by Rick Warren — August 18, 2023
From Essentials for Living
“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 (NIV)
You can’t earn God’s grace. You can’t work for it. You don’t deserve it.
The Bible teaches, “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 NIV).
You can only receive grace by faith.
The Bible is full of stories illustrating God’s grace. Maybe the most familiar one is about the prodigal son in Luke 15. As you might remember, the father in this story has two sons.
One day the younger son said, “Dad, I’m leaving. I want my half of the family inheritance right now so I can get out of here.” So his father gave him half of the family inheritance, and the son moved to a foreign country. He then wasted his life on wild living. And, after a while, he realized he had wastefully spent everything he had.
Forced to get a job, he ended up in a pig trough feeding pigs, and he was so hungry, he thought about eating the pigs’ food. Flat on his back, he thought, “What am I doing here? I know I blew it. It’s all my fault, but the people who work for my dad as servants live better than this.”
So he decided to head home and tell his father, “I know I messed up. I admit it. I wasted all of my inheritance. I don’t deserve to be called your son. But just hire me as a servant, and I’ll work for you the rest of my life, because even your servants live better than I’ve been living.”
Yet the Bible says the father was both loving and gracious toward his son. When he saw the son in the distance coming home, he ran to meet him with a giant hug. Then the father threw a party for his wayward son.
When you accept God’s grace, that’s how God responds to you. Your past is forgiven, you have a purpose for living, and you have an eternal home in heaven.
That’s good news. And that’s a reason to celebrate!