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 2:8-10 ESV)
Yesterday we read that God is a giver and will continue to give to His children [John 1:12] for all eternity. God also gives great things to us while on earth including strength, wisdom, etc [Psalm 29:11; James 1:5 et. al].
As a result of extolling the wonderful and immense riches God gives His children in the previous verses, Paul goes off on an aside to mention the greatest gift of God – salvation – which He offers by His grace as a result of our faith.
Its important to note that salvation is not something we can achieve on our own (“this is not your own doing… not a result of works”). Salvation “is the gift of God”. All man-made religions teach that people can earn their way to the next life through their behaviors. This is the clear teaching of Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, Buddhism, and every other religious “ism” there is. But these are all false teachings.
Here is another passage in the Bible that clearly proves that Christianity is true. Man does not invent religions that cast him in an unfavorable light or that take his self-determination away from him. These words could only, therefore, have come from God. This passage also proves that we do not all worship the same god. The God of the Bible is nothing like the gods of these religions just mentioned, including Catholicism. If you are a follower of one of these religions, please consider what today’s Bible passage is saying. What you believe will affect your eternity.
Throughout the Bible God tells us that no one can see heaven as a result of doing good things or not doing bad things. We read this in many places including John 3:3, John 3:18, Romans 3:28, Romans 5:1, and Galatians 2:16. But no where is it more clear than in today’s passage. Salvation is not a result of works. It is a gift of God that comes by faith.
It would be boasting for someone to say they are going to heaven because they are a good person. Many people think this way though. They admit just enough sin to convince themselves they are humble while at the same time believing they are “good enough” to go to heaven.
But that clearly contradicts what God has told us in the Bible. In fact, Jesus even tells us that after they die many people, when they come face-to-face with Him, will point to their “good deeds” as justification for getting into heaven. But Jesus will tragically have to turn them away [Matthew 7:21-23].
The sad truth is the vast majority of people who believe in an afterlife are mistaken in their understanding of how to get there. It seems to make sense that “good” people go to heaven and “bad” people do not. But that is a human way of thinking. God does not think like we do [Isaiah 55:8-9].
Jesus tells us that there are two metaphorical gates that lead to the next life in Matthew 7:13-14. One gate is wide and the path on the other side is easy to walk on. Many people will go through this gate thinking it leads to heaven. But He tells us that it leads to hell. The other gate is narrow and the path on the other side is not easy. But, despite its appearance, this gate leads to heaven.
Just because something makes sense to us doesn’t make it true [Proverbs 14:12]. The truth is there is no one who is good [Romans 3:10]. And all our so-called good deeds count for nothing [Isaiah 64:6].
Choose the narrow gate.
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