“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
“Amazing Grace” is a Christian hymn that has been performed and sung all over the world. The lyrics provide an insight into the meaning of the grace of God. The writer, John Newton, who was a slave trader, encountered the grace of God after a lifetime of a despicable career. On a return trip from one of the islands, John Newton sang these lyrics. As the storm grew and became unbearable, the ship was on the verge of sinking. Until this period in the life of John, in his thinking, he did not have any need for God. His mother had taught him about God and His faithfulness, and his life took a completely different direction. This lifestyle was indeed that of a wretch, but yet still deserving the mercy of God.
This storm became the cornerstone of his deliverance. He was saved from the storm and delivered from a life of sin by the amazing grace of God. I have met many people that still struggle to accept that our salvation is by the grace of God alone (Romans 3:24). The God of the bible is chiefly attracted to the sinners. The redemption we enjoy is a gift to us from Him. The only qualification in our salvation is our helplessness to save ourselves. For every believer, the first serious conversation they have with their pastor is that of salvation. But this also becomes the most significant issue of misunderstanding and dissatisfaction.
Brother Luther brought about the birth of the protestant movement on the anchor of this same issue. The church was so clergy and wealth-centred that it dismissed the truth of the word of God. People believed that they could pay God to save themselves and their family members who died. However, when the reformation took place, the church was once again scripture centric. The watchwords of the protestant movement were “ Grace alone; Faith alone; Scripture alone.” This remains the order of God’s salvation.
The Overwhelming Love Of God
God has made it His business to take the initiative and reach out to us before we reach out to him (John 6:44). The parable of the debtors in Luke 7 correctly highlights our bankruptcy when pleasing God with our works. We can not purchase or earn salvation; it is a free gift from God. Once we receive it, the emphasis remains on what God does through us and not what we do for God. A boy once asked a preacher, “ Sir what can I do so that people can be saved?”. The preacher, with a smile, told the boy, “ Son, you’re too late, Jesus already did it 2000 years ago. All you can do is accept His grace through faith” (Acts 16:31).
The grace of God trains us to live sensibly, to be self-controlled, to live our lives righteously as we conform to God’s standards (Titus 1:8). The grace of God is the single most important miracle in any life. A thief becomes a pastor only through the grace of God. We can only boast of God’s love for us.
King James Version (KJV)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
New International Version (NIV)
“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.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”
New American Bible (NASB)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
English Standard Version (ESV)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
The Living Bible (TLB)
“Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it.”