Does Grace Nullify our Effort?
Ephesians 2:8 – Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next
to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea,
and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s
gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d
probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make
nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us
by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten
ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
If the above is true (and I strongly believe it is) then if it is all God from beginning to end, doesn’t this make us lazy, sofa hugging Christians who sit back at best and at worse Christians that constantly sin with the back drop of knowing God will forgive us? I think if we truly understood the depth, height and width of God’s love it would have the dramatically opposite effect.
Imagine for a moment that you are in a boat with a friend and you are in shark infested water, the sharks are beginning to bite chunks into the boat! You are relatively near shore but you are not going to make it, your friend says to you I am going to jump in the water and while the sharks are attacking me that will give you enough time to get to shore. As you make it back to the shore line and the tears well up in your eyes you take your shirt off and decide to go for a paddle and swim back in the very water where your friend sacrificed his life to save you. I hope we see the illustration that Christ has sacrificed himself on that very tree so that we might avoid eternal death, how foolish would it be to simply jump back into the sin that he saved us from.
This illustration falls down somewhat in the suggestion that it is even our gratitude that then keeps us from sin, it is God’s continued saving power that keeps us from beginning to end, his lavish grace. All we do as the above translation suggests is let him do it, yield to him and trust that it is that good.
If you are a Christian it is not your self effort, not your continued bible reading, your prayer life, your evangelism, your church attendance, your winsome personality, your gift at speaking, your ability to get things going because if it was any of those things then we might be tempted to boast or feel defeated either way neither path is the right one. The only way, the only path is Christ.
God wants to shower his grace upon you, to lavish, to pour himself out for you. It is understand this and absorbing this that is the root and key of all else. Are you exhausted trying yourself? Are you tired in your Christian journey, has the joy been sucked out of life then you need to return to him and gaze upon his wide open arms saying “It is finished”, rest in him. Enjoy him. Grace doesn’t nullify our effort it inspires it!
Leave a Comment