“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” – Ephesians 2:8-9.
Good works cannot save us, and not only that, they cannot earn us God’s love. God loves us not because of us but in spite of us. We were all lost and broken. We did what we thought was right. We were not paying attention to God, but fortunately, He was paying attention to us. We did not earn our salvation. God gave us the gift of salvation.
We are wrong when we acknowledge that salvation is a free gift on one hand but then think we need to work to sustain God’s love for us on the other. Our righteousness is like filthy rags, but ironically this is good news because none of us could meet God’s level of expectation to earn our salvation. Romans 3:23 says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Jesus is the only perfect person who has ever lived. The use of the word “boast” in Ephesians 2:8-9 is not accidental. The world teaches us we have to strive to earn things—love, money, friends, status—for our lives to be valuable. We like to take credit for good works. The bottom line is we are not saved by works, we are saved for works. Ephesians 4:1 tells us “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.”
An expression you hear from believers is “I Found God” but God has been there all along. God relentlessly pursues our hearts before our first breath to our last. He chases us without tiring, trying to get us to accept the gift of salvation. He does not lose hope when we are self-centered, stubborn, or ornery. He rejoices in us and refines us when we faithfully serve Him. We are not worthy of such attention and affirmation from the Lord of Lords, but He gives it to us.
We don’t deserve the grace lavished upon us, and thankfully, that’s all by God’s design. God’s love is not up to you. Jesus loves you, period. No good deed is going to make Him love you more. No failure will make Him love you less.
When we feel like we’re not enough or like we have nothing good to offer to God, we can come to His presence and remind ourselves that He is our loving Father. His love isn’t dependent on what we can bring to the table… or what we can draw at it.
- Do you ever feel like you have to earn God’s love?
- Read Romans 6:23: How does viewing salvation as a gift change your perspective of God’s love for you?