Links Daily Devotional

Not by Works

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)

Paul’s words here to the Ephesians comprise one of the greatest, most explicit passages in all of Scripture on the exactness and beauty of salvation. Most you have heard this passage multiple times. Through it we see the love God has for his people. Paul really understood this idea and concept. He was fully aware that there was nothing he could do to earn his salvation.

Jesus doesn’t meet us en route and encourage us along regarding our salvation. Rather, Jesus finds us dead on sin’s road.I was playing golf a few weeks back with some friends and made a statement that I am sure you have heard on the golf course. After getting an unbelievable break (my ball was destined for out-of-bounds, but somehow a tree kept the ball not only in play but shot it into the fairway), I said this: “I sure am glad I did my quiet time this morning because if not, that ball would have been for sure out-of-bounds.”

While I was totally kidding (and my playing partners knew me well enough to know I was kidding), there is something suspect in that statement. It is a mindset ingrained in us and something we must battle.

The common thought in most cultures is expressed this way: “If I do good, good things will happen to me; if I do bad, then I deserve for bad things to happen to me.” Translated to Christianity, it would go something like this: “If I do good deeds, then God will bless me and love me; if I sin and do evil deeds, then God will not want to love me anymore and not bless me.”

In a performance-driven culture such as ours, it’s no surprise that many people think salvation is about doing good and pleasing others. And most people (me included) fall into thinking that Christianity is similar. If our good works measure up and they outweigh the bad works, then God will love, accept, and welcome us to eternity when we die.

This is a huge fallacy and a direct shot at what God did through his Son!

Jesus living the perfect life and dying on the cross wasn’t just part of our salvation or something that gets us halfway to God and eternity. No, Jesus’ death and resurrection provide our salvation in full. Without his righteousness, “we are dead in our trespasses and sins” and bound for an eternity in hell.

Jesus doesn’t meet us en route and encourage us along regarding our salvation. Rather, Jesus finds us dead on sin’s road. He comes all the way to us and gives us his life.

Brothers and sisters, be encouraged today. God loves you so much that he sent his Son to earth to pay for your sin, to declare you righteous through his perfection, and to ultimately call you home to glory when you pass on this earth. But be careful. You cannot earn this salvation. Both grace and faith are given to us as gifts from him and by him so that we may have peace with him and salvation in his Son’s name!

Rosson Anderson
August 2, 2017
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