Lenten Reader | Day 10

It Is By Grace

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

- Ephesians 2:4-10
We read from our Scripture passage that we have been freed from sin’s curse and bondage. We were dead because of our sins (2:5), but God. We were all things: dead, influenced by evil, inherently evil in our hearts, “but…God.”

God reached down to us in our degraded and rebellious state and worked a miracle. He made us alive with Christ. This is the ultimate demonstration of love, in that “while yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus paid the price of our sin so that we might be made righteous before God through Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). The power of God that raised Jesus Christ from the dead also made us alive in Christ. We who were separated from God and without hope were brought into a personal relationship with God. Our souls are no longer separated from their creator. This is all His work of grace. There was nothing we or any other human could do to change our situation.

Why did God do all this? We find that it is not because there was anything worthwhile in us, nothing even attractive, but simply because God chose to love us and that by doing so, He would demonstrate His own nature. We want there to be something special about us, some reason God was attracted to us, some good thing in us that would make Him want to save us, but there is not. Our salvation is the demonstration of His grace.

This was one reason the Pharisees hated Jesus with such a passion. They were proud of their piety, their religious accomplishments: fasting twice a week (Luke 18:12), giving a tithe of everything including spices (Matthew 23:23), keeping the Sabbath restrictions in extreme measure, etc.

But Paul reminds us that we are “saved by grace through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” We become Christians through God’s unmerited grace, not as the result of any effort, ability, or act of service on our part. Out of gratitude for this gift, our hearts should overflow with a desire to help and serve others with kindness, love, and gentleness. While no action or work we do can help us obtain salvation, God intends for our salvation to result in acts of service. We are not merely saved for our own benefit but to serve Christ and to build up His church (Ephesians 4:12).

- Eric Huffer
Father, your grace is truly amazing. Thank you for saving me by your grace because I can’t earn salvation through the things I do. Help me to do the good works that come from my salvation.