Words from the Heart for Monday September 19th, 2016
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
Saved by Grace
What must I do to be saved? It isn’t how good I have been, nor is it having more good acts than faults and sins. Saving faith begins with receiving Jesus Christ as the gift to rescue me from sin and death. Have you received this gift?
Located 45 kilometers northwest of St. John’s Newfoundland, Harbour Grace is one of the oldest towns in North America. Harbour Grace was an important port and fishing centre since the earliest days of European exploration of North America and was a thriving seasonal fishing community by 1550, with permanent settlement beginning in 1583 (24 years before the Jamestown, Virginia colony, often incorrectly cited as the first permanent European settlement in North America, and two years before the “”lost”” colony at Roanoke, North Carolina). In 1610, pirate Peter Easton made Harbour Grace his headquarters, and established a fort overlooking the bay. Although it was attacked by the French the following year, the early settlement survived throughout the seventeenth century, with a permanent, year-round population numbering a few dozen, swelling to several hundred during the fishing season.
The story is told of a gathering of the world’s religious leaders who gathered in Chicago in the early decades of the 20th century. The representative of the Christian faith, C.S. Lewis, had not yet arrived and the other religious leaders were discussing why Christians claimed their faith is unique. So when Lewis arrived, they asked him, and he said “I can answer that in one word – grace.” Grace is a uniquely Christian word. Every other religious system demands human effort. Only in Jesus Christ is forgiveness of sin offered freely – by grace. My favourite definition of grace is that given by Philip Yancey – nothing I can ever do will make God love me less and nothing I can ever do will make God love me more. God loves us unconditionally and He showers that love on us freely. Now grace may be free, but it isn’t cheap. God’s riches are poured out upon us freely, but they only can be because Jesus willingly laid down His life for us. Ephesians 2:8-9 puts it clearly: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eternal life is a gift and that is what makes it so certain. Because Jesus provided all we need, salvation is guaranteed and offered freely to all. Have you, by faith, taken hold of that gift? He is offering it to you today.
These have been words from the heart.