By Not Known
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph 2:8-9
Recently, I met with a couple, long-time friends who have migrated overseas and I was reminded of God’s grace towards them. They are thankful to God for their second son who is now studying in a seminary and preparing for fulltime ministry work. He was once rebellious, refused to go to church, angry and unhappy with life. At that time, his parents were worried that he would leave not only the church but Christ as well. They tried to counsel him but their advice fell on deaf ears. Their only hope was prayer through the power of God. They had prayed for a number of years and summed up that it was the grace of God at work in this young man’s life.
I am thankful too to God for His grace. He saved me, my wife, Evelyn and my sons, Gideon and Titus from darkness. As parents, we prayed unceasingly for the spiritual growth of our children. I acknowledge that many times we wished that our sons would serve in the church actively and study the Bible fervently. I believe that many parents are praying continuously for God to graciously save their children to know and believe in the Lord Jesus or to be committed to God. We cannot force spiritual growth but to labor in prayer for them. We can talk to our children about our faith when they are young and to teach them the Words of God or let them join the Sunday School. As our children become teenagers, we can encourage them to join Christian fellowship and to hang out with good Christian friends. We are to be the role models in our daily living of how much we love the Lord. Even after everything we have done to influence them positively to the Lord, it is by His grace that our children remain in the Lord and in the church. We recognise that what we could do is limited, only God can transform and change their hearts.
The grace of God as we understand it is the unmerited favor from God to save sinners from the Judgment Day of God. It is not based on our good work, charity, wealth, etc to be saved. It is God who chooses us to salvation (Eph 1:4). Not easy to fully grasp this doctrine of salvation- solely grace. For example, when we compare ourselves with those who are morally more upright than us, we feel unworthy to be saved, yet God extended His hand of salvation to us.
It is true we cannot gain salvation through our work. Lent serves as a reminder of God’s grace at work over the forty days of Christ’s journey to the cross. It was a horrible and painful suffering that led to a slow death. Christ died for our sins to free us from sins, we deserve eternal hell, but God loves us so much that He provides this experience of unmerited favor or unending love.
At this juncture, some of us might think that it is all about grace and we have no part in our spiritual life. No, we too have our part to play. For the grace of God is given to us and we are to continue to grow in the grace of God through the assistance of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God has given us the means to assist us in our life of sanctification. The means are the Holy Scripture, Holy Sacrament, prayers, fellowship and the nurture of the church community. We are to apply these means to live a thankful and fruitful life in Christ.