Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-10
Key verse: (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 results of works, so that no one may boast.
Reflection: Grace, faith – not your own doing! That is so hard to understand and to accept. Almost everything in our lives depends on our own doing. School work. Job tasks. Laundry. Cooking. Taking care of family. It can be easy to begin thinking that everything depends on us, including our own salvation.
We are saved by grace through faith. Sometimes we even turn faith into an act of our own doing. We tell ourselves to get it together, to “let go and let God,” to trust more, to believe more. We encourage other people with these same platitudes and we hope they will find faith (as if faith is lost??). I don’t think that’s how faith is understood by the writer of the letter to the Ephesians. Here faith is presented as a gift from God, given without any evaluation of worthiness or effort.
God gives us faith that works out our salvation. I don’t think this is primarily focused on what happens when we die but instead is about the quality of our lives in the here and now. Are we slaving away as if everything depends on us? Are we “dead” in sin because our lives have been flattened by our own efforts to get it right? Are we trapped in a cycle of keeping up with the neighbors? Are we caught in trying to satisfy our deepest longings with success or with possessions? Are we expecting our loved ones to meet our need for unconditional love? In Jesus Christ God sets us free and gives us new life. God has given the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:7).
Prayer: Dear God, I long for you to set me free from the ways of sin and death. Give me the gift of faith that brings abundant life, knowing the riches of your grace and trusting in your unconditional love for me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[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].