Posts tagged ‘Faith’

Ephesians 2:8-10 – Salvation by grace through faith

Paul presents a very clear presentation of the Gospel in these three verses. He include grace, faith, salvation and even good works. He doesn’t leave any doubt that salvation is not anything we can earn but a gift from God.

v.8-9,“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Obvious these are very familiar verses and most believers have memorized them. I prefer the version I memorized as a child NIV: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Paul is repeating himself from v.5 and elaborates on it by adding the two words I underlined. He says “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.” “Grace”, again is God’s kindness towards undeserving humanity without them having merited it by their actions. God was not required to offer sinners salvation. He would be justified in condemning all people to eternal separation from himself.Salvation is a personal act from a personal God to sinners. “Grace” is the method by which we are saved. So the means by which salvation is appropriated, the means by which we are brought into a saving relationship to Jesus Christ, is “through faith.” We are save by grace though faith. There is a total absence of any consideration of merit. The source of our salvation is the grace of God. And the instrumental cause by which that salvation is appropriated is faith. “You can’t take credit for it” or in the NIV “this is not from yourselves” is referring to the idea there is nothing we as sinners can do to save ourselves from spiritual death. Another way of saying this is “not on the basis of works you can do.” Paul adds this phrase just incase anyone thought “faith” was a necessary work that people must perform in order to receive salvation. He uses the words “this” and “it” to refer to all of he has just spoken of … “saved”, “grace” and “faith.” They are“not from yourselves” and are a “gift of God.” Paul is very clear that nothing is of our own doing, not salvation, not grace, not even faith that is exercised to receive salvation, everything is a “gift of God.” And to make sure the believers understand what Paul is saying he adds “salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done” or in the NIV “not by works, so that no one can boast.” Paul wants the believers to realize they can do nothing to earn their salvation, and a person’s faith itself is not to be considered a “work” or a reason why anyone “can boast.” Paul was including in the the word “works” the “works of the law” which he refers to in Rom 3:20 and Gal 3:10. The believers needed to know that there was no effort on their part to earn their salvation, even obedience to the law. And if they were successful, their efforts would lead to boasting, bragging and spiritual pride which Paul wanted the praise to only go to God (Jer 9:24) not to man.

v.10,“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Paul doesn’t want there to be any misunderstanding as the believers read these verses so he adds one more affirmation here before moving on to the next topic. Paul has already stated that salvation is not the sinners achievement or a reward for anything we can do or have done. Here he goes one step further to leave no doubt. He states “we are God’s masterpiece”  can be translated “we are the result of God’s activity.” Paul is talking about salvation and new life are God’s work, humans didn’t cause it but are recipients. Salvation is God’s masterpiece, work or art, new creation. If we could earn our own salvation we would not be a work of God, we would be a work of our own selves.“He has created us anew” is important language because only God can create. He created the universe from nothing (Rom 1:20), now he creates old, dead, sinners into new, alive, new creations (2 Cor 5:17). This new creation take place “in Christ Jesus.” This new creation is based in Christ’s resurrection, he is the source of this creation. “So we can do the good things [good works AMP] he planned for us long ago.” Sinners become Christians through God’s undeserved favour (grace), not as a result of any efforts, merit or acts or good deeds. Even though no good work can help us to obtain salvation, God’s wants our salvation to result in acts of “good works”, service or kindness to serve Christ and build up the church (other believers). Good works don’t produce salvation but are the evidence of salvation (Jam 1:22; 2:14-26). “He planned for us long ago” meansGod had prepared a path of good works for Christians to do even before we were born. These good works will be done along life’s way while believers walk by faith. This means that God does a good work through us (not we do it for him) as we are faithful and obedient to him. Everything that is good that is done through us will be recognized as his work and not our own.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? We were sinners, spiritually dead and doomed for eternity without God. God extended his grace toward us to save us from our sins and eternal separation from God. And he accomplish this through his Son Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, without our help. Salvation was a gift from God (including God’s grace, our faith, and Jesus’ sacrifice). There is nothing we can do to save ourselves, not even our own faith—it is also a gift from God. As well Paul wants all sinners to understand that salvation is also not a reward for anything we have done because he doesn’t want us to have pride in any part of our salvation. It is only from God through Christ! Lastly Paul reminds the believers that salvation or new life in Christ is God’s masterpiece, work of art and produces good works in us which God had prepared before we were born. All the good that is done through us will be recognized as his work and not our own.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  There is more to salvation that just “getting saved.” Though accepting Christ into my life is the beginning of my life as a believers, that is not the end. I must realize that God has created me to live a life of faith that is demonstrated in good works. That is serving my fellow believers at church. That is serving those in need, the poor. And being kind, loving, supportive and giving to anyone in need. My good works should be the outcome of my salvation, not they are my salvation!

