For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)
Grace has to be one of the greatest words in the English language especially for those of us who needed to be saved, which frankly includes all of us. The Apostle Paul, master teacher of the Jewish law and traditions, came to the realization that the salvation he longed for could only be found by faith in Jesus Christ. This salvation came by grace and grace only.
Of course, this is counter intuitive since most of believe in some deep dark place that we must earn our way into the grace of God. Heaven and the good life awaits the true and faithful–those who work hard to earn their way in. Countless religious movements prey on this false notion of earned salvation and pile on the guilt and shame in hopes of controlling and manipulating the masses to follow “their rules and rituals” to experience the good life, which sadly leaves a bitter aftertaste.
This morning, I awoke to the news that I have been saved. Boy, did I need saving. Left alone I can make an absolute mess out of my life and can contaminate the lives of those closest to me like someone with a contagious deathly disease. I knew I was a sinner, especially in secret though outwardly I had learned how to play the part of a good boy.
Jesus saved me from myself and my sin. He accomplished it at the cross and by stepping out of the grave alive and well to offer me and others like me the opportunity to return to the garden and once again walking in the cool of the day with our heavenly Father as His sons and daughters created in His image. I believed. Jesus saved.
However, before you accuse me of being a preacher of “cheap grace” I also embrace that I am now His workmanship “created in Christ for good works.” Yes, the children of God work for the advance of the Kingdom of God and for good in the world. We work not to earn love and grace, but rather because we are deeply loved fully forgiven. Love inspires, motivates, empowers and moves us to do good day in and day out not to be noticed but rather to make a difference in the world, especially for the least of these who cross our paths. Grace without transformation is not grace it is a theological lie blinding the eyes of those who prefer “acting” saved rather than being saved.
So today embrace grace. Enjoy being saved, and live like the sons and daughters of God–do something good for others.