Daily Devotionals

Stages of the Cross: Week 4 - Tuesday

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8

Who was the last person you bought a present for? Can you imagine if that person opened their present from you and then offered to pay you for the present? I certainly can't! That would never happen because then that gift would no longer be a gift. Offering to pay for a gift is also insulting to the gift-giver. In a way, doing this takes away that person's joy in giving you the gift. The same principle is true of our salvation. It is a gift that cannot be earned, and attempting to earn one's salvation must be hurtful to God, the giver of salvation.

The apostle Paul writes about salvation in Ephesians 2. In this chapter, Paul teaches that God gives believers new life in Him (verse five). He explains that God brings salvation to believers when they place their faith in Him (verse eight). This salvation, he says, is not a result of anything we have done, so there is no room for arrogance (verse nine). You see, salvation is a gift from God. We do not deserve it, yet He freely gives it when we believe in Him.

Sometimes, it can be tempting to think we can earn our salvation by doing good things, and by being generally good people. Scripture makes it clear that we cannot do anything to achieve eternal life with Christ. To try to earn our salvation is like trying to pay Christ back for His sacrifice on the cross. It does not work, and it makes light of the infinitely high price Jesus paid on the cross when He gave His life for our sins. He paid the highest price so that He could offer us salvation and life with Him forever. Are you trying to earn your salvation or prove that you are worthy of your salvation? My friend, Jesus paid the price so that you do not have to. Rest in His salvation today.

Moving Toward Action

As you process what you are learning today from Ephesians 2, think about one of your friends or family members who is far from Christ. Tell them what you have learned and discovered in your Bible study today. Tell them that salvation in Christ cannot be earned because Christ already earned it for them because of His death on the cross.

Going Deeper

Read Ephesians 2:1-22 (NLT)

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were 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 we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 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.

Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.