This week, as part of our church’s New Year devotional, we’ve been memorizing Ephesians 2:8,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
I’ve heard this scripture for years. So much so, that I’ve become quite familiar with it. But, that’s not a good thing. Too often, familiarity breeds complacency. The more we know something, the less importance we give it. It’s the “curse of knowledge”.
Each day this week as I said those words, something started to stir my soul. I began to realize that incredible freedom lies in the truth of these words. Freedom from fear, anxiety, torment and panic attacks is right there in these words.
Let me show you.
- By grace
- You have been saved
- Through faith
I’ve been sharing these past few weeks about how righteousness is a gift from God. It’s not something we can earn or work for. It’s a gift, just it says in Ephesians 2:8 and 9. In Romans 4, Paul contrasts the difference between a wage and gift, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (v4, 5).
When you work for your right standing with God, then it’s accounted to you as a wage. The problem is that God requires perfection, so the wage becomes a debt against you that you’ll never be able to pay. None of us will ever be able to meet his requirements for righteousness, but he knew that, and he sent his Son to take our sin and give us his righteousness as a gift.
So, what is this gift that we have received by grace?
You have been Saved
The gift is salvation, but again, we are so familiar with this word. Do we really know what it means to be saved? What are we saved from?
To fully understand what it means, let’s go to the original language of the New Testament. This word saved comes from the Greek word sozo (sode’-zo). This word literally means “to be made whole in our body, soul and spirit.”
Too often, we think of it as being saved from hell. Salvation is so much more than that. Jesus didn’t just die to keep you out of hell–he died to make you whole (Isaiah 53:4-5), give you freedom (John 8:32), and to give you an abundant life (John 10:10).
Fear, panic, depression, and anxiety are often the results of deep, emotional wounds and trauma. You need to know that Jesus died to set you free from those crippling things, so that you can live life abundantly. He died to make you whole!
Like the word saved, I believe we have also become too familiar with this word faith. We’ve given it a variety of meanings and variations. She’s of this faith and he’s of that faith. If I just had more faith, then God surely would respond to my prayers.
Again, let me go back to the original language. This word faith comes from the Greek word pistis. Throughout the New Testament, it is translated as “faith”. Interestingly, the verb variation of this word is pisteuo, which is translated as “believe”. The word “faith” in the New Testament simply means belief or believing. To have faith is simply to believe.
Now, combine these three phrases: By grace, you have been saved, through faith.
Here’s the Season of Peace paraphrase: When you can truly believe that righteousness in Christ is a gift from God, you will be made whole in your body, soul and spirit.
This is such truth to me. I have experienced deeper levels of freedom and peace knowing that God is pleased with me. I can now boldly come into the throne of grace in my time of need (Hebrews 4:16), and talk to God as my Father. I don’t have to strive and strain to please him. He’s happy with me just as I am, because he has given me a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26).
Prayer: Father, help me understand more and more how by grace I have been saved through faith.