Over the last few weeks I’ve been blogging about the importance of grace in the plan of salvation. Paul continues with this theme in the 2nd chapter of Ephesians when he writes, “For by grace you have been saved trough faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no on should boast” (v.8, 9 NASB). The word “for” is illustrative of the fact that we will one day be illustrations of God’s grace for all of eternity. The word “saved” in the Greek language is in the perfect tense. The perfect tense in the Greek language communicates the idea of action as a finished product or a permanent state as the result of a past action. We have been “saved” because of God’s grace that has been extended to us. We have been signed, sealed and delivered by grace.
The only appropriating agent in salvation is faith and even that is not of ourselves. Faith is even another remarkable gift from God. Salvation is so absolutely an act of divine grace that the power to realize it individually is also a free gift. “Faith” speaks of the instrument or means whereby the sinner avails himself of this salvation which God offers him in pure grace. “Faith” should be understood as turning to God with a sense of need or weakness and a willingness to receive what God has offered through His Son, Jesus Christ. When we place our faith and trust wholly in Christ we are like a beggar receiving alms. There is nothing we can bargain with and there is nothing we deserve but God’s wrath. The whole initiative and every aspect of the making this salvation available to us is of God’s grace. Do you know the gift can be present for a long time before it’s ever opened? My favorite detective TV show is “Monk”. Shortly before Monk’s wife Trudy was killed by a car bomb she had given him a Christmas present. Monk has never opened that Christmas present. There are many today who know all about God’s Christmas present but they have never opened it and received it for themselves.
One reason many don’t open this present and receive it for themselves is they think they’re good enough without it. But notice the second part of this verse, “not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (v.9 NASB). You see if we’re going to be object lessons in God’s grace for all of eternity (v.7) then it can’t be about our works or our righteousness. Neither salvation nor the faith that brings it is the result of human ingenuity or effort. The greatest stumbling block that keeps people from receiving the gift of salvation is pride. But if we’re in heaven because of our works, that would lead to extravagant boasting. But what Paul says in the 6th chapter of Galatians when he writes, “But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Cremember hrist,” (v.14a NASB). Salvation is so completely an act of divine grace that the person who refuses to accept it on God’s terms will perish. No one can boast before God, since all are admitted only on the grounds of grace. So my question to you is have you received and opened this most incredible gift that is offered to you by grace? If not, what are waiting for?
For God’s Glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo