Thursday, June 18, 2015

Grace, Faith, and Salvation

Chuckle: While a woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of its container, the phone rang. So she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. "Mommy can't come to the phone right now. She's hitting the bottle."
Quote: β€œIt is not faith and works; it is not faith or works; it is faith that works.” –Unknown source
"For it is by grace you have been saved through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).
"Faith is the attitude whereby a person abandons all reliance in his own efforts to obtain salvation, be they deeds of piety, of ethical goodness or anything else. It is the attitude of complete trust in Christ, of reliance on him alone for all that salvation means" (New Bible Dictionary).
"What then shall we say? That the Gentiles (non-Jews), who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works" (Romans 9:30-32 NIV).
From the beginning, it has been God's intention for us to do good things for other people. However, we must understand that good works do not earn us a right standing with God. This can only come when we accept God's free gift of grace, salvation, by placing our complete faith and trust in in Christ. Once we have placed our faith in him, he makes us new creatures whose very nature is to do God's work. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).
Please take another look at the definition of faith in blue above. There you will see that faith unto salvation is an attitude of total trust in Christ, and a reliance on him alone. This faith leads to repentance of sin and acceptance of God's forgiveness. Once we have been born again and transformed by God's Holy Spirit, we will be motivated to work for him through service to others. We will understand that ". . . we are God's workmanship (masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).
We become Christians through God's unmerited favor (grace), not as a result of any effort, ability, or act of service on our part. Because our salvation and even our faith are gifts of God's grace, we should respond to him with love, gratitude, praise, joy, and selfless acts of service.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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