June 4, 2018 • Life for Leaders
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. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
In last Thursday’s devotion, we considered the possibility that some people might be insulted by the good news that salvation comes only by God’s grace. Those who pride themselves on their self-reliance might not take kindly to the fact that all of us are saved by grace alone.
As a pastor, I have known a few people who have been insulted by the assumption that they need grace in order to be saved. But I have known many more with the opposite problem. These folks know they can’t save themselves. They admit their weakness and sinfulness. They do not believe that God owes them salvation because, on balance, they are good people. Rather, they are overcome by their guilt and shame. Their hearts echo the confession of Psalm 51: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge” (51:3-4). People like this are not insulted by their inability to save themselves. Rather, they are fearful that even God doesn’t have enough grace to save them. Or they worry that they have exhausted God’s supply of grace.
Ephesians addresses this concern in several places. Chapter 1 celebrates God’s “glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves” (1:6). The next verse refers to “the riches of God’s grace” (1:7). In Chapter 2, immediately before saying that we have been saved by grace, Paul mentions “the incomparable riches of [God’s] grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (2:7). The Greek word translated here as “incomparable” also means “surpassing, extraordinary, or outstanding.” There is more of God’s grace than you or I could ever comprehend or imagine.
So, if you ever ask, “Does God have enough grace to save even me?” the answer is clear. Yes, absolutely! But not just enough grace, more than enough. You can never use up the grace of God. No matter your failure, no matter your sin, God can and will save you by his glorious, incomparably rich, all-surpassing grace. Believe this good news! Live it!
Something to Think About:
Have you ever wondered if you might exhaust God’s grace?
How might the quality of grace as revealed in Ephesians make a difference in your life?
How do you need to experience more of God’s grace today?
Something to Do:
If your answer to the last question identified a way (or more than one way) that you need to experience God’s grace today, ask God for this gift. If possible, share your need with a brother or sister in Christ who can agree with you in this prayer.
Gracious God, all praise be to you because your grace is glorious. All praise be to you, O God, because your grace is incomparably rich. All praise be to you, O God, because your grace surpasses my understanding, my imagination, even my need. All praise be to you, O God, because you have saved me by your grace, your amazing grace. Amen.
Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project online:
Best of Daily Reflections: The Sacrifice God Desires
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.