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THOUGHTS FROM EPHESIANS

24 BY GRACE

A meditation on Ephesians 2:8

 

Such is our human condition that salvation can only be by grace. It is pointless to argue whether or not Paul's 'it is the gift of God' in Ephesians 2:8 refers to 'salvation' only or to 'faith' as well. It is quite evident from what Paul has written that everything about our salvation, including the ability to understand and believe, is the work of God.

In 1:3 we learned that God blessed us with 'every spiritual blessing in Christ'; we read of God choosing us in Christ, adopting us as his sons in Christ, according to his pleasure and his will [1:4,5,11]; we learned that both our redemption and our forgiveness are in Christ [1:7]; we read that God has made known to us the mystery of his will [1:9] and included us in Christ [1:13]. All of this, Paul says, is to the praise of God's glory and grace [1:6,12,14]. No action or attitude of ours wrought this salvation; there is nothing for which we can claim the glory. God planned it and God implemented, by the same almighty power by which he raised Jesus Christ from the dead [1:18-22].

Why did it have to be by grace? Why did it take this almighty power of God? Because we were spiritually dead, because we were hopelessly enslaved to God's enemy, and because we were totally under God's wrath [2:1-3]. We were totally incapable of saving ourselves. We were equally incapable of knowing God. We were equally incapable of believing in God [John 6:44]. There is nothing about our salvation for which we can claim credit, nothing for which we can boast [2:9].

We are, Paul teaches, 'God's workmanship' [2:10].

The fact that we exist as people who believe in Christ, is purely the result of God's work. He 'created us in Christ Jesus'.

Do I know Christ? That is the result of God's work.

Do I believe in Christ? That is the result of God's work [Matthew 16:17].

Just as our existence as human beings is the result of God's creative power, even so is our existence as believers.

Of necessity sheer gift. Sheer grace.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2011.