Sunday, January 27, 2013


Most Bible students are familiar with Ephesians 2:8, which says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."  As a former English teacher, I taught my students that if they removed the prepositional phrases from a sentence, it would make it easier for them to find the subject, the verb, the direct or indirect object.  If we remove the prepositional phrases from this verse, we have "You are saved:  it is the gift."  Please do not think I am proposing removing a single word from the Scriptures; I am only suggesting that our understanding of the verse becomes clearer by focusing upon the subject, verb, and direct or indirect object.  The fact that salvation is a gift indicates it is not of our own doing; it is unearned, and unmerited ("by grace" and "not of yourselves").  The fact that only God can save a person, makes "of God" unnecessary for the understanding of the statement. 

However, there is one prepositional phrase that is essential to understanding what God, through the Apostle Paul, was saying:  "through faith."  One has to believe he has been given the gift of salvation.  Let's say that one of your wealthy uncles dies, and his lawyer calls you to tell you he is depositing $500,000 in your bank account.  You know he was wealthy.  You know he was your uncle. You know the man was his lawyer.  But unless you believe the money is in your account, you will never write a check on it. 

Likewise, the Bible tells us we are sinners.  The Bible tells us that Jesus died for our sins.  The Bible tells us that "IF" we place our trust in Him, we will have peace with God, and everlasting life.  That is, "IF" we believe Jesus died for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose from the grave according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4), we can be saved.  And, "IF" the Holy Spirit is able to convince us to trust in, believe in, have faith in, the resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ, we will have forgiveness of sin and eternal life. 

A good way to check myself to see if I am saved, is to ask myself, "Has God begun working to make me more Christ-like?" (Phil. 1:6; 2:13).  "Has my faith in Christ caused me to willingly repent of living a sinful life, and to dedicate myself to living as God directs?"  In other words, "Have I allowed Jesus to be the Lord of my life?"  I pray all reading this will be able to answer "YES!" 

"IF" you are saved, you have believed and received God's gift of salvation! 
That "IF" makes all the difference in this life and the next!

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