Friday, April 5, 2013

Saved by Grace

Photo Courtesy: flickr/Rosino Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Are we saved through our faith in God? 
Or His faith in us?

The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, 

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."

The Greek word for "grace" is "charis," and means: gift, goodwill, loving kindness, favor, something that brings joy, pleasure, delight, and is freely given.

"Saved" is "sozo": to keep safe, rescue from danger or destruction, save from suffering, heal, make well, restore to wholeness, deliver from the penalties of the law.

Faith in the Greek is "pistis": conviction of the truth.

Paul uses, "it is the gift of God," to describe not just our salvation, but the faith through which it comes! Both are a gift from the One who saves us. (Rom. 12:3)
Long ago, when we lost sight of God, we forgot who He was and who He created us to be. In the darkness of our fallen condition, religion was born--our attempt to serve and appease an angry god, one created in our own image (and imagination.)

But in the midst of darkness, light shines!

Before time began--before we were created in our mother's womb--God came to our rescue! God became the way for us to be restored into Love and discover our true identities as beloved sons and daughters

Paul says in Hebrews 11:1: Faith is the "hypostasis" or substance of things hoped for, the evidence (proof, conviction) of things unseen. (Hypostasis is defined as: a setting or placing under; confidence; that which is real, has actual existence, substance, foundation, is firm, enables one to stand.)

Faith is not our struggling efforts to somehow reach up and touch God, to grasp hold of a lifeline and hang on for dear life.  Faith is God's embrace--His own faithfulness and assurance, His word and promise fulfilled in the finished work of Jesus--that He has saved us.

Jesus said, "It is finished!" In Jesus, everything needed for life and godliness has freely been given
to us, from the Father to his sons.  Jesus' faith becomes our faith. His righteousness becomes our righteousness. His victory over sickness, sin and death becomes our victory. His life and love and joy become our life and love and joy.

Jesus' relationship with the Father and the Spirit has always included us! We have been given a seat of honor and authority right beside Jesus! And this is how it has been from the beginning! We just didn't know it.

With God's gift of faith, we can stand at rest in his victory and know without a doubt that nothing can come between us and His love. In Jesus--the meeting place--we are reconciled with our Father in heaven--with this Creator who IS love, who from the beginning has never stopped loving and speaking life into all.

And heaven meets earth...within us, where God reality and substance and glory of what isn't seen. 

This is good news!