my situation – whatever that might be.
So why not take this very moment to lean in to the grace of God? Cling to him, fall into him, find grace by faith in the one who not only died for you but did so willingly for your sins and mine.
“O Lord God, you are good. In my fears, you conquer death. In my worries, you send rest. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with our power and love. Help me know the strength of your love and the depth of your grace. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen