For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
When native converts of the island of Madagascar used to present themselves for baptism, it was often asked of them, “What first led you to think of becoming Christians?” The answer usually was that the changed conduct of others who had become Christians was what first arrested their attention. “I knew this man to be a thief; that one was a drunkard; another was very cruel and unkind to his family. Now they are all changed. The thief is an honest man; the drunkard is sober and respectable, and the other is gentle and kind in his home. There must be something in a religion that can work such changes.” The converts would say.
Source: The Biblical Museum, Volume II, James Comper Gray
Salvation should never be taken for granted. A very high price was paid so we can be redeemed from our sins and have hope of eternal life. Human beings may never quite understand or appreciate the gift of salvation. The best way to describe salvation is that it is the ultimate expression of a creator’s love for His creation. Indeed, salvation is an act of divine love that surpasses human understanding.
No human, spiritual powers or principalities could have provided the gift of eternal life to humanity. Only a perfect God with a perfect plan centered on sacrificial love could have offered salvation. Thus, only Jesus Christ was qualified for this divine mission. Jesus bore our sins and suffered the just wrath of God so we can be saved from eternal damnation.
In today’s text, Paul reminds believers in the church at Ephesus that salvation is a gift of grace that requires faith in Jesus Christ. The grace in question is God’s forgiveness for all sins and our restoration into a right relationship with Him. Grace is receiving something one did not earn. It is unmerited favor. Through Christ, we have been given eternal life which we certainly have not earned because of our sinful nature.
Salvation means we are redeemed from the bondage of sin and the powers of darkness. What does salvation look like? Today’s illustration gives us a very good example of salvation in action. Natives on the island of Madagascar experienced spiritual transformation when they accepted the gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. The thief became an honest man; the drunkard became sober and respectable, the cruel became gentle and kind.
Salvation is not about religion, but a right relationship with God through Christ Jesus. It is not about rituals and processes, but restoration and reconciliation with our heavenly father. Salvation gives hope and peace. It enables us to walk in the renewing of our minds so people can see the manifestation of God’s light and truth in us.
Everyone needs salvation and anyone can be saved. The only requirement for salvation is to confess with one’s mouth and believe in one’s heart that Jesus is Lord. Why must one do that to be saved? Because there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among humanity by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12)
Questions for Personal Reflection
How are you sharing your gift of salvation with others?
What does it mean to you to be saved?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for my gift of salvation. Please help me to share that gift freely and continuously with the world so they can be drawn to you. Father, I am praying for everyone who has yet to accept your gift of salvation. May they have a change of heart so they can be renewed and transformed by the power of your Holy Spirit.