Ephesians 2:9

 

… not because of works lest any person boast.

 

We are saved by faith and not by works lest we should become boastful.

The idea that we could save ourselves in any way is, on the face of it, ludicrous. There is a huge chasm separating us from God. The chasm is called sin. We might be able to cross that chasm if we were not crippled by sin. but everyone is born in sin. It is only someone without sin who can cross the chasm, that is Christ. We cross the chasm by trusting in the one who can cross it for us.

it is folly to think that our works and get us to heaven. This does not stop people trying.

Religion is one such method. It is almost universal that people fearing God, or the gods, are angry with them present sacrifices or perform religious rituals in order to earn God’s/ the gods’ favour. This does not work, and cannot work, because it starts to with the false premise that God is impressed by our puny gifts. He made the whole of creation! Will He be swayed by our returning to him what he already owns?

Sometimes even christians think that God may be impressed by religious activities such as a forty day fast or some kind of prayer marathon. God already knows who we are. It is He that gives us the ability and determination to do these things.

Charitable deeds are another way people try to assuage gilt. Selling your possessions and giving it all to the poor is a worthy deed, but it will never, of itself, gain the favour of God.

In ancient times there was a collection of belief systems called Gnosticism. These varied in lots of ways and tended to collate beliefs from all the religions including paganism, Judaism, and Christianity. The common link in all of these belief systems was that attaining certain types of knowledge (Greek: gnosis ) would allow a person to rise to higher levels of spiritual power, and ultimately to Heaven itself.

The modern-day equivalent would be the conference junkie, or the person who looks for hidden “Bible codes” thinking that such knowledge will set them free or draw them closer to God.

Other works might be living a lifestyle of poverty, volunteering to serve the poor, missionary work, or whatever. Pastors are often bemused to receive discounts from business people hoping to earn brownie points with God.

All of these things that have been mentioned are not wrong of themselves. When they become ways in which we try to earn salvation or God’s favour then they become toxic to our souls.

People try to earn God’s favour, seemingly unaware that his love is there for the taking. We try to please God in all kinds of ways, but it is futile because he already loves us.

if only the person driven by guilt to do the good works would stop, hear the promises of God, and then put their trust in Jesus.

My works will never tempt God to love me. but a heart surrendered to him, trusting in Christ, will draw his affection.

John 3:18 says,” He who believe believes in Christ will not be condemned.”

We are saved by faith and not by works so that nobody has anything to post about.

If I were to do some outrageously courageous religious deed, such as fasting or charitable work, I could, with some justification, boast about that. I could draw attention to myself as a “good person.”

When I simply turn away from my sins, and accept the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ, then there is nothing to boast about. I can't even think that I was smart enough to work it out, because even the faith that allows me to reach out to Jesus is a gift from God.

There is nothing to boast about. Any fool can get saved. Any sinner can repent. To boast about it is as foolish as a person claiming to be superior because they put on a life preserver as their boat was sinking.

One sin that christians should never be capable of his self-righteousness. It is Christ who makes us righteous and not our own works. Therefore we should never assume that we are better than paedophiles, prostitutes, or drug addicts. We just sin differently to them.

What an awesome message this is, to be saved by faith not works. Of course, some people find this offensive. They think that people should have to atone for their sins in some way. Pride makes it hard for them to believe it is all free of charge. Grace sometimes can be offensive to people who want to pay their own way.

Key points in this verse:

  • We are not saved by works

  • Religious deeds, charitable giving, and extensive knowledge of the Bible will not impress God

  • Christians have nothing to boast about and have no reason to be self-righteous