May 24, 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 yesterday’s reflection, we were introduced to the phrase “For it is by grace you have been saved” (2:8). We saw that the context of Ephesians 2 reveals that from which we have been saved: death, bondage to spiritual powers, fleshly cravings, and divine wrath. To put it differently, we were saved from a death-life of bondage and meaninglessness. Thus, salvation is more than just a ticket to Heaven when you die. Rather, it touches and transforms your life in this age as well as in the age to come.
The Greek verb translated as “to be saved” confirms this broad understanding of salvation. This verb is used in the Gospels, for example, to describe instances of physical healing. In Mark 5, a woman seeking healing touches Jesus’s robe and is miraculously healed. Jesus says to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you” (5:34), using exactly the same verb that is translated in Ephesians 2:8 as “have been saved.” Thus, the verb “to be saved” doesn’t refer only to what we might call eternal salvation. It isn’t just about life after death. This verb also suggests healing, that is, restoration to the wholeness God intends for us.
Often, Christians use the language of salvation in a narrower sense, describing only what happens after death. To be sure, it is wonderful to be saved in this way. But, from a biblical perspective, God’s salvation is much more inclusive. We who are saved by God’s grace begin to experience God’s shalom—peace and wholeness, life as it was meant to be—now, even as we anticipate the fullness of shalom that is reserved for the future. (As we’ll see in the second half of Ephesians 2, salvation transforms not just individuals but also our relationships and the social order of our world.)
The good news embedded in the verb “to be saved” is that God is at work in you through Christ. By grace, God is mending your brokenness, healing your wounds, and helping you to be the whole person he intends you to be. God wants you to experience life in greater abundance. And he wants to work through you to foster wholeness in this world, even as you await the joy of Heaven. Thus, your salvation isn’t just about your private life or your life in church. It matters to everything you do in life.
Something to Think About:
Once again, how have you experienced God’s salvation in your life?
What areas of your life are still in need of God’s healing touch?
Something to Do:
When you arrive at your workplace today—whether it’s an office, a store, a warehouse, or a desk in your bedroom—stop for a few moments, and offer a prayer of gratitude for your salvation. Then, ask the Lord to make his salvation real to you in your work today.
Gracious God, thank you for saving me. Thank you for delivering me from death, spiritual slavery, bondage to the flesh, and eternal judgment. Thank you for allowing me to begin to experience salvation in this life, even as I await the complete salvation that is yet to come. Thank you for healing my wounds, softening my heart, and reorienting my passions.
Lord, continue your gracious work in me, making me more and more like Christ. Continue to transform my thinking and my feeling, my speaking and my acting. May my life reflect the reality of your salvation each day, beginning today.
To you be all the glory! Amen.
Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
Best of Daily Reflections: The Unclean Jesus Shows Compassion
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.