Last week, we discussed Ephesians 2:8- 9. Today, we will finish these great verses, beginning with the phrase "and that not of yourselves."
It would seem, at first thought, that one would be saved by his choosing to put his faith in God, but St. Paul here teaches that our choosing is not entirely of ourselves.
"The glorious change that was wrought in us by converting grace; these things are not brought to pass by anything done by us. God Himself is the author of this great, and happy change." (Matthew Henry's Commentary MHC).
The next phrase: "It is the gift of God."
The act of saving lost souls belongs to the Holy Spirit, who acts through God's great love and mercy, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. "Every converted sinner is a saved sinner. The grace that saves them is the free, undeserved goodness and favor of God, and He saves them not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus. Both that faith, and that salvation, are the gift of God (MHC)."
"Not of works" means that none who are saved earned their salvation. Many, whom I have the privilege of talking with, seem to think they have to work out their salvation. They state, when asked the question -- "Why should God let you into Heaven?" -- that they are good, they are good to others and they don't break the law. As if God would allow them into Heaven based on what they have done. But the Bible here teaches that our salvation is not of works, not gained by what we do, but by what God has already done for us through Jesus Christ.
"Lest any man should boast." This means that we who are saved cannot take credit for our salvation, but must give praise and glory to God, who is the author and giver of our faith. Some say, and even brag about, what they have done in order to be saved.
They seem to think, if they are able to bring any man to Christ, then they should get credit for winning a lost person.
No! We are to give all praise and glory to Christ for His great sacrifice on the cross, His rising from the dead. We need to realize that without Jesus Christ working through us, we can do nothing. It's all about Him, He has made our salvation possible, and all praise and glory go to Him and not us.
It is through God's unmerited favor, undeserved love for all mankind, that we are saved. For we do not deserve His love, nor all He has done for us. We not only cannot save ourselves or earn our way to Heaven, but are sinners who are going our own way and trusting in our own self, while we ignore God.
He seeks us and longs for all sinners to come to Jesus for salvation. Praise God for not giving up on sinners, for we all continue to sin and decide to do things we want to do without considering His teachings in the Bible.
If you are not saved, if you are not certain you will go to Heaven when you die, please listen to the Lord and repent of your sins.
Just ask Him in prayer to forgive your sins and to give you His free gift of everlasting life.
I pray you will!