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Thought for the Day by Dave Howarth (Lead Pastor Holy Cross Church)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2.8-9)
We sometimes use the phrase, “credit where credit’s due.” If “you have been saved” (v8), who gets the credit? Let’s see this afresh.
Being “saved” is more than forgiveness. It is deliverance from the death, slavery and wrath the author recently said were ours (2:1-3). Indeed, salvation includes the totality of our new life in Christ, together with whom we have been made alive, exalted and seated in the heavenly realm (2:4-7). So there is nothing more precious and wonderful than being saved. But how did it happen?
See verse 8. “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith.” Grace speaks of God’s free and undeserved mercy. The only necessary contribution from us is “faith”: the humble trust with which we receive it for ourselves.
Paul presses this home: salvation “is not from ourselves, it is the gift of God.” We did not make salvation happen for us. We are not “self-made people”. Salvation is God’s free gift to us. See verse 9 again. Salvation “is the gift of God – not by works.” Salvation is not a reward for any of our deeds, religion or philanthropy. It is God’s gift to us. Salvation cost Jesus everything. It costs us nothing.
All this is “so that no one can boast” – except, of course, in Christ:
Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress, Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly: Wash me, Saviour, or I die.
Rock of ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in thee.
Credit where credit’s due.
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