By Jeff Cloeter
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV).
The “terrible twos” reveal many terrible things that two-year-olds like to do. One of them is summed up in this phrase of fierce independence: “I do it.” Toddlers defiantly assert their ability to do things on their own. It’s time to scramble eggs and the toddler says, “I do it.” A shirt needs to be ironed and she says, “I do it.” The lawn needs mowing, and she says, “I do it.” I wonder if she’ll still say “I do it” when it comes time to buy a car or pay for college.
Sola gratia. It’s a Latin phrase that Martin Luther, the 16th-century reformer, used to describe the heart of the Christian faith. Grace alone. Only grace. In our relationship with God, grace is first and foremost. God does it. God rescued us when “I do it” was impossible.
Salvation by grace alone is a sweet revelation for those who were under the impression that they were on their own. “If I just follow all the rules and commandments.” “If I just go to church enough.” “If I just stop sinning.” When it comes to salvation before God, “I do it” doesn’t work. My own attempts to make God accept me fall short. Before the holy God, I’m left in the despair of my failure.
There are some things I can do on my own. Salvation is not one of them. Things worked out much better when I mowed the lawn and not my two-year-old. And things are better when we let the One who made us save us by grace and grace alone.
Prayer: Gracious God, your grace is so good. What can we say? What can we do? Receive our good works, not as payment, but as praise. 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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