But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)... God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:4, 8-10
Without Christ in our life, we are spiritually dead and the object of God’s anger. “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God... By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else” (Ephesians 2:1-3). Then, from our text God motivated by His love, extended mercy to us and allowed us to be delivered from His wrath by grace, through faith. He chose to make salvation possible by His mercy and grace. He handed salvation to us. We did nothing but to stick out a hand and accept the gift. Faith is exactly that; trustfully accepting from God what He has provided. Faith is giving up on being able to provide what we need for ourselves and letting God give what He alone can provide. We have done absolutely nothing to earn salvation by being or doing “good.” God’s plan of salvation by grace places all humans on the same footing so that no one may boast or to have a pride to personal accomplishments. God has done it all. Now that we have appropriated the gift by faith, we became His children. We now stand on display throughout eternity and we will be recognized as God’s “masterpiece.” This was not a result of effort or labor. It is a result of artistic skill and craftsmanship of the One who saved us. If we could earn salvation by our own good works, we would not be a work of God but a work of our own selves. That cannot be and will not be. We were created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God determined before we were ever born. God has prepared a path of good works for Christians which He will bring about in and through them while they walk by faith. This does not mean that we do a good work for God. It means that God does a good work through us. Since God is at work we are to be faithful and obedient to Him. We trust God that through our lives, His work in us will bring praise for His glory. “So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).
Noel De Guzman