And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:1-10
As I write this newsletter article school is about to start for the 2019-2020 Academic Season. Life is about to return to normal. Soon school zones will be enforced on our roadways, football will again occupy our time on Fridays, and reading, writing and arithmetic will be taught in our schools. And the students will quickly learn that the teachers are grading and evaluating their progress.
As adults we know that grading is a normal part of life. We are graded and evaluated at work, we are graded and evaluated for a credit score, we are graded and evaluated for insurance purposes and many other important areas in our life. We even see the same process in our spiritual life. When we compare ourselves and our lives against God’s Commandments, we see that we get a failing grade. We don’t even come
close to passing, even if God would round up or grade on a curve.
Fortunately, when it comes to our salvation and our relationship with God, these are not based on what we do, but rather what God does. Paul makes that clear in the second chapter of Ephesians when he states, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…” And a few verses later Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
We are saved not by what we do, but rather by what Jesus has done for us: He died and rose again for us. He saved us when we were dead in our trespasses, when we had a “failing grade.” We are saved by His grace, not by our “grade” or works. Jesus’ righteousness and merits are given and applied to us. God sees us as righteous in His sight and not as sinners who deserve condemnation. Our salvation is accomplished
and certain. In Christ, we have a passing grade.