What are some of the favorite gifts that you’ve received? As you grow older, you realize that the best gifts are not things but TLC – time, love, and concern from others. God demonstrated that type of love toward us by sending His Son to rescue us while we were dead in our transgressions,
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)
The Apostle Paul described the miracle of salvation in this passage. Many people view religion as what they must do to have a relationship with God. Christianity is unique – it does not consist of religious striving to earn God’s favor but it’s about a relationship with Jesus. The following verses reveals the true author of our salvation,
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
What an amazing truth! The demonstrative pronoun “that” refers to our salvation. Grace is God’s part and faith is our part. Salvation does not have its source in man, but rather in God. Paul emphasizes this point in stark clarity in his letter to the Galatians,
nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
This verse reveals that the basis of salvation is grace and the means is faith alone. This is good news since our salvation is not dependent upon our performance. It’s not a result of our works so we can neither boast or enter into self-loathing when we fail. You can rest assured knowing that your destiny is secure because of Christ’s finished work on your behalf. Without a doubt, this is the greatest gift that you can receive!
Remember that your life is God’s gift to you, what you do with your life is your gift to God. God gives us the gift of eternal life – we are to give ourselves the gift of living well for His glory.
Associate Pastor – Discipleship. The Church at LifePark
Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University
Follow me on twitter: rickhiggins5