9 Minute Read
To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.
Today’s Bible Reading:
Listen to the Lord
Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT): “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Reflections from Scripture:
Typically, we understand that Ephesians 2:8-9 go together. Many Christians can quote these two verses by heart. But, all too often, we fail to realize that verse 10 is a part of the package. Let’s briefly look at these three verses.
In Ephesians 2:8-9, we read that we are saved by God’s free gift of grace. We cannot earn it, and we certainly don’t deserve it. It is a gift. Anything we do to try to earn salvation undermines our ability to receive it. We either receive it freely, or we cannot obtain it.
To be saved from the penalty of our sins, we simply fall at the mercy of the court. We acknowledge our sinfulness and that we have repeatedly broken God’s perfect laws. We ask for forgiveness, and that’s when Jesus steps in to pay our sin debt to the Father. It’s all grace. We can’t do anything to get saved except to simply receive it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT): “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
So how do we live the rest of our lives after we are saved by grace?
Well, of course, it continues to be by grace. We can do nothing apart from God (John 15:5). We may think, “Well, I can get up and walk across the room without God.” But, friend, who gave you those legs? Who is giving you your next breath of air? Who is enabling your body to have the energy to get up and walk rather than drop dead in the next moment? You and I cannot do anything apart from God. We are dependent upon Him and His grace every moment of every day.
But, grace doesn’t mean that we are passive. It doesn’t mean that we sit back and claim no responsibility for our lives after He has saved us. So, what should we do after we are saved by grace and as we live by grace?
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT): “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
God has saved us “so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” He has saved us so that we can serve Him and so we can pursue obedience and holiness, enabling us to be useful to Him. This is the fruit of salvation. It demonstrates that we are truly born again. But, our godly actions also demonstrate to a watching world what it looks like to follow and enjoy Jesus.
We are saved by grace, and we live by grace. But, as we live by grace, we must also realize that we have been “created … anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
So, today, as you depend upon Jesus for everything you need, spend time in His Word with the passionate purpose of obeying. Look for what God is doing around you and join Him. You have been created to follow Him in word and deed. Focus on that today.
Spend Time in Prayer
Lord Jesus, thank you for saving me freely because of Your grace and for showering me with Your grace every day of my life. Help me never to presume upon that grace. Instead, I want to make the most of my life that You have given to me. I want to study Your Word, obey what I read, and enjoy Your more. But I realize that I cannot do a thing without You giving me what I need to make it happen, so I consciously rely upon You right now. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.
Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.