Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

God’s Gracious Gift

Christians enjoy a special gift called salvation. This salvation is about forgiveness of sins, entrance into a new life, being reshaped into the image of the Son of God, and living out the mission for which we are called. Because of salvation, we are able to taste the good word of God and the powers of the age to come (cf. Heb 6:4-6). We are tasting the kindness of the Lord (1 Pet 2:3). Through the resurrection of Jesus, we share in a living hope for an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, will not fade, and is reserved in heaven (1 Pet 1:3-4). The very idea that all of this is ours as children of God is astounding! We need to be definite in where we place the credit for salvation.

Scripture is clear about the source of our salvation from sin: “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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph 2:8-10)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).

Without hesitation, Christians should affirm that salvation is God’s gift. It is not of ourselves. It is by God’s magnificent grace that we can ever stand before Him with any confidence. Because of this grace, the Hebrews writer could say, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).

Grace is foundational to who we are as children of God. Yet there are misunderstandings. To attribute salvation to the grace of God is not to say that we sit back and do nothing while we just wait for Him to act. Rather, it is to say that whatever we do cannot merit us any right standing before God. Though we cannot ignore obedience, we earn nothing by obedience. Yet grace is more than just unmerited favor.

Grace teaches us to act out of a sense of gratefulness. It does not teach us to do nothing. It teaches us that action based on thankfulness is the appropriate response to our knowledge of what God offers. Notice what Paul says in Titus 2:11-14:

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

Paul also wrote to Titus: “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7). He then quickly adds, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men” (v. 8).

Good deeds are tied to the recognition that salvation is by God’s grace. There is no legitimate way to say that we are living according to God’s grace while at the same time ignoring God’s revealed will for our behavior. Grace is not just an idea we believe; it is a foundation for the life we will live.

Grace, then, teaches us that when we do act in accordance with what God has revealed by his grace, we could never take credit. All the credit belongs to God. All the glory goes to the Lord. Whatever we do, then, ought to be done in gratitude for the grace that God gives. It is unthinkable that we could accept the grace of God, be thankful, and yet do nothing in return. That is not even possible, for gratitude requires action. Once I know that God’s grace is on the table for me, I will either be grateful and act or I will spurn God’s grace, take the glory for myself, and perish.  

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
But to Your name give glory
Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.” (Psa 115:1)

We are saved by grace through faith. Not of ourselves; it is God’s gift. Grace is freely available. Now, what are we going to do about it? (Eph 2:8-10) Are you grateful? Will you show your gratitude by your actions?