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 (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).
Friend to Friend
I recently read the story of a man who died and went to heaven. St. Peter met him at the Pearly Gates and said, “Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me the good things you have done, and I will give you a certain number of points for each deed, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points you get to come into Heaven.”
“Okay,” the man replied. “I was married to the same woman for fifty years and never cheated on her, not even in my heart.”
“That’s wonderful,” St. Peter responded. “That is worth two points.” The man was shocked and said, “Only two points?” The man took a deep breath and tried again. “Well, I attended church all of my life and supported its ministry with my tithes and service.”
“Terrific!” St. Peter said. “That is certainly worth one point.” The man was incredulous, responding, “Are you kidding me? Only one point?” The man gave it one last try. “I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.”
“Fantastic! That is good for two more points,” St. Peter replied. Totally exasperated, the man cried. “At this rate the only way I’ll get into heaven is by the grace of God.”
St. Peter’s face lit up as he said, “Bingo! 100 points! Come on in.”
Our son is a project manager for a large construction company and is a master carpenter. Jered often says that if you cannot fix it with duct tape or WD40, it cannot be fixed.
We often approach life with the same attitude. We try many different things in an attempt to pay for our sin, but Jesus already paid for it. We write large checks and support worthy activities in the community and in our church. We serve God, but good works will not get us into heaven.
“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” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).
We are saved by grace, the grace of God. Period. We are not saved by faith plus works. We are saved by faith that leads to good works.
God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are very different from our thoughts. But grace explains it all.
Without God, I am nothing. But His grace changes me … it changes everything. God’s love is not a shallow love that always rescues easily or quickly. God loves us enough to walk with us through the fiery times that make us more like His Son, Jesus Christ.
God’s process is flawless, and His timing is perfect. He is our Holy God – good and merciful and compassionate, always covering us in His grace. He is a good, good Father.
Over the years, I have learned some important truths about pain and its purpose in my life. God is not committed to my comfort, but He is committed to my character. I need to let God be God in my life and choose to trust Him – no matter what. I need to put my feelings in their place and choose to believe God’s Word instead. Even when I can’t see the end of the journey, I need to be willing to take the first step in faith, knowing the grace of God will cover me.
Without God, I am nothing. But His love changes me … it changes everything. As the old hymn says, the things of this world really do grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
Father, I want to thank You for meeting the needs in my life in Your perfect timing. Forgive me when I fail to trust You and allow worry to steal my joy. I want to be patient and learn how to wait on You to work in my life. Your faithfulness sustains me, and Your grace blesses my life. I praise You, God!
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How can you see God’s grace at work in your life? How would you define the grace of God? Take a look at your life and search for times when God’s grace overwhelmed you with love.
More from the Girlfriends
Mary examined the life of Paul, a man who had every reason to be discontented. Instead, he lived a life celebrating the grace of God. At one point, Paul exclaimed, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” How? Mary’s E-Study, The Secret of Contentment, is a five-week study that answers that question with six steps you can take to experience God’s grace.
New! Mary’s heart is to train and coach women in ministry. Be sure to check out her new Zoom coaching ministry, Friends for the Journey.
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