By Grace

For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~Ephesians 2:8-9


            It is said that grace is the reality that sets Christianity apart from all other religions of the world.  All other religions call on humans to work and labor until they please a god and earn favor and life.  Christianity declares that humans can never do this but that God reaches out to us instead.  God sent his son.  God paid the price of our sins.  God offers forgiveness and eternal life as gifts.  These gifts are received by faith and not by works.  Christianity is unique in this belief.

            To have faith is to trust with good reason.  We have good reason to believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead.  We have good reasons to believe that he paid the price for sin.  Faith is expressed when we respond to these truths by turning from sin to Jesus.  We simply give him our loyalty and receive his gift of forgiveness and life.  We are saved because God is gracious!

            The trouble is, we humans naturally and easily slip back into working to gain God’s favor.  We slip back into laboring for his love.  When we do, we begin to feel the burden of earning our place and knowing that we can’t do it.  We begin to grow weary and may even begin to resent God for his rules!  We begin to live with fear and guilt when we slip back into earning our place with God.

            Has the Christian life become burdensome?  Has freedom in prayer and worship vanished?  Has the Bible become a huge list of failings?  If so, it is possible that personal effort is displacing grace!

            In these times it is important to go back to the beginning and to remember that our relationship with God began on his side and comes to us from him.  We are saved by grace – undeserved favor.  We receive this by simple faith and not by working or by perfecting ourselves.  If Christianity seems a burden, return to the beginning and remember that salvation is by grace received through faith.  This continues to be true until the day we are at home with the Lord.  Rest and have peace knowing that HE has paid the price, paved the way, and that you are safe in his freely given favor if Jesus is your Lord. 


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