My father was a minister of the gospel. He served the Lord faithfully as a church pastor until the very last day of his life. Before he became a pastor, he was a backslider for twenty long years. He left the church and mingled with the world, went astray and was totally out in the world. During his time of apostasy, he lost five children who died for no apparent reason, and he also got very sick and almost died. Those tragedies, especially his illness, had alerted him that he must return to church to find Jesus and His salvation. When I asked him what made him return to church, he said that it happened because he realized he was a sinner who needed God’s mercy of forgiveness and salvation through the gift of grace.
It is true that we are saved by grace, and salvation is a gift from God. Grace is a gift because we don’t deserve it. Why don’t we deserve it? Because we are sinners, and “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23, KJV). So because of our sinful nature, we are supposed to die a second death, which is the eternal death, but Jesus gave us “a gift of grace which is the eternal life.”
We don’t deserve God’s grace, but we also can’t earn it. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (NIV). Faithful churchgoing, devoted Christian service, trustworthy tithe paying, or honest and diligent good works are not sufficient to earn the gift of the grace of salvation. No matter how hard we try, we will never earn our salvation.
The most important reason why God’s grace is a gift is that grace transforms our life into a better one. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (NIV). God’s grace has the power to restore our sinful being; it has the power to redeem our dark and gloomy past, and the power to rescue us from Satan’s grip.
My father’s experience is a constant reminder that we don’t deserve the gift of grace for salvation; we can’t earn the grace of salvation; but we can certainly cooperate and engage in God’s plan for our salvation by coming and turning our hearts to Jesus, committing our lives into His loving mercy, and dedicating our services for His cause.
There is no better time than this moment for us to accept and receive the gift of grace and salvation through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Hiskia I Missah