For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as 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 so that we would walk in them. [Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB]

The topic of salvation is one that has been debated and misunderstood for millennia. Many take a legal approach to the idea and embrace strict criteria for what it means to be saved. Their focus is generally what a person has been saved from and not what they have been saved for.

I love how this passage points us to the idea that salvation involves creation. A new life commensurate with a new birth. We are saved to love and serve. Saved to display the image and character of God. In a very real sense we are saved to save. To point our neighbors to the Savior.

So how did salvation ever become all about saying a prayer and not about living a prayer? How did heaven ever become more important to us than life on earth? Why do some live as if eternal life is something deferred for heaven. How is it that we are not living eternally now?

When I consider what it means to be saved I begin with the idea of a spiritual birth. This imagery helps me to understand what it means when the apostle writes that salvation is "not of yourselves". That which is born in us is a gift to be simply received and not earned.

Many do not see salvation in this light though. They understand grace to be something that is not connected to a spiritual birth and life afterwards. They do not understand repentance to be our spiritual life subduing our carnal desires. These miss out on the heaven that is now.

Help me Lord to walk in the good works that you prepared for me.

... this devotion is part of the z2a bible words series.

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