For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2: 8-10
The newness that comes from having a relationship with God, getting a new life, starting again, clean and free from our sin because of what God’s ability to forgive can do, is what Easter is all about. It’s not about do-it-yourself salvation.
If coming up with our own way to save ourselves could deliver us from our sin, then Jesus dying on the cross and his resurrection from the grave means nothing and has no power. But the great thing is, the resurrection of Jesus does have power – the ability to forgive sin and makes us new.
We look around and wonder sometimes why people are saying or doing things that seem strange to us. Consider during those times, that people around you may be working feverishly to be perfect, trying and live up to standards no human being was designed to keep up with.
We can try every day to be adequate, but until we turn to him, humbly, and receive his son Christ’s work on the cross, then we will always think we can work for our own salvation.
God has made a way for us to live as he intends, a way we could never design for ourselves. He knows we fall short of his perfection, that he is sinless and we are not. So he lovingly made a way for us to be made clean of our sin.
The most delivering thing God does for us is to tell us we are not enough, and that he is enough to clean up our hearts and minds, to make our lives new and whole. God gives us free choice. With the same mind that decides to turn from God’s best, that chooses to lack faith and fall into sin, can turn toward him, and choose him, accepting his gift of salvation.
He is the way we ever do anything good. It is because we receive his goodness, his ways of doing things with integrity, that any good comes from us. As we learn how he is the living God who changes us, then we begin responding to life, to him, and other people the way he does – with grace and dignity.
We work constantly for everything else in our lives and so we can wonder, “Why not work for my own salvation?” Because only he is good enough to forgive us and make us clean. Once we realize we are sinners, humble ourselves, learn he is God and we are not God, then he makes us clean and whole.
Want proof? Ask a Christian whose life Christ’s salvation has changed, healed and made clean.
Maybe you have asked people what God and Christ have done for them, but you don’t get an answer accept what sounds like self-reliance. Some people will call themselves Christians and have never received Christ’s gift of salvation. Their lives are not changed. They are only self-labeled Christians. Becoming a Christian is something God does for us, not something we do for ourselves.
A Christian is someone allowing God’s salvation to be lived out through his or her life. It’s a relationship of reliance on God’s ability to change people and circumstances. It’s not a religion of do this and not that. A Christian knows that the ability to do what’s right only comes from the work Jesus did on the cross.
A Christian has simply accepted what Jesus has done and is living on what his work is able to do, not on what a limited, human self can do. Salvation from our sin is the one thing we definitely cannot do for ourselves. This is why becoming a Christian means turning to God with a humble heart.
When you stop to ask God to forgive your sins and ask Christ to come into your heart and take over your life, and how you live, and to be your savior, then you are no longer working for your salvation. He saves you from your sin right there. He saves you from all of your sin – past, present and future.
Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean we become perfect. It means we have a relationship with God like we were originally designed to, but don’t have until we accept his gift, since our sin separates us from him.
Because Jesus lives, we don’t need a do-it-yourself salvation which could never be enough. At Easter we celebrate a living savior, God’s power to forgive, to make us new.
Amanda Hughes is experienced in public policy issues, particularly marriage and family, school choice, and religious freedom. Hughes approaches public policy issues through observing combined effects that both social and fiscal decisions bear on each another. For more information about Amanda Hughes, visit http://www.amandahugheswriter.com/?p=326