DEVOTION FOR MONDAY, JANUARY 8, 2017
SALVATION IS BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
The movie Amazing Grace tells the story of William Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery in England. The title comes from the famous hymn by John Newton, the slave ship captain converted to the Christian faith. When he was set free from sin, he realized he could not continue in the business of human bondage. Throughout the movie, the themes of physical and spiritual slavery and freedom are inextricably intertwined.
Real freedom, salvation in Christ alone, comes by grace alone through faith alone (vv. 8–9). Today’s verses are a classic statement of how salvation works. Grace means God’s unmerited favor, or more strongly, His love, kindness, and forgiveness all wrapped into one. Though we were helpless, not to mention deserving of judgment, He acted in grace to rescue us. Our faith in Christ is ultimately a gift from God as well, so there’s no reason to boast or take any credit. Our efforts played no role whatsoever in our salvation (see Titus 3:3–7).
“For you are saved by grace through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-10
Our salvation is entirely God’s doing. This gives us even more cause for praise, because we’re His “handiwork” or work of art (v. 10). As a living work of art, our purpose is to “do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Good deeds cannot save us, but they reflect God’s purpose in creating us. They serve as evidence that we have passed from death to life, that our salvation is genuine, and that God’s grace is full of power and richness.
It’s all part of the guaranteed certainty of God’s plan of salvation. If any of it depended in any way on anything human, we would be at least uncertain and likely doomed. Since it doesn’t, we can rejoice that our redemption—even while in process—is already an accomplished fact!
APPLY THE WORD
The hymn “Amazing Grace” was mentioned at the start of today’s devotion. Why not sing it as part of your time with the Lord? The lyrics are readily available in hymn books and online. They remind us: “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see. . . . ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”
Today in the Word is a production of Moody Global Ministries
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