Saved By Grace Ephesians 2:8

What Does Saved By Grace Mean?

Growing up in church, I heard the phrase “saved by grace” a lot. It was passed around so much that its meaning in my life became muddled, almost like not being able to see the forest for the trees. But this scripture from Ephesians 2:8 is the very basis of our Christian faith. So in this short devotional, let’s reexamine this verse to find the true meaning of it in our lives today.

Let’s start by reading this life-changing verse…

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. 

Ephesians 2:8-10 New King James Version

Grace vs. Works

The topic of faith versus works has been hotly debated since the Apostle Paul his letter to the church at Ephesus over two thousand years ago, making it one of the most controversial scriptures. So let’s put this debate to rest.

The Holy Bible is clear, grace is the free gift of God, given to us because we believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. It is only through Him that we can have forgiveness of sins. We’ve heard this many times before and we know it in our hearts.

But sometimes we get caught up in doing the work of the church. There are an unlimited number of opportunities to serve. Bible studies, potluck dinners, children’s church, choir, clothing giveaways, the list goes on and on. It’s enough to make your head spin! With all of that work, it’s easy to feel like we’re earning our salvation. But no matter what we do, we’ll never be able to earn grace. And we definitely can’t outwork what Jesus did for us on the cross!

However, even though good works don’t save us, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do them.

Ephesians 2:10 says that we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works” and James 2:17 states that “faith without works is dead”.

So if we can’t work our way to salvation, what does that mean? Simply faith and works go together. You can’t have one and not the other. If we have the Holy Spirit within us good works should come naturally. While faith in Jesus Christ gives us salvation, our works are the fruit of that faith.

Because of what Jesus has done for us, we should have a sincere desire in our hearts to do good works. We can make a huge impact on someone’s life through our faith and our works. When they see us, they should see the Holy Spirit within us. Our good works should be a light so bright that they can’t help but see Jesus!

James goes on to speak of Abraham’s willingness to follow God’s instruction to sacrifice Isaac.

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“Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” 

James 2:22 NKJV 

The footnote in my New King James Study Bible says “Faith produces works; and works makes faith perfect.” Just like Abraham, our faith will be made perfect by our willingness to follow the will of God in our lives and through our good works.

Knowing that we can’t work our way into heaven takes a lot of pressure off. We don’t have to push ourselves to exhaustion working until we drop or pretend we’re perfect, knowing we’re not. Instead we can just be still and know that God is in control, listen for His instructions, and follow His will. And rest assured that God has given us the free gift of grace simply because I have faith in His Son.

We will never be able to live up to the selfless example Jesus set for us on the cross. But we can show God’s love and grace to an unsaved world through our faith in Jesus and our love of doing good works in His name. So when we get caught up in the busy day-to-day work of the church, let’s remember where our salvation truly comes from and give credit to the Savior of our souls!

The Brilliance of God’s Grace

Ephesians 2:8-10 also gives us a beautiful picture of grace, comparable to the way a magnificent jewel radiates against the backdrop of a dark cloth. This contrast not only accentuates the brilliance of God’s grace, but also underscores the unique and precious nature of this gift in our sinful nature.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—  among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV

Here we see the reality of our sin and wickedness, painting a rather grim picture of sin separating us from God that creates a chasm so deep it seems insurmountable. Yet, it’s against this very darkness that the light of God’s grace shines brightest.

By Grace by Master's Hand Collection

The Glory of God’s Rich Mercy

As we continue reading God’s Word, we witness the transformative power of grace, a gift so profound it lifts us out of our despair and delivers us into God’s love.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-7 New American Standard Bible

This is where our story takes a turn and the beauty of God’s rich mercy becomes a beacon of hope that shines down on us, leading us out of despair and into His glorious light.

Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead, we’re delivered from the shame of our sins and blessed with the gift of salvation, not as a reward for our deeds but as a testament to the boundless love and grace of our Father. His divine hand reaching down to rescue us is a transformative journey from death to life, mirroring our Savior. God’s grace is the lifeline we need that not only saves us but redefines our existence and urges us towards a path of righteousness for His glory alone.

Our Role in God’s Plan

God’s Word reveals that we are not just spectators in the victory of Jesus, but active participants in His great design.

Through the grace of God, we become recipients the gift of grace, salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, not by our own doing but as God’s gift. But this is just the beginning of our journey. Let’s read God’s plan for us again.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 NIV

We were created for good works! They are the fruit of our faith that show the world who we are in Christ. And they are the evidence of our transformation and a testament to God’s grace at work within us. In performing these good deeds, we’re not seeking to repay God’s gift but to become a mirror image of Christ Jesus, the chief cornerstone of our faith. By doing this, we show a lost world the truth of salvation and the eternal life we’ve found in Jesus Christ.

Transformed Lives: A Testament of God’s Grace

Imagine standing before God and asking to enter heaven. Your only ticket in is your works. Would they be good enough to save you?

Many people live trapped in the relentless pursuit of working their way into heaven. They falsely believe that being a good person or doing good deeds will get them there. But the profound truth in Ephesians chapter 2, verse 8 clearly points to the only way to heaven. This passage is more than just words, it’s a revelation of God’s immeasurable grace through Christ Jesus. I’ve heard stories, time and again, of people carrying the guilt of sin, desperately striving to be seen as good people through their own deeds. Yet, when they grasp that the plan of salvation is a gift of God and not a result of works, the unparalleled transformation in this next scripture begins.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 

Ephesians 2:19 English Standard Version

Once we put our faith in Jesus Christ and accept this amazing gift of grace, our lives are transformed. We are no longer separated from God. Instead, we’re members of God’s household, his beloved children.

We no longer have to strive to be “good enough” because we are covered with the blood of Christ, completely washed clean from our sins and shame.

The Cornerstone of Grace

Once we’ve been saved by grace our story isn’t over. As a child of God, we’re called to live a righteous, upright life that reflects God’s saving grace. The Holy Spirit, our constant companion, empowers us to live out our new identity in Christ, guiding us along the path of life and encouraging us along the way.

The Apostle Paul used the metaphor of a building to teach us more about our newfound faith.  Let’s read this encouraging verse…

built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

Ephesians 2:20 New International Version

Early Christians, the apostles, and Old Testament prophets laid a firm foundation of faith that set an excellent example for us to follow. But their faith was built on the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ. He is the very center of Christianity and every building block of our is laid in alignment with Him.

I truly pray that this short devotional will help you embrace the new life you have in Jesus, not as a result of works, but as the beautiful outcome of God’s grace. He has so many good things in store for you! So, together let’s thank God that we have been saved by grace!

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