You Can’t Earn It - Forward with Back to the Bible - March 26

You Can’t Earn It

Read Ephesians 2:8-9 (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.

Reflect

Is there any way to earn your salvation?

We love our accomplishments, don’t we? We love to strive towards a goal. We love to revel in the glory of our own achievements. We want to raise a trophy above our heads and shout, “Look what I did!”

But the most important thing is life is something that we can’t earn. Our salvation. No matter how hard we try. We can do endless acts of service in the name of the Lord. We can fast until we pass out from low blood sugar. We can pray before all of our meals and first thing when we wake up and before we fall asleep. We can have perfect attendance at church. We can dutifully check off a daily Bible reading plan. And those spiritual disciplines are good!

Spiritual disciplines are necessary for growing and deepening our relationship with God. But our salvation is not a result of those works. In today’s passage, Paul reminds us that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Grace means undeserved favor. God is offering us a gift that we do not deserve but instead accept in faith. We place our faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ rather than placing faith in our works.

But some people still cling to legalism. In Galatians 2:21, Paul responded to those who were preaching a false gospel of salvation by works. He said, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” If it were possible for us to earn our salvation, then we wouldn’t have needed Jesus to die in our place. His death would have been senseless!

Friend, you can stop striving. Salvation is not an accomplishment. Christianity isn’t a contest. There is no room for boasting or bragging. Jesus died for us because we couldn’t save ourselves. Let us never nullify the grace of God trying to prove ourselves righteous and worthy of salvation. Instead, let’s humbly accept the free gift of God.

Pray

Jesus, I know that there is nothing I could ever do that would be enough to earn my way to You. I humbly accept Your free gift of salvation by Your grace. I place my trust in what You did for me on the cross and not in what I can do for You. Amen.

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Originally published March 26, 2021.