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)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Many of us are of the frame of mind we get something only by earning it.
When I was in school, I worked hard to achieve good grades on my assignments and exams. I felt I could reach my goals through diligent study and making the most of my lessons. It made me feel good when I accomplished the results I strove hard to attain. The success I had in school made me proud. I earned it.
Receiving something for free, on the other hand, can be a difficult concept to grasp. Some of us have a hard time accepting a compliment - - let alone something more than that. Give us something for free and we feel awkward, suddenly calculating how we should repay the favor. It's no wonder the thought of somebody laying down his life for us seems hard to grasp, if not absurd.
Who would possibly do that for us? Who would possibly want to do that for us?
We don't have to work hard or over achieve to have a relationship with God. He's already made it possible by coming to us. Jesus took on human flesh the apostle John tells us, "and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14b).
God's grace is the free gift of life everlasting. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). We cannot do anything to earn our salvation, but we can accept it and pursue a deep and meaningful relationship with God. The result of a relationship with God is a changed life - - freely given and underserved.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, it is only through Your Holy Spirit we can come to faith in Jesus. And it is only through Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection we know our sins are forgiven. On both counts, You have done it all for us. Create in us thankful hearts and a desire for righteousness. Amen.
Biography of Author:
Tanya Paschke is a director of youth and family ministry in the Lutheran Church in New South Wales, Australia. She is passionate about young people growing in their relationship with God and growing in their gifts to serve the church and the world.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.