• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Gift of God

Grace“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.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV)

A Christian must never forget that he was not saved from sin – and the consequences of sin – by his own efforts. Salvation is all of Jesus Christ, who brings us to life in Him through the grace of faith.

Human arrogance leads us to think that our own good efforts will win the final approval of God. So, practically, we base our salvation on “comparative” good works. I use the word “comparative” because we tend to compare ourselves to others and not to God’s Holy standards. We begin to think that God owes us something because we believe that we have accumulated more good deeds in our “salvation-by-works bank” than our neighbor has. Self-righteous feelings about our good works would have us look down on our neighbors, even though Scripture clearly teaches, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Self-righteousness destroys the doctrine of grace as it is taught in the Scriptures.

Some believe that by accumulating great knowledge of the Scriptures they will be saved. This too, is a form of pride in works. Even demons know more about God than us, yet their punishment will be everlasting. We must be born again to enter into the kingdom of God. Faith and understanding are gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit opens the Scriptures to the understanding of our minds. We study the Word of God because it contains the words of salvation. We should not make studying the Bible a goal by which we earn some kind of merit. We read God’s Word because in it we find life and wisdom.

Should we boast of belief in Christ as the grounds of our salvation? Does this thought cross your mind? “I am saved because I chose to believe and my neighbor is not saved because he refuses to believe.” Our pride seeks the credit for why we go to heaven and our neighbor does not. This is not trusting in Jesus as our Savior. It is trusting in my “trust” in Jesus. Our good deed of “trust” becomes the basis of salvation. Saving faith is not a work that we conjure up by our own efforts. It is the gift of God. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to our lives that we may be saved by His perfect obedience to God the Father.

“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.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV) We are sinners, and yet we have been saved by grace. We are not righteous, yet we have been freely given the righteousness of Christ. We have no grounds on which to boast in ourselves, yet we may boast in Christ. The mercy shown to us by God’s grace is as beautiful as it is wonderful. Therefore, let us boast in God. Christians should rejoice each time this great gift comes to mind.

Samuel at Gilgal

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