Grace – Part 2
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:7-8 NIV)
It’s not just when we get saved that we experience God’s grace; all of God’s dealings with us after that are part of God’s grace as well. That’s the problem we have many times as Christians. We have an understanding that the blood of Jesus was a gift; and that the cross was the result of God’s grace. Then we think, “Oh, I’m saved now.” And the moment we realize that we’re Christians, many of us go back to trying to earn God’s favor. What we’re saying is that we can live the life that God wants us to live without receiving his gifts. But the whole Christian life has to be about God’s gifts every day; because God never works any other way than by grace. Everything we are, everything we have, and everything we do is by the grace of God.
Hopefully this will help someone who is struggling with self-effort today. Just fall back into God’s grace. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, “Without me you can do nothing.” That’s easy to quote but harder to live by, because human beings don’t like to acknowledge that they’re helpless. In the natural, we don’t like to wake up and say, “God, unless you work in me today, I’m not going to make it. You are my wisdom today. You’re my strength. You’re the only one who can help me make decisions. You’re the only one who can keep me from getting into a bad mood. You’re the only one who can give me patience with that difficult coworker. You’re the only one who can give me love for that person who hurt me.” We have a hard time accepting that; and then we fail and have to run back to God and acknowledge that it’s all by grace. When we realize this, we don’t boast in anything except the cross of Jesus.
If the Lord ever dealt with us according to what we deserve, where would any of us be? Everything God does is by grace, and that’s why he gets all the glory. If anything could be credited to Jim Cymbala, I’d deserve some of the glory. If I could do anything, I would be able to say, “All right. God gets ninety-eight percent of the glory, but I get two percent, because of what I did.” Let’s acknowledge today that we owe one hundred percent of our lives to God, and that all glory goes to him.
It’s all by grace. It starts with salvation—receiving Christ and having our sins washed away; and then, living the rest of our lives, each and every day, receiving God’s grace as a gift from above.
To be continued...
Read Ephesians 1:1-10.