Reverse Order

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

Getting ahead in life is generally based on your performance. In sports it’s all about the numbers you put up. Other professions may be less intensely quantified, but in virtually every walk of life success is largely determined by performance.

Achievement precedes position. That’s why it’s so common to hear people say things like, “I earned everything I’ve got.” We’re all about relative performance. That’s likely why so many people, including professing Christians, believe you can get to heaven by being good enough to earn your way in. In fact, all the major religions of the world—except one—are focused on “doing” things to earn acceptance with God. Only Christianity stands apart, focused on what’s been “done” on our behalf by God.

Reread the passage above. The basis of Christianity is that you can’t be good enough to get to God.  Instead, God by his grace, made a way for our shortcomings to be atoned for by sending Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins. We owed the debt, but he paid the price. Salvation is entirely God’s gift to us. We can do nothing to earn it or achieve it.

We are to do good works, but the order is reversed. That is, we don’t do good works to earn acceptance with God, but instead we are to do them in gratitude for his grace freely given to us. That’s the message of the next verse, Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Thank God for his grace by doing good works.

Do you understand that you can’t earn your way to God?  Have you placed your faith in Christ for the forgiveness of you sins?

Having begun as a guest speaker in 2005, Dan was appointed Interim Pastor in 2008 and has been serving Maple Root Baptist ever since. As a small group leader and Chaplin for the Connecticut Tigers, Dan has a heart for the lost and the God that saves them.

Dan Kinnaman

Pastor, Maple Root Baptist Church