BUT GOD . . .
- Key Verse
- For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- READ THE CHAPTER
Because of God's great love for us, He draws us to Him before we even recognize our need for Him. He only wants us to put our faith in Him, mercifully freeing us from always wondering if we are "doing" enough for Him.
ReflectionsAs a young adult trying to find my way after college, I processed decisions and discerned truth through a worldly sieve. My beliefs were based upon what the world told me was true. Even though I thought I was alive, I was spiritually dead. I had grown up in the church, but had never understood the need for a relationship with Jesus or the purpose of His death and resurrection.
On a blind date many years ago, I was challenged in who I believed God to be. What I believed was "it was none of my date's business!" I thought he was a weird Christian guy. But God used him to plant seeds in my unregenerate mind. At that time, I was not making good choices. I was not doing good things that would earn God's love and salvation. I spent the next week after the date making fun of him and his religious views. I was definitely filtering my date's beliefs through my worldly sieve. But God drew me to Him, though it wasn't because I deserved His salvation or had earned His love.
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." (Ephesians 2:4-5)
As humans, we want to work our way to God. We incorrectly believe that we know what box to check to be good enough for Him. Thankfully, it's not up to us to be good enough.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
When I finally accepted His free gift of salvation, everything in my life changed. The Holy Spirit replaced my worldly sieve with a biblical one. I was truly a new creation.
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Discussion Questions1. Are you working your way to God? Do you think that your good works are enough to please Him and get to heaven? If good works are what gets you into heaven, how do you know when you've done enough of them?
2. Where do you stand on the issues of the day? Are you swayed by what is socially acceptable, or do you stand on what is biblical?
3. If you have not put your faith in Jesus, what is holding you back?
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
August 6-10 (Ephesians 2-6)
Read Ephesians 6:10-20.
In verse 11, Paul talks about the schemes and strategies of the Devil.
• What are they?
• What does Paul say we should use to fight those schemes?
• Make a list of all the pieces of God's armor. What does each piece do?
• Go through your house and find articles of clothing to represent all the pieces of God's armor. Take time to review and memorize what each piece is and what it represents. Example: a hat to stand for the helmet that represents our salvation.
Activity: Write each of the following words on a separate piece of paper: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, Word of God. Now put the clothing that represents each one across the room. If you have enough family members, you can make this into a competition by getting two piles of clothes that represent each thing. Now, draw one card from the pile, read it, and run down and get the item that represents that word. You can make it more difficult by pulling out more than one card.
Daily, we are to put on our armor so that we can withstand the attacks of the enemy. Talk together about what it looks like to put these things on every day (spending time in God's Word, praying, reminding yourself of your salvation, etc.).