Eighth Sunday after Trinity – Saturday
By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. —Ephesians 2:8-9.
We Christians are saved. We are rescued from damnation, and salvation is given us, the fullness of which we shall soon enjoy.
But we are saved by grace, yes, indeed, by grace, through faith, through faith in Christ. And this is in no wise of ourselves; there was nothing whatsoever in us, nor did we do anything for the sake of which God would have been moved to save us. It is wholly and solely the gift of God, a gracious gift of God.
Not because of our works are we saved. None of us can boast of any work for the sake of which God would have been moved to save him. Hence also our faith is not a work of which we might boast. No, faith is but the spiritual hand, given and even opened by God, into which He has put the righteousness and salvation which He so mercifully gives for Christ’s sake, that we might have, hold, and enjoy it. The very moment in which faith receives the free gift of grace and is conscious of its possession, faith begins to be fruitful in good works; for love, which is the fulfilling of the Law, is immediately present.
But though faith produces works of love, and though faith itself can be considered a work (I John 3:23), faith does not save us as a work that merits God’s favor. No one should say: “God justifies and saves me because I believe.” But this is what all should say: “God justifies and saves me solely by His grace for Christ’s sake, which I receive by faith.” “For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.”
PRAYER – O Lord, my God, I rest assured of Thy grace, and depend upon it to save me. I depend on Thy grace in Christ Jesus, my Lord, which Thou givest to me through Thy Word. I depend upon nothing in or of myself. Even my faith, which Thou alone hast worked in my heart, is frail and miserable through my own fault. O Lord, continue to strengthen my faith through the Gospel. Preserve it as a vessel that holds Thy grace. Amen.
By grace! This ground of of faith is certain;
So long as God is true, it stands.
What saints have penned by inspiration,
What in His Word our God commands,
What our whole faith must rest upon,
Is grace alone, grace in His Son.
Hymn 373, 5. (TLH)