Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-10
Key verses: (8-9) “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Reflection: After college, I experienced a renewal of my faith. In the Christian circles I traveled in there was a strong emphasis on choosing Christ. It didn’t occur to me at that time, that Christ had already chosen me and I had nothing to do with the gift of God’s love or grace. I remember “choosing” Christ and the heavy burden of trying to live up to and even earn God’s love. There was such an emphasis on individual choice that I began thinking more highly of myself than I should. I acted as if everything depended on me. I confess that I was a poor witness to the Gospel as I tried to win others over to Jesus. I was so certain that faith was all about human choice and good works. What I didn’t realize at the time was that long before I responded to Jesus, God had chosen me. It was not my doing. I eventually became aware that it was God who initiated the relationship and gave me the ability to respond to the love of Jesus. Looking back, I see how boastful I was in those early years as an adult Christian. I thought being saved was my decision. It wasn’t. At 26, I was ordained as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. It was under the guidance of mature Christian men and women that I began to see how self-centered my faith was. Their faithful witness about the gift of God’s grace convicted me and I was set free to truly receive God’s love and experience God’s free gift of salvation. This wasn’t easy because I had to give up my need to control, my need to choose what I was going to do for God. I was invited to discover what it meant to be alive in Christ and surrender to God’s grace and kindness. It was scary at first because I was so used to working hard to earn my salvation. When I no longer had to rely on my good works, I began to see how God was working in the world and I was invited to join in on what God was already doing. What a relief!
We live in a culture of choices. So, it’s no wonder that we struggle with a free gift of grace. It is given with no strings attached. It is the amazing gift of God. My hope is that you will experience this grace in your life and be set free.
Prayer: Lord, we give thanks for your mercy and love. Even before we are aware of your presence, your saving grace finds us. Remind us that we are saved by faith, not by works. You are the one who makes us alive in Christ and with joy we receive new life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].