We all know that God’s grace is amazing, but do we truly understand the depth of its power? Through the story of the Apostle Paul, we see how God’s grace can transform even the hardest of hearts. Action steps: Reflect on the areas in your life where you need God’s grace, and ask Him to reveal His power to transform you.
sustain us in the complexity of our humanity
as you sustained David–
playing the harp of youth,
throwing stones at giant problems,
loving our friends beyond wisdom,
breaking our hearts in psalms, and
longing for warmth in our old bones.
Scripture: Ephesians 2:8-9
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.
Friends in Christ,
God invites us to hold the needs of our sisters and brothers
as dear to us as our own needs.
Loving our neighbors as ourselves,
we offer our thanksgivings and our petitions
on behalf of the church and the world.
Prayers of the People:
Hear our prayers, God of power,
and through the ministry of your Son
free us from the grip of the tomb,
that we may desire you as the fullness of life
and proclaim your saving deeds to all the world. Amen.
Today, I want to share a message with you that comes from the book of Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 8-9. The Apostle Paul writes, “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.”
My friends, these words are a powerful reminder of the central message of the gospel – that salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, received through faith in Jesus Christ. It is not something that we can earn or achieve through our own efforts or good deeds. It is a gift freely given, out of God’s love and mercy for us.
But this message can be a difficult one for us to accept. We live in a world that values achievement, success, and self-reliance. We are told that we need to work hard, be strong, and pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We are bombarded with messages that tell us we need to earn our way to heaven, and that we are only worthy of God’s love if we live a certain way or do certain things.
But the truth is that we can never earn our salvation. No matter how hard we try, we will always fall short of God’s perfect standard. We will always struggle with sin, and we will always need the grace and mercy of God to save us.
This is why Paul emphasizes that salvation is not from ourselves, but is a gift of God. It is not based on our works, our achievements, or our merit, but is based solely on the love and grace of God.
So what does this mean for us? First and foremost, it means that we can rest in the assurance of our salvation. We don’t need to worry about whether we are good enough or whether we have done enough to earn God’s love. We can trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross, and know that we are saved by grace through faith in him.
But this message also has implications for how we live our lives as followers of Christ. If we truly understand that our salvation is a gift of grace, then we should be motivated to live lives of gratitude and obedience to God. We should strive to honor him in all that we do, not because we are trying to earn his love or approval, but because we have already received it as a free gift.
And we should also be motivated to share this message of grace with others. There are so many people in our world who are striving to earn their salvation, who are burdened by guilt and shame, who feel like they will never be good enough to receive God’s love. But the message of the gospel is that they don’t have to earn it – it is a gift that is freely given to all who believe in Jesus Christ.
So my friends, let us cling to this message of grace. Let us trust in the love and mercy of God, and let us live lives of gratitude and obedience to him. And let us share this message of grace with others, so that they too may know the joy and freedom that comes from receiving the gift of salvation.
May God bless you and keep you always.
you call us into a rhythm of work and rest
that our lives may be the better for it.
So shape our leisure and our labor,
that the world will recognize us
as Jesus’ disciples
and our ministry
as what you would have us do. Amen.