Ephesians 2:1 – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 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. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)
If there were nine or ten verses from outside of the Gospels that I would want to share with someone who was unsure of the plan of salvation, these would be the verses! Indeed, these ten verses contain the message of the Bible in its most condensed version.
Verses one through three tells us of our fallen sinful nature. The influence of the evil one is great, and when we follow our sinful thoughts and desires, we are separated from God. Indeed, we are dead in our sins, eternally separated from the giver of life. God, however, has great love for us (verse 4), and God has given us – through Jesus – the opportunity to have life, even though our sin brings death (verse 5). Just as Jesus was raised from the dead and brought into God’s glory, we will one day be able to share in that glory, as well (verse 6-7).
Verses eight and nine are particularly important to me, for I grew up trying to earn God’s favor, living life not knowing whether I was good enough to receive eternal life. Eternal life is a gift. It is not earned! No one earns a gift, if we did it would be a wage and not a gift. Verse eight makes it clear to all Christians that salvation is the free gift of God, and verse nine makes it clear that no one can earn this gift by being good enough (works).
What, then, is the result of good works? Verse ten tells us that God has created us for good works, not to earn salvation, but to point others towards God. We are God’s handiwork. I love that word – handiwork! A beautiful piece of woodwork (handiwork) created by a skilled craftsman exists to give witness to the skill of the craftsman. Likewise, verse ten tells us that as God’s handiwork, we exist to give witness to the love of our craftsman – God!
Salvation is free, but we exist to point others to God as we glorify God through our life. Let’s do our best this day to point others in the right direction!
Posted by Ramón Torres