The memory verse this week is Ephesians 2:8-9. Below, you will find it in the King James Version. Feel free to pull out your own Bible and read it in your favorite translation. (*)
- By grace –It is a free gift from God—something I didn’t earn and couldn’t have earned. Grace comes from God's love to those who are profoundly undeserving. An easy to remember explanation of grace is: God’s riches at Christ’s expense.
- You have been saved – I’ve been released from penalty of spiritual death. (Romans 6:23) I would have lived a life far from God, without Christ’s sacrifice. Christ died once to save me from God’s wrath. His blood covered my sin, and imparted his righteousness.
- Through faith –I believe Christ died for my sin, was in the grave three days, raised to life by God, and now resides in Heaven at the right hand of the Father. I am righteous before God. My righteousness was obtained through Christ’s work on the cross.
- Not of yourselves—Don’t we love to boast about what we’ve accomplished? It would be nice if we could win eternal life by doing good works—as long as we were better than “a lot of people,” we would be safe. I didn’t do anything to achieve salvation. I am sinful and unable to save myself. No amount of good works accomplished it. It took the sacrifice of the perfect Jesus Christ to pay for sin.
- Gift of God—There is no greater gift. No one could give me abundant, eternal life except God, who is eternal.
- Not by works – As I said above, I am unable to do anything to obtain my own salvation. Salvation is a free gift. Good works are a natural consequence and evidence of a life close to God. As I am transformed into the image of Christ I am drawn to do good works, prepared for me by God. (Ephesians 2:10)
That’s my memory verse. How many gifts of such value have I received absolutely free? How many gifts were given freely, without the preface, “You were so kind” meaning I’d earned it. Or the warning “Be good” meaning I needed to earn the right to keep it. There was no Santa Claus watching to see if I was naughty or nice. Was there ever a gift I didn’t earn or feel I needed to earn? On the contrary, the free gift of God came at a time when I was anything but good. I was a willful, disrespectful, prideful, sinful child who didn’t even know enough to ask for this precious gift of salvation.
God saved me by his perfect grace and I believe him. I can’t take credit for this, because salvation is by his grace.
(*)Read the translation you want. Yes, there are misleading translations, but I believe most disagreements about Bible translations are the enemy’s attempt to cause division in the body of Christ.