Examples of Grace

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we 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 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.  –Ephesians 2:4-10

I have been excited as I have read and prayed the passages in Ephesians.  Paul has shared a lot in the first two chapters about who we are in Christ.  As we saw in Ephesians 1, we are spiritually blessed.  God has been so kind to us.  Now in chapter two, Paul continues to tell us about who we are.  I am not sure about you, but for me these words really bless me.

God loves us so much.  He saw that we were dead in sin/wrong doings.  We were so busy chasing the things of the world, living our own lives with no thought about God.  He loved us even then.  God loves others that are still living in sin and in the world.  He wants them to know about his grace.

Grace is simply God’s favour without regard of who we are or what we have done. God’s grace is usually associated with his love, compassion and patience.  God’s grace is what saved us.  It is only by God’s grace that we have been saved!  God’s loved us so much that He gave His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us.  Christ’s blood cleanses us and makes us new from the inside out.

This grace not only saved us but gave us a new life.  We died to sin and Christ rose out of the ashes to be one with him.  Because of grace, we are united with Christ as brothers and sisters.  Therefore, we are seated with him in the heavenly realms!

I had not noticed verse 7 before, until today. “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.”  First, we are examples of God’s grace to those we meet.  People who knew us before we got saved should know that we are different people.  If Christians lived the way God desires them to live and are truly changed, then they show the love of God to those around them.  It has been said often that 99% of non-Christians watch and read Christians and how they treat others, how they talk, and how they live.  Our lives tell the story of Christ.  Christians literally means- Christ like ones.  Sadly, it is said most believe that people are not Christians because of how they live.  I find this verse a challenge to us.  Our lives should be an example of Christ so others may know God’s love and grace.  I pray God will allow us to be changed from the inside out and make our lives radiate and ooze God’s love and grace to all we meet.

Also, as I think upon this verse, I think of those who have passed on to glory whose lives still speak out to us today.  There have been several in my lifetime that I can name who have made an impact on my spiritual life just by being who they were.  They were close to God in their relationship with him and they radiated God’s love to those they met.  Do you know of anyone like this in your life?  If so, take time to thank them and encourage them.  These people are a blessing.

Moving on to verse 8.  God saved us by his grace when we believed.  We can’t take credit for this as it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done.  The first thing one must do to be saved is believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  We need to believe He died on the cross and rose from the dead.  We also need to recognise we are sinners (ones who have missed the mark, who live away from God, disobey God’s rules, not holy) and we need God.  God saves us when we call upon him and apologise for our wrongs and give him our lives.  There is no magic prayer for salvation. We just need to simply tell God that we are sorry, we want to live right and we want him to take control of our lives.

Doing good works is not going to get us into heaven.  There are lovely people who are not saved who do great works.  They are always helping others, polite, gentle and really what Christians should look and act like.  The difference is there is no relationship with God.  Salvation brings us into relationship with God.  We then choose whether or not we are going to continue to stay in that relationship.  Works are good, and yes, we should do them after we are saved.  Works will flow from us because of our love of God.  However, works alone is not enough for salvation.

God tells us we are his masterpiece. When we come to him and ask him to be the Lord of our lives, he creates us as new people in Christ Jesus.  He desired this to be a long time ago.  When we come to Jesus and are saved, we are totally made new.  Just think of this great promise!  We are new creations.  We are masterpieces!  We are united with Christ!  We will sit with him in the heavenly realms!  God points to us as an example of his grace so others will see and come to know Christ.   What a privilege!  What an honour!

I hope you are as excited as I am about who we are in Christ.  God is so good!

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