Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
Have you ever been able to tell someone some good news? It feels great, doesn’t it? I was able to be the bearer of good news to someone this week, and it was a lot of fun.
Someone had heard about our upcoming trip to Israel this fall and wanted to surprise one of the worship leaders at their church with a gift: an all-expense paid trip to come with us to Israel.
The donor of the trip wanted to remain anonymous and asked me to call the recipient to tell him about the gift. When I made the call, this worship leader was overcome to the point of tears, unable to believe what he was hearing. He had told me before that he desperately wanted to come with us, but it would take a miracle.
When I told him his miracle had just happened, he asked, “Are you sure they wanted to give it to me? I don’t deserve it! How could I ever pay them back?”
I told him he didn’t have to pay it back. It was a gift. He didn’t even have to deserve it. All he had to do was to receive it. If he wanted to go, all he had to do was say, “Yes.” Through tears, he said, “Yes, I want to go!” And now, he’s on his way!
Moments like these help me to understand God’s gift of grace a little better.
When God offered me the gift of grace, to forgive me of my sins and give me the gift of eternal life, my reaction was much like this worship leader’s: “Are you sure He wants to give it to me? I don’t deserve it! How could I ever pay Him back?”
But God’s gift of grace was just that―a gift. I didn’t have to pay it back. I didn’t even have to deserve it. All I had to do was receive it. If I wanted to be forgiven, saved, born again and given a new life―both here on earth and in heaven forever―all I had to do was to receive it by faith. Through tears, I said, “Yes, Lord, I believe.” And now, I’m on my way!
The Apostle Paul gave a beautiful description of how all of this works in his letter to the Ephesians. He wrote:
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions―it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith―and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God―not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:1-10).
Paul reminded the Ephesians―and us―that God’s grace is a gift.
You may feel like you don’t deserve it, that your sins have pulled you down too far to receive God’s wonderful gift of grace. But that’s exactly why God sent Jesus to earth―not to condemn you for your sins, but to free you from them, inviting you to live with Him forever.
If you’ve never received God’s gift of eternal life, it can be yours today. When your faith touches God’s grace, the transaction is complete. Eternal life becomes yours. It’s a gift that really is meant for you.
Prayer: Father, thank You for loving me even though there are times when I’m sure I’ve been unlovable. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done wrong in my life, and I want to thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. and help me to live my life for You from this day forward. In Jesus’ name. Amen.