Most people quote Ephesians 2:8-9 for doctrinal purposes. And that’s not a bad thing. I took a survey one time about how crucial certain doctrines are to Christianity. One of the questions was “How crucial is the doctrine of salvation by faith alone?” I put, “Not crucial at all, salvation is by grace.” And all the Reformed said… Amen!
It is important to remember that our salvation is by God’s grace, and nothing else. But I fear that I have been conditioned due to verses 8 & 9 being quoted so often to think of them as one thought, not fitting with the rest of the passage. So it hit me like a spiritual 2 x 4 the other day when I saw the thought flow of the passage up until that point, and then took Ephesians 2:8-9 in that context. Before continuing, you should read Ephesians 2:4-9.
What Paul has been explaining is why God did what He did when He saved us as sinners. First Paul tells what He did, then why He did it. What He did: God made us alive when we were dead in our sins. God raised us up from death and seated us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Why He did it: So that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace toward us.
Why did God save me? God wants to show me off in the ages to come. God wants to be able to point and say, “Look at that. I did that. That’s my handiwork. I saved that sinner and transformed Him into what He is now.” God wants to parade me in front of… well… maybe angels or… do we really fully know what God is going to do in the ages to come?
In light of the fact that God is going to be the One doing all the showing off in the ages to come, we now have this reminder. It is by grace that we have been saved through faith. Not by anything we have done so that we would boast. We are His workmanship. We are the work of His hands. Even the works that we do, God ordained that we would accomplish those works so we don’t even get the credit for those. God gets all the credit. God gets to do all the showing off in the ages to come.
Come to think of it, I would rather have God pointing at me, parading me around, and bragging about me than having me doing the pointing, parading, and bragging. That’s tough because I’m so good at bragging. If God’s grace is going to win, I have to lose. The ages to come… I wonder…
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman