But God . . .
Read Ephesians 2:1-10
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
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. 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.
We were dead in our sins, but God. . . . We were rebels against him, but God. . . . We were enslaved by the devil and our sinful natures, but God. . . . These may be the two most welcome words in all of Scripture: “but God.” God could have left us spiritually dead, in rebellion against him, and in bondage to our sins. But he didn’t. He did not save us because of, but rather in spite of, what he saw in us. We become Christians through God’s unmerited grace, not as the result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice, or act of service on our part. We are God’s workmanship (work of art, masterpiece). Our salvation is something only God can do.
Out of gratitude for this free gift, we can seek to help and serve others with kindness, love, and gentleness, and not merely to please ourselves. While no action or work we do can help us obtain salvation, God’s intention is that our salvation will result in acts of service. We are not saved merely for our own benefit but to serve Christ and build up the church (Ephesians 4:12). What will you do to serve others and encourage them with the marvelous truth of God’s grace?
© 1995-2014, The Zondervan Corporation. All Rights Reserved.