By Jeff Cloeter
But God . . . even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4–5 ESV).
It’s hard for me to receive gifts. Why? Because then I feel indebted. I don’t want to owe something to anyone. I want to deserve what I have. My pride would rather work for a paycheck than take a handout. Grace is a counterintuitive concept for us to grasp for this very reason. Grace is quite simply a gift.
To emphasize that grace is entirely a gift, Paul wrote, “But God . . . even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4–5 ESV). Even when. Even when you had nothing to give him. Even when you were anything but deserving. Even when you were embarrassingly ignorant of him. Even when no amount of work could earn his favor. This is when he made you alive in Christ.
Paul shares a similar sentiment in Romans 5:8 (ESV): “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He died for us not on our best day but on our worst day. In our biggest mess-ups, with our most shameful secrets, in our most miserable failures—that’s when God gave us the gift of grace.
What do we do when God gives a gift we didn’t pay for? We cannot repay him, but we can live a life of grateful praise and service. We live our lives as a gift, generous praise for our God, who loved us “even when” we didn’t deserve it. Then, with the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we pass on this “even when” love and grace as we serve others, together as Christ’s Church.
Prayer: Merciful Father, subdue my pride. Soften my heart to receive your gift of grace. Help me offer the same grace to others as part of your living Church. Amen.
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion comes from one of CTA’s latest resources, Together: Living as Christ's Church. This devotion book and digital teaching tools come together to form a five-week experience that will encourage your worshipers to see how God is bringing everything in this world together. God sent Jesus for us, and he sends Jesus into the world through us, living as Christ’s Church!
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