Verse of the Day Devotion: Ephesians 2:8
“For by grace, you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8
The Jews in Jesus’ time truly believed that by following the law completely, they would be saved. They believed that as long as they did exactly what the law required, including the blood sacrifice for any sin they should commit, they would be good enough to be saved. However, it is clear from our focus verse plus the next that this is not the case. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. We can do nothing to make right our rebellion. Salvation is through grace alone. Our works have nothing to do with it.
Unfortunately, too many live their lives as though this is still true. They go to church simply because they believe they must. They read the bible because they believe this is what a Christian is expected to do. They say a prayer before every meal and bedtime because that is a tradition they have grown up with. Also, when they think about whether they are saved, they think about what they did and do, not who they serve.
I remember a Pastor friend who was preaching one Sunday morning and he said the following which has stuck with me since I heard it. “We do not go to church because we have to, we go because we get to. We read the bible not because we have to, but because we get to. And we pray not because we have to, but because we get to.” These are things we do to fellowship with the one who saved us through His death burial and resurrection. It is not by what we do, but what He did, and because we accepted this, we GET to fellowship with Him.
Again, let’s look at what James said. “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? “James 2:14. Our works are the sign of the faith we have. If we truly have given our lives over to Him, then we will desire to do the things He wants us to. We do them not to be saved, but because we are saved. Because we truly love Him. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15. Also, remember James’s wording. “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 2:17. So, summing this all up, Faith by itself, without the works to show the reality of our faith, is not true faith. But also, works by themselves, without the faith in the works Christ did on the cross, are simply deeds alone with no reconciliation with God.
In closing, Paul lays out how salvation is attained. “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9-10. Works has nothing to do with it, they are simply the proof of our salvation through faith in Christ and His works. Let us change our thoughts if we place works as a means rather than a sign of our acceptance of the grace God has for us. Moreover, let us help those who believe works are relevant to our salvation understand what the bible actually says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. There is much freedom that comes from realizing that salvation is a gift of God we accept through faith alone.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.