For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- Eph. 2:8
Luther’s greatest concern was to find a gracious God. He wrote, “I am seeking and thirsting for nothing else than a gracious God. And He earnestly offers Himself as such and urges even those who spurn Him and are His enemies”. Early in his life, he beat himself because he saw all his sins and was ashamed. Later, Luther came to understand was that grace was a gift and an attitude of a loving God toward man. It was earned at the cross and that works are only our response to a loving God. It was at the heart of the reformation and of the Lutheran church that came out of it. Ironically, Paul, who had also been struggling under the law, also noticed that it was God who did everything. Everything that we do as good works are a response to all that God has done. Grace truly is God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. On this week of the Reformation, let us celebrate this gift.
God found us dead in our sins unable to understand or appreciate God or anything that God had done. We couldn’t do anything to save ourselves. The transformation of grace began with God’s love. There was nothing in us that made us loveable, but God is love and He looked on the people he created and He could not do anything but love us. He loved us so much that He picked us up from the doom of death and gave us life by sending His son to die on the cross for us. Satan spends all his energy trying to take this gift away. God protects us so we keep the gifts He has given. His purpose was not just to rescue us from the dump. His purpose was to keep us in salvation so that one day we might join Him in heaven. Finally, God keeps us by perfecting us that are working on our faith so that it is stronger every year of our lives. The Holy Spirit equips us with bible study and prayer so that we develop an armor that Satan finds hard to pierce. In grace, we go from infants in the faith to saints able to lead others.
There is a good reason why the verse above is so often quoted. It is the heart of all that we have talked about and it is what Luther learned that set him free. Early in his life, he tried to earn God’s grace and love. Here Paul tells us that it is a gift. Every good work that we do in life is a response to the great gift that we have in Christ. We never have to earn salvation – we already have it. We do good works to celebrate what we have so others see our God and do good works to help others and bring them closer to Him. Take time today to celebrate what you have in God’s mercy. You are no longer in the pit feeling guilty for your sin. You are a child of God who is loved by God and wanted by God. Celebrate what you have as God’s child for many have not discovered the joy of being saved by “Grace alone” Grace is what it is all about and it all starts with God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son”.