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. Ephesians 2:8-9
As we celebrate Easter/ Resurrection Sunday today, it is good for us to remember that this whole plan of redemption and salvation for us is God’s doing, not ours. He is the One who made the sacrifice to bring us to reconciliation, and it is His grace that gives us faith to trust in Christ for forgiveness of sins. While all of humanity seeks to fulfill “self” and live independent of God, our Lord seeks to bring people into a relationship with Him out of His great love. (Romans 5:8) Our faith in Jesus Christ is a result of His grace, not our efforts. So what does that mean in how we live? If we meditate on this truth with any intensity, it should produce great gratitude and humility in each of us; qualities the Lord greatly desires for us! As people of faith in Christ, we should go through life thankful that our God loves us despite our sinful ways, and truly humbled knowing how unworthy we are of this relationship. We should also remember that if the Lord will do this for us, He will do if for others as well. We should never lose hope that our Almighty God can save anyone by His grace, transforming the most difficult of people into a humble and grateful soul. Since we have received this gift so freely, we are to offer it to others openly and freely as well. We need to “pay it forward” since we have been blessed in such a wonderful and unmerited way. Do we think of this when we interact with other people? Do we consider that God loves them and He may want us to be the one who brings this “good news” of God’s love to them? This is what the “ministry of reconciliation” is all about as recorded in 2 Corinthians 5: 11-21. Living with these truths before us gives us a great purpose to live for God’s glory and to bless others in His name. We will then fulfill the two great commandments of loving God and loving people! (Luke 10:27) By God’s grace, we can all do this. Will we?
Pastor Gary Houdek