Faith is an interesting thing; however, we don’t often give it much thought. Many times, you hear people reference having faith or using faith, you hear sayings like,
“Faith is having the courage to let God have control”
Cool. Real deep.
Or maybe you’ve heard,
“Faith is like WI-FI, it’s invisible but it has the power to connect you to what you need.”
I honestly don’t even know what that one means.
So many times, we like to cheapen faith. We take this idea of trusting in an all-knowing, sovereign and loving God and compare it to a fickle WI-FI connection.
Which brings me to Ephesians 2:8-9,
“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.”
You’ve probably read these verses before and thought “yeah totally, grace and faith, gift of God, can’t boast, cool”
But, have you taken the time to really look at what’s going on here? Paul is writing to the Ephesian Church and when he gets to the second chapter, he starts to explain the gift of salvation by combining grace and faith.
THE POWER OF JESUS
We understand that salvation comes from Jesus, because of his life, death and resurrection. The Jesus’ sacrifice made it possible for us to receive forgiveness from God and the atonement (payment) of our sins.
It’s this very act of grace that reverses the deep effects of sin. Our hearts were dead and because of Jesus, we see our dead hearts brought to life. This trade for death to life can be seen in the previous verses,
- Dead in sin --> Alive together with Christ
- Sons of disobedience --> Raised up with Christ
- Children of wrath --> Recipients of mercy, love, grace & kindness
DO YOU GET FAITH?
Now that we’ve established the amazing grace of God through the saving work of Jesus, let’s talk about faith. If salvation comes to us by grace through faith, how do you get faith?
Well, I can tell you that it’s not like WI-FI that drops in and out when there’s a bad storm.
Grace is made possible due to the work of Jesus, and faith is made possible through salvation by God alone. Remember, by grace through faith.
Our response to grace is faith in Jesus; faith is the vehicle to which we receive salvation. God grants us the faith to believe and receive Jesus for salvation. This is because, as mentioned in verse 8, salvation is not a work we accomplish but a gift from God.
FAITH + GRACE
Faith and grace are a package deal for salvation. God gives the gift of grace and faith because He gives the gift of salvation. Salvation isn’t a trade agreement with God, like “hey God, you provide grace and we’ll provide the faith.”
Nope, it all comes from God.
He provides faith through grace for us to be brought from death to life. It’s the work of God alone that we can receive His grace through faith.
So, why does God give both grace and faith?
Well, we see that answer at the end of verse 9, “that no one may boast”.
That part wasn’t added by coincidence. God knows the human tendency for pride. Salvation is a divine work of God that cannot be earned through any human actions. It can’t be passed down from your parents, achieved by going to church every Sunday, or obtained by being a ‘good’ person.
If we had anything to do with our salvation, we would go around bragging about what we had accomplished. Since salvation is a work of God alone, we can brag about God alone (Romans 4:2).
GOD MADE SALVATION POSSIBLE
From the beginning, God had a plan to bring creation back to himself and that was through Jesus. Jesus came to live the perfect life that we couldn’t and then died the death that only we deserved, but that’s not it. Jesus rose again, defeating death, so that we too would experience resurrection of life.
The gospel made grace possible and God made salvation possible through faith. Jesus was our substitute; he took on the wrath of God that we rightfully deserved.
It’s because of Jesus that we are brought from death to life, by grace through faith.
God, in His providence, extends both grace and faith to us. How amazing is that? To know that we cannot earn it or buy it, but our loving God gives it to us freely.
by Emily LaGrone