2009, Articles, Raiati

Grace / 15/11/2009

God enlivened us with the Christ even when we were dead in trespasses. Paul proclaimed in his Epistle to the Ephesians that the Lord has quickened us when the Jews crucified Him. He brought us near to Him, and because He is alive, He abolished our sins. Since then, we have been endowed with the mercy He bestowed upon us.

“It is by grace you have been saved” means that the Law of Moses can no more save you, neither do your works. You have been saved thanks to the grace always conferred by God and received by you in obedience. Those who merely know the truth of faith imagine that it is by good works that one can be saved. Nevertheless, the question is: who enables us to perform good works?

You are the gift of God. You are a fruit. Your salvation is the gift God has granted to you. Not only did the apostle say that God loves us, but also: “God raised us up and seated us with him in the heavenly realms.” This means that it is not only by repentance that we rise today, but that we rose back then and ascended with him to heavenly places.

Therefore, the Lord shows in the coming ages “the riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” The kindness of God has been revealed through the incarnation of His beloved Son and His moving amongst us. We perceived His utter compassion upon His death on the Cross and His resurrection. Here, the conviction the apostle had previously divulged reappeared again, as he proclaimed that we are saved by grace through faith, for faith is first our gift from God, and then comes our obedience thereto.

Paul asserted that faith is the gift of God, so that the reader would not doubt that it is God who initiates faith and confers it to us. For further evidence, he declared: “Not by works, so that no one can boast.” This is why Paul mentioned in his first Epistle to the Corinthians: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

The apostle states that we are God’s workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus in the strength of his Holy Spirit.” Are we created randomly to do any work? We are created to do “good works”. This is the aim of our existence; good works which “God has before ordained that we should do them.” This means that at every stage of our spiritual life, it is God who takes the initiative.

Indeed, we do receive the good work as a gift from God. He provides us with it. Since we are creatures endowed with freedom, no one is forced to accept the good work. Our role is to deliberately welcome in our spirits the good work God has proposed to us. Freedom does not imply choosing good or bad. It is a psychological power that exists in us. However, without grace we have no ability to choose good works. “You know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Translated from Arabic – 03/12/2009

Original Text: “النعمة”, Raiati, Issue No.46, 15/11/2009

Continue reading