Saved by Grace

Thomas Jefferson was one of our greatest presidents as well as an all-around brilliant guy. President Kennedy once remarked at a White House gathering of many Nobel Prize winners that it was the greatest gathering of intelligence ever assembled in the White House since Thomas Jefferson dined their alone. However, Jefferson had a very complex faith. It was much too complex to go into here, but one thing he said was that if he were to ever found a religious sect, “My fundamental principle would be . . . that we are to be saved by our good works which are within our power, and not by our faith which is not in our power.”

I think that even though as Christians we know that the Bible says we are saved by grace (faith) and not by works, it is part of our DNA to consciously or sub-consciously think we can earn or merit our salvation. It is very easy to instinctively think we can legalistically follow enough rules and do enough good deeds to deserve God’s favor. I’ve heard many Christians talk about looking forward to receiving their “just reward” as if it’s something they have somehow earned.

I agree it’s sometimes very difficult to grasp the concept of grace and all the unfairness that may come along with it. However, if I really think about it, it’s infinitely harder to grasp that I can be saved by good works that are within my power and not by faith that is not within my power. This makes absolutely no logical sense. Everything I see or even the Hubble telescope can see was created by God. After all, God is the Creator and everything else was created. I am comparatively less than a single grain of sand in the Sahara desert. How could I possibly do anything that could earn my own salvation? How could I possibly do anything that would put God in a position where he owes me or is indebted to me for any good works that I’ve done. It’s seems completely preposterous when I think of it in these terms.

God doesn’t pour out his grace on me because I have earned it; he pours out his grace on me because he is gracious. It seems completely logical when I think about it in these terms.

Eph 2:8-9 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.

Brad Gauen


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