By God's Grace
In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. At that time you followed the world's evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God. Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we like everyone else, were destined to suffer God's anger.
But God's mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God's grace that you have been saved. In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world. He did this to demonstrate for all time to come the extraordinary greatness of his grace in the love he showed us in Christ Jesus. For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it. Ephesians 2: 1-9 (TEV)
Awlwyn Balnave is from British Columbia, Canada. Two years ago Awlwyn visited a well-known pottery factory in Northern Ireland. The pottery made there - vases, figurines, bowls, and dinnerware - is crafted to very high standards. Awlwyn took advantage of her visit to join a group being guided through the production process.
The final stage - quality control - especially drew her attention. Each item was individually inspected. If an article was found to be blemished in any way, it was smashed into pieces and discarded. Many of the items set aside for destruction had faults so minor Awlwyn had trouble finding them.
As she watched the destruction of the imperfect pieces, she thought how crucially significant it is that God does not treat us that way. Ephesians 2:5 says, "It is by grace you have been saved." By the grace of God, our salvation does not depend on what we have done, but on God's grace through Christ - who Christ is and what he has done for us at the cross.
We don't deserve salvation, and we cannot earn it; but God gives it to us anyways. So when we respond to God's call, God will never reject us.
Prayer: Loving God, help us to remember that it is only by your grace that we receive your salvation. We are grateful for the assurance and joy it brings, in Jesus' name, amen.