Our scripture text for today is from Ephesians 2! "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.10 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
It seems clear that the Apostle Paul wants us to know that faith in God through Jesus Christ is a gift of God not a result of our working for it or deserving it. This relationship of trust is not the result of our action or the reward for some sort of good things we have done. No.... salvation is a gift..... unearned, undeserved ..... gift.
But, the story does not end there! That is not all there is to the good news of Jesus!
Although faith life is not dependent on our works .... faith life takes our effort and redeems it! Living by faith takes effort! It is a gift! The effort flows from the faith that is the gift! Look at verse 10! It is an amazing piece of good news. We are His handiwork created in Christ to put forth effort in accordance with God's will in our lives.
In the stories of Abraham we have been hearing messages on this reality is played out! This amazingly gracious relationship God established with Abraham was pure gift from God to Abraham. As Abraham began to live this life of faith God called forth great effort from him. God said "Go" to a new land! Wow! that took great effort to life by faith and relocate his family!
I sense God saying to me.... almost calling me, "delton, the faith you have is a gift! Now I want you to exert your very best effort living by faith, following Me, doing what I have called you to do, the little things and the big things."
Today, I get to live in the gift of faith and exert my best effort in accordance with that gift fueled (and this is a really important part) by God's Holy Spirit living in me!