Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (NASB)
I enjoy walking through forests, especially old ones, which are rich with sounds and smells. I tend to stick to the paths that I know. Sometimes, however, I may be on a favourite path that I have followed many times, but get myself turned around and find that I'm on an offshoot of the trail that I have never followed before. The familiar is now unfamiliar, the landmarks are all changed, and all of a sudden, I feel disoriented in a forest that I thought I once knew well. I went astray, but how did it happen?
In our spiritual lives, we can be led astray, too. It may be through sins that we had once renounced. Concerns of the world and daily life may have made inroads. The prince of the power of the air is at work, even if we didn't notice. The desires of the mind and body make themselves evident, and now, we are paying more attention to everyone else around us than to the Lord who saved us. It's easy to lose our bearings!
The wonderful message of Scripture is that, even when we are dead in our sins, because God is so merciful and loves us all so very much, He makes us alive together with Christ. We are saved by His grace, even to the point of being raised up and sitting beside Him in heaven with Christ Jesus. Why would God do this? Without measure, He shows the riches of this mighty grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.
The powerful teaching of today's verses from Ephesians pins us to the wall: we are sinners by nature. Others around us aren't the standard by which we are judged; God is, because He is sinless. When we live out that sin, we lose ourselves in it and follow it on every trail that it leads us on. However, there is a big price tag on that life: death for the soul. How amazing it is that God loves us still, having sent His Son to serve the sentence that we deserve, dying so that we can live!
What is God's grace? Picture a huge reservoir filled with strength and protection. God has enough grace to pardon any sin, solve every problem, and answer every question. If we are in Christ, our sin doesn't define us anymore; His grace is our new identity. Here is the choice: we can think like the world does, or we can think like God thinks. What we decide determines the trail that we walk on, and where we will end up.
Prayer: Dearest Lord, thank You for Your great mercy in reaching out to us when we go astray, and by Your grace, restoring us to fellowship with Yourself. As You walk with us on the trails of our lives, keep us on track and following You. Amen!
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Listen while you read: "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" (Lyrics)