ACCEPTING GOD’S GIFT
In Ephesians 2:1-10 Paul begins by reminding us of our state if we have not experienced God’s grace that has brought us to salvation through Jesus Christ. We are dead in our sins, spiritually dead without a relationship with God. Regardless of what our society thinks makes a person good or bad we are dead in our sins. There was nothing we could do to change our situation of being spiritually dead. It was only when God moved on our behalf by the kind intention of His will through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ that we were made alive from our dead state. And so Paul says in verse five that by grace you have been saved. The beautiful love story of a Holy God reaching out to sinful humanity is summed up in the word grace.
The phrase “by grace you have been saved” is in the perfect tense expressing a completed action, continuous and permanent in its results. The word grace in the Greek is charis, coming from the root char meaning well-being. The Greek word for gift is charism and so we can see the relationship between the words in that grace is indeed a gift and a gift is indeed an expression of grace.
Grace is simply God’s bestowal of His infinite love. It can never be earned, it is impossible to get it from any work a person can do. What grace does is to strip men and women completely of pride. It is impossible to have pride when one realizes that it is a gift, totally given to them without doing anything to deserve it. Once we are able to see the relationship between grace and gift we are able to identify God’s grace much more clearly than before. When we sense the blooming of a friendship where none existed we realize it is a gift that God is working in that friendship. When we receive a word of encouragement or an actual gift we are able to see this is where God’s grace is present with us.
In verse eight Paul says that grace is a gift, in verse nine he says it is not a result of works. We can’t seem to believe this, so we try by our works to meet God’s standards. The more we try the larger the vision of our failure to fulfill God’s requirements grows, leading us finally to appreciate grace. Our part in salvation is simply faith, turning to God with a real sense of our need and receiving what He offers through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Martin Luther saw faith as the “marriage ring” wedding us to Christ. Grace has already taken care of the marriage but faith is the ring that says we do accept God’s gift of salvation.
About Rick McDaniel
Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through www.highimpactchurch.tv. McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of six books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.
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God is in the business of fresh starts, new beginnings and resurrected dreams. He has a comeback prepared for you. You can experience a powerful turnaround in your life. Your present situation is not the final word on your life. No matter what the setback – you can have a comeback.