January 11, 2014
READ: Ephesians 2:1-10
The result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin (Romans 5:16).
Early in my walk with the Lord, a friend told me that as I came to understand more fully how undeserving I was of Jesus’ grace, I’d embrace it all the more. Many years later I still think about her exhortation when—on occasion—I move from acknowledging my sins and desperate need of a Saviour to wondering if perhaps I’m entitled to special treatment based on my ‘good works.’
When pride sets in and our thinking grows faulty, Scripture reminds us:
• “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
• “God is so rich in mercy and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
• ”God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (vv.8-9).
The apostle Paul described a “thorn in his flesh” that helped him deeply experience the sufficiency of God’s grace. He wrote, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
As we participate in the work of the Lord, we aren’t earning our way to heaven but, rather, are reflecting His saving grace and work in our lives by doing “the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10). —Roxanne Robbins
› Genesis 19:15-29
Read Hebrews 4:16 and note what it says we can do and experience because of our “gracious God”.
How has your understanding of grace changed over time? Why can a better understanding of God’s grace lead us to do even more good works?