Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
These two verses probably are the most concise verses on salvation that you will find recorded in just about ANY version of the Bible! Now let me clarify that; I have checked numerous versions and no matter how you read it, each one says the same thing but for some reason beyond my understanding people STILL get the interpretation confused and muddy! With all the various translations, it is hard for me to comprehend how that happens and yet it does.
Now here’s the thing; I’m not an English major or anything of the sort and I’m sure there are many of you out there that could explain this verse using all sorts of grammatical formulas and equations, but to me, I just look at the sentence structure and I trust the Holy Spirit that is within me.
First off, believe it or not, there is a minority of teachers and preachers that preach that what the Apostle Paul is describing as the GIFT from God, is our faith. Well, faith is a gift from God no doubt about it but that is NOT the point he is making here. You have to apply his points to the main subject he is referring too and what is that subject? It’s SALVATION. The key word in these two verses is SAVED, meaning the subject is our salvation. Now I’m not one to always go with the flow, but I will tell you this; there are way too many preachers, teachers and theologians who believe this and take it as commonplace and standard. But today, for some reason, it is anything but. It’s like some people just have to make things more difficult than they are meant to be.
Now, before going on, my concentration in this lesson is more in keeping with the gift aspect as described by James in his Epistle. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” – James 1:17.
If you have been a Christian for even a short amount of time, you already know the importance of grace and of faith. For now, those are lessons for another time. What I want to concentrate on is this part of Ephesians, “it is the gift of God, . . .” – Ephesians 2:8c. Simple statement and it is almost translated the same in all the various versions as stated above.
So, just to make it clear again, the “gift” that Paul is referring too in this passage is the gift of salvation by grace. In all my years of walking or trying to walk with the Lord, there have been stumbles along the way, I have found there is no more amazing and no greater gift than the one that our Heavenly Father, God Almighty, our Creator, has offered through Jesus Christ! All men, because of the nature of sin, are headed to one eternal destination, the darkness and pain of the Lake of Fire and mankind deserves nothing less, EXCEPT for the fact that our loving Heavenly Father made a way through the shed blood, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ to that we also, joined with Him, might also be raised to eternal life and reign with Him as co-heirs forever. The thing about this “gift” is that God has made it available to ALL and it is free to all, as His gift to us, if we simply receive it by faith.
I love to use the following example and analogy:
God the Father has invited all of mankind to a party. This party starts when we are born and ends with our individual death. It is an ongoing, lifetime party as long as there is one person alive. At this party is His Son, Jesus Christ, and Jesus has arrayed a large table with a glorious gift spread out, one for each individual specifically. It is your personal gift from Him. The only thing you have to do, is at some time during this party, you have to RSVP Jesus by faith to receive the gift specifically set aside for you individually. You’re already at the party, you just have to confess and reply you want the gift He has for you.
The sad part of the situation is that some people become so wrapped up in the goings on at the party, they ignore the gift that is offered, though it is a very, very valuable gift. Some reject the gift, stating they don’t NEED this gift offered and then there are those who just don’t believe the gift is given freely without a catch. So, many are part of the party, they are aware the Host is there, but they are just more interested in what everyone else is doing and what other things they can get at this party that they ignore the most precious gift available to them, when all they have to do is reply that they want to receive THEIR gift.
Remember, the Father invited everyone, everywhere throughout history and this party will go on until the Father deems it is over. The gift is available to everyone even though the “party-goers” do not necessarily deserve such a valuable gift. However, because of His love for each and every “party-goer,” He has made sure there is enough of this gift to go around. It’s that simple.
Mankind, Created by God for His love as a whole has rejected and rebelled against God. Yet in His love for His creation, He has made a plan for each and every individual; individuals who will never be able to afford this gift, but because of His favor towards His Creation He gives the gift of salvation freely, through Jesus Christ Who prepared this gift for mankind as a WHOLE, and all we have to do is believe He has the gift available and to confess or state that fact that first starts as belief in our hearts!
There is no way we can earn or even purchase this gift. It has to be received freely even though there are those who would like to tell you that you have to find a way to EARN this gift! In direct contradiction to what our Heavenly Father states! Some just can’t seem to accept anything offered freely because deep down it is an affront to their pride. So in essence, many of these people try to hard to earn or purchase this gift in their own way, but they just can’t. There is nothing they have of value that can even begin to pay for it. That is why Jesus prepared it Himself and why the Father offers it to everyone so freely.
This is why the Apostle Paul spent so much of his teaching trying to correct this misconception. This is why he finished off his simple and concise statement on salvation by grace through faith with this final word, it is “not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
No one can boast of their ability to earn or purchase it. All glory, all thanks, all honor goes to God and God alone, because of the very fact that it IS through faith. It IS a gift from God and finally, it is NOT of works!
Now in closing there is only one final question; did you RSVP Jesus (confess with your mouth) and have you received your individual gift of salvation?
I truly hope you give serious thought to this! Amen!