“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.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Many Christians today live under severe guilt and condemnation resulting from their past life of sin, (before they came into salvation and relation with Jesus Christ). It is exceedingly difficult for many believers to distinguish between confession, repentance, and the forgiveness of God on one hand, and guilt and condemnation on the other hand.
In 1 John 1:9, we are told, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. Many believers have done this repeatedly, yet the feelings of guilt and condemnation never seemed to leave them.
Moreover, regardless of the magnitude of our sin, the Scripture is clear as it relates to the forgiveness of God, once there is confession and repentance on the part of the believer. Genuine confession, which is a verbal acknowledgement of wrongdoing followed by meaningful repentance, a complete turnaround in direction activates the justice and faithfulness of God.
In Romans 8:1, the apostle Paul declared, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”. In this verse, the apostle Paul gives us an assurance of acceptance by God resulting from our submission to Jesus Christ.
This new status in Christ releases the body, soul, and spirit from all forms of condemnation. We must know however, that genuine confession must be followed by meaningful repentance. A desire and willingness to make a right-about-turn from that which we have confessed in the first place.
Additionally, many Christians also struggle with the ability to reconcile the grace of God through faith for salvation and the concept of works as a means to achieving spiritual freedom. The apostle Paul explained the concept of Grace, Faith and Works to believers of his day for the same reason we struggle with today.
“For by Grace we have been saved”. Grace is defined as the unmerited favor of God. It is a bestowal of a favor from God, which we have not earned nor even deserved. It is the favor of God that brought us into salvation in the first place. There was no requirement on our part necessary to release salvation. We simply accept the provision of God through faith. It is a means provided by God whereby we come into complete trust in His finished work at the cross.
Further, the apostle Paul insinuates that nothing we have done, nor can we do anything to earn salvation. It is not by ourselves, least we should boast. Yet there are many who believe that salvation can be earned through our good works. In the context of other beliefs, followers adhere to practices which requires awesome amounts of sacrifice, penitence and physical deprivation in order to achieve salvation.
God’s marvelous provision of salvation in Christ Jesus is made possible for all humanity through the power of His Grace. It is because of our helplessness in the first place that God’s provision for Salvation in Christ has been made possible.
In the book of Romans, we are told that all have sinned and fallen short of the expectation of God. The consequences of this status is eternal separation from God. Nevertheless, because He loves us with an everlasting love, He came in the person of His son Jesus and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Every effort made by God for man’s redemption was entirely through the power of His grace.
In Ephesians 1:7, the apostle Paul declared, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. In 2 Timothy 1:9 the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy with these words, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.
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