For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
In the last blog we were reminded to count our blessings. In the event that you did not know which blessings to count, in Ephesians 1:1-23, the apostle Paul points us to a plethora of God’s spiritual blessings for us and then prays that we might be able to comprehend them.
One of those spiritual blessings Paul discussed was the eternal forgiveness of sins and redemption by Christ. In Ephesians chapter 2, Paul emphatically explains that great truth more specifically. Simply put, we were spiritually dead, separated and alienated from God because of our transgressions and sins. The prophet Isaiah also spelled out the sober truth about the consequences of our sin.
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. - Isaiah 59:1-2 (KJV)
Consequently, this spiritual condition set us up as objects of God's wrath. The source to save us from God's wrath is not a human or earthly resource but instead it is God’s grace for grace “is the gift of God.”
Contrary to scripture, too many of us are manipulated by man-centered convictions to try to secure our own grace. We try to ascend to God by lifting a ladder of works. A ladder of works is locked in limited height and could never reach God. Instead we must operate in the gift of grace which is made a reality by faith. So leave your ladder and step into God's elevator of grace that will allow us to soar to the heights of heaven! Ephesians 2:9 reinforces this concept by showing that the means by which we are saved from God’s wrath is not by works but instead its basis is grace.
The Word is very clear. Religious activity and man-centered convictions will never justify us!!
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. – Romans 3:20 (KJV)
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
- Galatians 2:16 (KJV)
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
- Titus 3:5 (KJV)
Therefore since no person can bring salvation to himself by his own efforts, no one can boast. So let’s continue to inoculate ourselves from ingratitude with some closing principles.
Four Principles that Promote Gratitude for the Gift of God
1. Govern: to rule over by right of authority: to govern a nation. We must govern our thoughts, words and actions as a display of gratitude for our eternal salvation.
2. Invest: to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something; to prioritize; to sacrifice or incur a cost. We must invest in our intimacy and fellowship with God. As a result, you will be rewarded with a rich and real relationship.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. - Romans3:10 (KJV)
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
- Psalm 42:1-2 (KJV)
3. Faithfulness: strict or thorough in the performance of duty: a faithful worker; true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.; steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends; reliable, trusted, or believed. We must display faithfulness in our thoughts, words and actions.
Mine eyes [shall be] upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. - Psalms 101:6 (KJV)
Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find? - Proverbs 20:6 (KJV)
4. Thankfulness: feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative. Finally, we must express thankfulness in our thoughts, words and actions.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
- Psalms 100:4 (KJV)
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. - Romans 1:21 (KJV)
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
- Colossians 3:15 (KJV)
Purpose to practice these principles and you will promote an attitude of gratitude to God!
NOT A SERMON BUT A THOUGHT