Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Tell Me The Story Of Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Recently, we celebrated my daughter's birthday, and, of course, gifts were given as part of the festivities. This set me thinking about how my daughter would use the gifts that she received. If my daughter accepted the gifts and put them to use, they would become effective and helpful to her. If she rejected them and they sat in her closet, they would be useless and could not help her.
So it is with the gift of God's grace. God grants it to us, but we must accept it in order for it to work in us and change our lives. God's gift of grace freely given must be accepted by the receiver in order to become effective. In fact, there is no way that we can earn our salvation. It is only by having faith in that grace — that Christ's death and resurrection have provided it for us.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – 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. (NIV)
Many philanthropists — Christian, as well as secular — work diligently to rectify the inequalities in this troubled world of ours. They provide soup kitchens to feed the poor; they set up shelters for the homeless and people at risk of violence; in fact, there are hundreds, possibly thousands of charitable organizations operated by selfless, altruistic folks who do great good in the name of humanitarianism. Unfortunately, many, even Christians, think that they are "working their way to heaven" because they are accomplishing so much good. Instead, Christ's great sacrifice has already opened the way to heaven, and our efforts, however Herculean, are not sufficient. Rather, it is by accepting the gift of grace which God has provided through Christ that ensures our salvation. It's almost too simple, but there it is. Upon acceptance of His grace, we are brought into a relationship with God the Trinity and with the rest of the Christian community — a relationship of love, mutual respect, and a willingness to submit to the others for the common good.
Acts 20:32 – Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (NIV)
God created us as individuals with free will, and when we submit to Him and accept His grace and praise Him, we do so willingly. His gift of grace is meant to bring us into relationship with Him — the best gift ever given, but it's only ours if we accept it and use it.
Please examine what your salvation is resting on. Be sure that it is based on God's gift of grace and not on your own efforts and accomplishments. Only His grace is adequate for the task. True loving works simply flow out of gratitude for our relationship with God.
Prayer: Lord God, we thank You for Your gift of grace so freely given, and for the love that You have shown for us, Your creation. We pray that more souls will accept Your gift, thus receiving salvation and coming into relationship with You. Amen.