Monday, May 13, 2013

A Virus and a Verse

     This past week my husband and I were battling colds.  We had both been pretty healthy until this point.  I thought I was recovering nicely when I was hit with a wave of nausea and a fever this past weekend.  Knowing that there is little to do for a virus, I went to bed, took some Tylenol and drank lots of fluid.  Some things are just out of our hands.  We can take basic steps to be comfortable, but we have not found a cure for the common virus at this point.  As I was thinking about this, a verse came to my mind.  Ephesians 2:8-9 reads:  "For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."  Just as I cannot cure the virus infecting my body, I cannot save myself.
     Opening my Bible, I reflected on the verses that came before this verse quoted above.  Paul makes it clear that we were dead in trespasses and sins:  "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind" (Ephesians 2:1-3).  When we are dead, there is no life in the body, and there is nothing we can do in ourselves to bring that life back.  Spiritually speaking, this is our original condition.  Paul made it clear in Romans 3:10:  "As it is written, there is none righteous no not one."
He continues in Romans 3:23:  "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God..."  Knowing that we are dead spiritually, what is the answer?  What can bring us to life?
     Paul continues in his letter to the Ephesians with these words of comfort:  "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-7).  Did we get the two main words?  "But God".  It is God that works to bring us to life.  He is the one that calls us as He applies His mercy and grace to our dead souls.  He breathes the breath of salvation into our hearts so we are able to believe.  Now Paul's famous verses make complete sense:  "For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing."
     Because we live in such a performance oriented society, our sinful flesh tells us there must be something we can do to add to our salvation or even to obtain it.  However, Paul makes it crystal clear in this passage of Scripture as he writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  We cannot do anything to bring salvation into our lives.  It is God who in His love and mercy calls us, regenerates us and brings us to believing faith in Christ.  Just as I cannot do anything to make the virus leave me, I cannot come to salvation by any effort of my own.
     Funny how God brings home His truths when you are sitting in a sick bed, but I am happy that God uses all things to teach us.  I rejoice that He has called me to salvation, and my prayer is that any who read this will be quickened by His Spirit and awakened to salvation.  If you are already a believer, may this encourage you to know how great a gift God gives to those whom He chooses and calls.  We serve a mighty loving Father who provides all we need for life and godliness.  In Him alone, do we find salvation.  Selah!

Picture courtesy of David at Wiki

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