You Can’t Earn This
Hi LifeMatters faithful,
First let me introduce myself. I’m Laura, the newest addition to the LifeMatters team. Chad is at Catalyst Conference in Atlanta this week, so if you’re there too make sure you stop by the Threads booth and say hi. He’d love to meet you all and maybe see some familiar faces.
“You can’t earn this.” That’s what writer Michael Kelley wrote about Paul’s words concerning the gift of grace in Romans 5. I am repeatedly told I can’t work to earn my salvation. But no matter how often I hear that truth, whether from the pulpit, my own reading of Scripture, or God’s whisper in my ear, by nature I continually do different things and think different thoughts in hopes that I am slowly repaying God for the salvation He has already given me. Then I read things like Romans 5, or Ephesians 1-2, and am reminded—yet again—that all I can do is respond in love to this unfathomable gift. Read some of the ways Paul describes our relationship with God in Ephesians:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ; for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight” (1:3-4). “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (1:7-8). “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation—in Him when you believed—were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (1:13). “But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus” (2:4-6).
These few verses could be talked about for hours as you try to unpack all of the theology, love, promises, and hope that is in them. But two things can’t be missed: What do the bold phrases have in common? (1) They are complete, and (2) they were completed by God. All of the verbs Paul uses describe varying aspects of our salvation, and we have nothing to do with them. Our role is complete as well, as Paul writes in verse 13—”when you believed.” It is a gift, and it is finished!
About the Author
Laura Magness is an editor for Threads. She is a graduate of Samford University and Dallas Theological Seminary, and lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Nathan, and part-basset hound, part-lab, Hank.