By, Benjamin H. Liles
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV
If as the Message says it this way, "Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role," then we have no real way of boasting about the salvation we receive from the Father. Primarily, it is, we receive salvation by faith in His grace He will accomplish His own desire and will. I say this for two reasons:
1) God tells us that "When I speak, what I say is fulfilled. The words I utter accomplish the desire I so have. They are not empty, they will come to pass" (Isaiah 55:11). Well, when Jesus told the disciples, and everyone else as well, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19, English Standard Version) he said it in truth and in sincerity. When after Jesus the Messiah was crucified, did He not come back to life through the resurrection? Of course He did. He accomplished (God's word spoken finding fulfillment, see Isaiah 55:11) what God sent Him to do.
2) Without God's intervention on our behalf no flesh will be saved. Paul wrote to Titus, "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). Another way of saying what Paul is to Timothy is, "The mercy we obtain isn't our idea, it is God's, so that no one can boast in their works."
Don't get me wrong, I do understand we all work toward and for something. Our salvation isn't one of those things. Either we commit ourselves, our lives, and our hearts to Him on the matter or we cling to those things which we think we can easily hold on to. So, how do we do this? How can we accept this idea of "the gift of salvation through God's grace and our faith?"
To begin with we need to notice God's act of redemption is to cleanse us from unrighteousness. In the Old Testament when a person touched something unclean--blood, fluids, certain foods--that person became unclean. In Isaiah, we see something new: God has an angel touch Isaiah's lips, and Isaiah becomes clean (see Isaiah 6:6, 7). Later, when Jesus came, every time He cleansed someone, or even healed someone from disease, they were purified; He didn't become unclean or become defiled because of our filth. So, the matter at hand is we can approach God, through the Son, by faith. He'll take care of our informities.
The other part is that when Jesus came to accomplish the Father's will (going back to Isaiah 55:11 here), the Father was showing Him--Jesus, the Son--where His healing ministry was going. It wasn't going down the drain. By going to the cross Jesus put the powers of sin and death on display. Recall where God spoke to Adam saying, "And I will put enmity [hatred] between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Genesis 3:15, New King James)? This was fulfilled when the Messiah's blood was shed. He struck the serpent's head, and the nail through Jesus's heel was struck by the serpent (it is an analogy).
Therefore, the best thing we can do is to have faith He can separate us from our sins and death, transferring from Himself salvation and righteousness thus allowing for us to be something newer, better. But we have to put off sin and it's deeds. It means repenting, which is having a change of mind, turning away from what we once did before. Paul said, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Look, new things have come" (2 Corinthians 5:17, New Heart English).
If by some chance this article has helped you come to Jesus our Messiah, and you do believe in what He has done, tell Him. I know it's some times better to have someone pray with you, but more often than not God desires to hear you profess your faith and belief that His Son, Jesus, set you free. Let Him know that you desire more in life, to be made new. Thank Him. Find a station on your radio that plays Christian music and praise God for the work He's done. Lastly, find a church that you know is firmly grounded, that teaches solid biblical truth. Praise God! You are now finally His. I am glad to know that you are His child. God bless you and may His face shine towards you always.