Dive in: Ephesians 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. Ephesians 2:8-9
Hello blog readers! For everyone participating in the #DiveInChallenge, congratulations on completing week 2! So far, we have memorized Romans 8:1-2 and Romans 6:23.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:1-2
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23
If you’re just joining the challenge, there’s no required starting point. Jump in anytime! The goal is to intentionally spend more time in God’s word and commit to memorizing scripture. When the word of God is hidden in your heart, you will begin to realize what Jesus meant when he said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10b NIV).” That same verse in the NLT translation says, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
As we move forward in the challenge, remember to recite the verses you’ve already learned. Otherwise, even if you’ve memorized them, they will only be in your short-term memory – and eventually you could forget them. Fortunately, since you’ve learned them, it will be easy to recite the learned verses occasionally, to keep them fresh in your mind and rooted in your heart. Also, when you have your quiet time with God, reflect on the scriptures you are memorizing – and think about what they mean to you personally.
This week, we are going to build on what the word of God says about salvation. Last week, our verse taught us that eternal life in heaven is a free gift, that could never be earned. No one can “work their way” to heaven, or be good or holy enough to qualify entrance. Heaven is a gift! This week, we are re-emphasizing that truth – but also learning how to receive that free gift. That’s why we’re memorizing Ephesians 2:8-9.
We receive the free gift of life through faith. This is wonderful news for all of mankind, because faith is something anyone can offer. Notice, the verse does NOT say you have been saved, through regular church attendance… neither does it say, you have been saved through living a holy life. Jesus came to save sinners! That’s me, you, and the rest of the world. Faith in Jesus is the key to heaven.
Here is what Jesus did that we have faith in:
Isaiah 53:6 reminds us that, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Iniquity is sin, wickedness, immoral thoughts and behavior… The Lord placed all of your sin upon Himself, and He personally paid the penalty for your sin wages when He was nailed to the cross. The Lord paid the debt that you and I owe.
This next part is important! Faith is a matter of the heart – not a matter of the mind. Faith is not head-knowledge. Having head-knowledge means you’ve read it or heard it, and know what the bible says about Jesus dying for the world’s sins – but don’t believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins. Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.
Romans 10:10 lets us know, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
If you have difficulty believing in your heart that Jesus died for you personally, ask Him to strengthen your faith. He most certainly will – because it is His will for everyone to have eternal life.
If this is your first time realizing that the free gift of eternal life is received through faith – and you would like to accept this gift, you can simply thank the Lord in your heart (in your own words) and tell Him that you want this gift! If you are unsure what to say to the Lord, I can lead you in prayer if you’d like. Repeat the following prayer in your heart:
Thank you for dying for my sins. There is nothing I could ever do to earn the gift of eternal life, and I receive this gift that you paid for with your life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As we go through this week together, find peace and rest in Ephesians 2:8-9.