Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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This is not from you; it is the gift of God

This is not from you; it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

Paul is emphatic: we have been saved by grace, not by our own efforts. If we could have saved ourselves, Jesus would not have had to die for our sins.

So how are we supposed to understand the interplay between God’s grace and our efforts? First, it’s essential for us to believe, as Paul writes, that we are saved by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8). Second, we need to recall Paul saying, just two verses later, that God calls us to do “good works that God has prepared in advance” (2:10).

I think Paul is referring to something more than individual acts of kindness or service here and there. He is speaking about a way of life. He is telling us that we, who were saved by grace, must respond to God’s gracious gift. And the best and only response we can have to this gracious gift from God is to try to be just as gracious as he is by doing benevolent works of service for people in need.

Paul goes so far as to say that our benevolent works are “prepared in advance” by God (Ephesians 2:10). In other words, we may think that our desire to reach out to someone in distress arose in our minds by itself when it actually came from the Holy Spirit.

God has put a desire for us being kingdom people of character and benevolent works on everyone’s heart. But all too often people believe they are too busy to help. Or they believe their help won’t make much of a difference. The sad result is that there are still many people who are not getting the help they need.

Don’t let that happen! Resolve today to give back to the Lord through works of service. This is the perfect time to visit the sick or the elderly, to give to the poor, and to reach out to the wounded and prisoners.

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