“For by grace you have been saved by faith. Nothing you did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the love gift from God that brought us to Christ! So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
When you watch television or movies you see that the secular world has a very different definition of love than does God, it’s all about sex and self pleasure.
Paul describes God’s love this way: May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. (Ephesians 3:18-19) Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences — the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding — this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!
Even though God’s love is too great to understand fully, the hope is our understanding of God’s love will expand the more we follow Jesus.
How does this expansion happen? Grace! God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8)
Salvation is God forgiving me of my sins completed by Jesus at Calvary’s cross. This is called justification. We continue to grow in His love by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is called sanctification.
Grace is the power of God to save us from our sins and grace is the power of God to change us and help us live new and transformed lives.
Of course, salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:9)
As our knowledge and understanding of God’s love expands, it doesn’t puff us up with pride. Rather, it humbles us and fills us with gratitude for God’s amazing grace and we can love one another as Christ loved us.
Questions for self reflection:
- Does this alter your definition of grace?
- Can you remember a time when the reality of God’s loving grace overwhelmed you?
- What does love look like in your life these days? (In other words, what change is God bringing about in your life?)