Do you make New Year Resolutions, or like me have you given up because you could not keep them in the past?
Do you from time to time resolve to try harder to be a better Christian? And with good motivation decide to give up this, or start doing that?
In Ephesians 2 Paul says: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; not by works, so that no one can boast.
The phrase “saved (or justified) by faith” is well known in evangelical circles, however Paul does not actually say we are saved by our faith, rather he says we are saved by God’s Grace, which we accept through faith. We are saved by God’s gift to us, His Son, Jesus. The Father gives us the “Christ -mas” gift of Jesus, and yes, we have to accept Him as our Saviour, that is our side of the story – faith and trust in God’s gift to us.
And just as we are saved (justified) by grace through faith, so the same principle works as God makes us a Holy people for Himself (sanctified). It is God’s Grace through the Holy Spirit that works in us to make us holy, not our good works, not our New Year resolutions, not our trying harder to be a better Christian – “lest that any man should boast”.
As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in (your) weakness.
As we enter the New Year let us decide to accept God’s Grace in Jesus, not just once in the past to be saved, but all the time, to be made into the likeness of Christ.