SALVATION BY GRACE
While we were yet sinners Christ died for us, this is because God is rich in mercy and great in love. While we were in that state of sin, He loved us. He made us alive together with Christ. The underlying factor is salvation by grace. The text tells us that this is the work of God. It is He who has raised us up together and made us to sit in heavenly places in Jesus Christ. The verbs used tell us that it is God alone who takes the action and we are passive.
The purpose of the bestowal of grace is thus stated in Ephesians 2:7: “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Grace is defined as the free and unmerited love and favour of God, the spring and source of all benefits that men receive from Him.
The description in Ephesians 2:8-10 of how God shows His favour makes these words the key part of this whole book. This is also a reference that featured prominently during the Protestant Reformation. The Church of Rome had added to grace salvation by works. The reformers stressed sola gratia, i.e. grace alone. The text states clearly, “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” In this, there is no way in which Rome can justify their version of grace “plus works.” Mandatory confession of sins to a priest and doing good works were assumed to secure forgiveness of sins. The sale of indulgences or forgiveness tickets made salvation nothing but a commodity that could be purchased easily with money. These practices are a total rejection of salvation by grace alone.
Being created in Christ Jesus refers to one’s second birth which is obtained in Christ. This brings with it the power to do good works as the natural outflow of salvation.
THOUGHT: Our God is a God of all grace.
PRAYER: Lord, may I always cherish the gift of Thy love.