Wednesday, 27 July 2016
…not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:9
In the Old Testament, the focus for the people of Israel was to be the glory of God. This is seen consistently from the very beginning, all the way through the time of the law. The people were to glory in the Lord, and in Him alone –
“Thus says the Lord:
‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.’” Jeremiah 9:23, 24
So important to the Lord is this precept that He further stated the following through Isaiah –
I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another… Isaiah 42:8
Paul directly equates our salvation with this same precept. Verse 9 is given to explain the words of verse 8 –
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
There can be no boasting before the Lord in that which He alone has accomplished. This brings in the obvious, and often argued, point concerning the exercising of faith. Is free-will a work? Does the free-will choice of calling on Christ bring us to a point where we can boast before Him? This was dealt with in verse 8, and the answer is no. In fact, it is just the opposite. We are already in the sea, we are already without hope, the waters already surround us. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves.
However, God provides a way out. Is it wrong to choose that avenue? Or should we ignorantly say, I will deprive God of His glory if I reach out my hand and receive His salvation? There is no other hand, there is no other salvation. If God asks us to receive His offer, it is not a work to do so. But in this same sea are all others of the human race. They would rather stay in the depravity of sin and so choose to not respond to the offer. Their refusal is no more a work than our acceptance. Only God will receive the glory for the salvation or the just condemnation.
This line of thought is reflected beautifully the 115th Psalm. Take time to read that psalm today and to contemplate what the writer is telling us. The Lord chose Israel, but Israel had to respond, individually, as to whether they would comply with the Lord’s directives or not. The Lord has chosen a church, and each of us has a choice to do the same –
“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
2 Why should the Gentiles say,
‘So where is their God?’” Psalm 115:1, 2
In Romans 3:27, 28 Paul makes a clear and concise distinction between “faith” and “deeds of the law.” Faith is not reckoned as a deed. It is reckoned as a response to Christ’s work. To teach others that they do not need to receive Jesus Christ is to simply lead them to hell on that great day of judgment.
Life application: Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. This way, others can hear and respond.
The offer is made, the deeds have been accomplished. The choice is now up to each of us. Lord God, You have sent Your Son, the Messiah. He has fulfilled the law and now offers peace through the blood of His cross. Help us to not be silent, but to speak out now about the glory of Christ and the marvel of Your offer of grace and mercy. Let us never shy away from the proclamation that Christ has come. And thank You for His coming! Amen.