June 21, 2020 at 6:45 AM Leave a comment

Ephesians 1:15-16 – Paul’s prayer of thanksgiving

Paul concludes this chapter with a prayer for the Ephesian believers. I am going to break the prayer down into three parts: v.15-16: thanksgiving prayer, v.17-19: intercessory prayer and v.20-23: praise for God’s power.

v.15-16,“Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly.” Paul starts his lengthy prayer for the Ephesian believers by writing “Ever since I first heard…” which could mean Paul had heard a good report of the Ephesians believers’ growth in their faith. Because the letter could have been read among the other churches in the area Paul wanted all believers in the area around Ephesus (not just the church he planted) to know how thankful he was for all of them. He wanted them all to know he was remembering them in his prayers. “Faith” is not saving faith (Paul already knew they were all believers he was writing to) but better translated “faithfulness” or “trustworthiness.” They were faithfully serving God where God had planted them and Paul heard about it. This faithfulness was done in the name of “the Lord Jesus” and done for their “love for God’s people everywhere.” True believers are faithful to Christ and love their neighbours. They know that the best way to show love for Christ is to show love for their neighbours. Jesus even says these are the two greatest commandments in Matt 22:37-39 “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.” Paul wanted the believers to know he had “not stopped thanking God for [them]” and that he was praying for them “constantly.” Paul prayed for the believers, not once in a blue moon, but constantly. He prayed for them by name, he interceded on their behalf, he thanked God for them. He truly was a prayer partner for them! He was on his knees for each of them each and every day even while in prison.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Prayer was the lifeblood of Paul. Even though he couldn’t be in-person with the believers he was constantly praying for each of them. He was so thankful for them that he wanted them to know how proud he was for their faithfulness to Jesus and their love for all the believers everywhere. He also wanted to spur them on by letting them know he is constantly on his knees before God almighty praying for them.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  If prayer is important to Paul it definitely needs to be important to me! A while ago I purposed in my heart that when I told someone I would pray for them I put them on my prayer list and started praying for them and continued to…in Paul’s words “constantly.” Because of COVID-19 I can’t be with the congregation of my church, so more than ever I am on my knees before God praying for them.

June 4, 2020 at 8:54 PM 1 comment

A lesson almost gone wrong

I was trying to teach Faith a lesson on how to treat others’ property. She had smashed our screen door out of anger then after being put on the naughty chair started hitting the chair and screaming.You say, no, not Faith, she’s an angel. Not all the time!

Anyway, I sat her down on her bed after she calmed down and was explaining to her it isn’t nice to smash anything, especially things that don’t belong to you. Then I said “Mommy & Daddy don’t have enough money to replace the screen door if you broke it!” Without batting an eye lash Faith said “you have money in the van, Daddy.” I had to think about it, but finally I said that it was only some change in the van, not enough to pay for a new screen door. Thankfully she accepted that.

July 9, 2013 at 6:32 PM Leave a comment

Faith’s birthday & Canada Day 2013

As you all know by now on our street and in our community we have a huge celebration for Canada Day that ends with fireworks. We are so thankful for great neighbours that like to work together to have fun. This year we had our celebration on Sunday, Jun 3o so that we don’t have to get up early the next morning to go to work. Good call.

The night before we painted the Canadian flag on the street like we do every year, this year we made the flag a bit bigger. It’s always fun painting the street with my neighbours.

Also we celebrated a special birthday for Faith as well. She turned 5. We had over all our friends and family that we love so much. Many of our close friends weren’t able to make it this year but it worked out great with Denita and her family coming over and DJ and Caitlyn. Faith just loves these guys. Hopefully next year we can have all those over that couldn’t make it. I guess I need to get the invitations out much earlier next year.

De-Ann outdid herself again with BBQ’d ribs, souvlaki and cupcakes for dessert. Everything was delicious. Each person brought over a salad and some dip, also delicious. Faith had her very own special cupcake with candles in it and everything.

Everyone gave Faith very special gifts. She rec’d a tent with finger puppets, necklace, bracelet and a ring (which she immediately put on and didn’t take off until she went to bed), word search and princess puzzle, and from us her very own bike (with training wheels). Unfortunately Faith wasn’t as enthused about the bike as I was but eventually she warmed up to riding it after DJ and I lowered the seat. It wasn’t until today (July 1) that she actually really rode it, but that’s another story and post.

This year our street was full everyone who lives on the street (almost everyone) invited their friends so we had more people on the street then every before. There was even some dancing going on, Faith and Shawn even got into it. I learned Faith and Shawn are quite the dancers, unfortunately.

It was so great to have other streets from our community join us for the celebration, especially at the end when we lit off the fireworks. Another great job by our organizers Ryan and John. Can’t wait for next year. Enjoy the pictures below.

July 1, 2013 at 9:17 PM 2 comments

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