Pop quiz: What’s a human’s greatest need?
As Christians, we know the answer: a loving, eternal relationship with God, the living, all-powerful, personal Creator of the universe. And we know that the only way to have that relationship is through salvation—a deliverance from sin and death, which separate us from God. Unfortunately, too often when we talk about salvation, the message is muddied, and it’s unclear to believers and unbelievers alike how we receive salvation.
Fortunately, in just three short verses from the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul outlines five essential truths about this all-important salvation.
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. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ephesians 2:8-10
1. SALVATION FLOWS FROM GRACE.
For it is by grace you have been saved…
The word “grace” means “the undeserved favor of God.” We don’t deserve it, but God generously gives it to us out of His love. We deserve judgment, death, and Hell—eternal separation from God. Instead, God extends to us His limitless grace, resulting in justification, life, and Heaven—eternal fellowship with Him.
2. SALVATION COMES THROUGH FAITH.
Faith is the means by which we receive our salvation. The word “faith” means “trust in or reliance upon.”
When we trust in Jesus and rely upon His finished work on the cross in our place because of our sin, He saves us from Hell and hopelessness.
3. SALVATION IS NOT BY WORKS.
…not by works so that no one can boast.
If we could be saved by what we do, then when we got to Heaven, we’d say: “Look at me!”
But we bring nothing to salvation except our sin.
We’re saved by faith in Jesus and what He did on the cross when He died in our place. That means when we get to Heaven, we’ll all say: “Look at Him!” He’ll get all the glory, because He did all the work through His perfect life and His death on the cross.
4. SALVATION IS A GIFT.
“It is the gift of God…”
You don’t get charged for a gift. You receive it freely. The giver paid the price. You simply take it as your own.
Salvation is a free gift, but it was not cheap. It was purchased “with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
We receive it by simple faith and accept it gratefully from the nail-pierced hands of Christ.
5. SALVATION LEADS TO WORKS.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We’re saved not by works, but for works.
God has prepared good works for you to do as a believer in Jesus and a recipient of salvation. You have a spiritual gift to use to serve the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:15-16). You have a spiritual mission to accomplish by spreading the Gospel and making disciples (Matthew 28:19).
The free gift of salvation by grace through faith should make us so grateful that it spurs a lifetime of passionate service to King Jesus. This is not the requirement for salvation but the only logical response to receiving such an indescribably amazing gift!
Later in Ephesians, the apostle Paul tells us that our salvation is a proverbial helmet, protecting our minds from our spiritual enemies. I encourage you to protect your mind by reviewing these five truths about salvation daily, allowing you to stay grounded and strong in the glorious truth of the Gospel of grace.