Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

It Is All About Grace

Ephesians 2:5

…it is by grace you have been saved.

RayMcDI love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I enjoy hearing someone say cover Ray when I’m playing basketball and lining up for a three-point shot. Or don’t leave Ray as the person on me leaves to help double team someone else. It means someone respects my ability (as meager as it may be).

I love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I love the challenges on my Fitbit – both the personal challenges and the group challenges. I love it when this old pastor can at times keep up with the younger pastors in a Fitbit pastors group.

I love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I love playing golf with a friend of mine – we are fairly equal in our abilities (we can both play a round in the 70’s or as high as the low 90’s from time to time). When I come out on top – it feels good – I know I have beaten a decent golfer. (I sure hope my torn rotor cuff heals quickly.)

I love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I love out smarting computer opponents in card games (I know – silly – right?). I love going nil (winning no tricks) in spades. I’ll try it even if it is questionable – simply to see if I can pull it off. I get excited when I do!

Competition is fun. I like playing with players with my skill level or better – because it challenges me to do better.

Yet today – the passage speaks of grace – defined as unmerited favor. Something given to us when we don’t deserve it – something given to us when we didn’t earn it. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Ephesians 2:1–9 – 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Paul writes that we were not up to the task – we were dead in our sins. We deserved hell – punishment – condemnation – yet God offers us grace – forgiveness – oneness with Him. This is completely contrary to our competitive spirits – which desire to conquer or win every contest. We must realize that it is not about us. It is all about Jesus and His grace. It is not our abilities that count – but it is all about grace!

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

February 20, 2017 - Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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