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. – Ephesians 2:8-9
Grace: The undeserved love, mercy and favor of God on our lives, not because we earned it, but because God simply desires for us to have it.
Why do you believe what you believe? Every individual must ask himself/herself the answer to that question. Even if a person has no belief at all, they have reasoned in their heart and mind that all religions are simply wrong. No matter what you believe, why do you believe it?
Right now, there is a buffet of belief systems to choose from. They can’t all be right. Each system has too different of an outcome to be correct. What does happen when you die? Many believe there will be eternal sexual pleasure, many believe they will rule their own planet somewhere in the universe, many believe they will be reincarnated and return as something else, and many others believe absolutely nothing happens after you draw that last breath. Within each of these belief systems are a LARGE percentage of people! We are talking millions and millions of people.
Which system is right? That was the biggest question for me. Depending on where I was born on this planet, I would have been exposed to a very different religion or philosophy. Would I believe whatever I would have been taught depending on the region I was born? I happened to struggle with this for a while and wanted to know if Christianity was right. I wondered if I only believed in God because I was born in the buckle of the Bible belt. I searched the basics of each religion, which was a lot harder to do in the non-Internet days, or at least more time consuming.
So, what was my conclusion? Why do I sit here and type that absolutely every other belief system, religion, philosophy, and whatever else someone believes is wrong?
Well, every religion and philosophy outside of Christianity requires you to perform. Your eternity/next life is determined by how well you do in this life. This, of course, is assuming you desire something better in your next life . . . or at least an equal existence to what you have right now. At the core of every belief system, there seems to be this idea of doing well enough during your lifetime to earn your next life’s reward.
For me, grace quickly smashed all the others. No other religion or philosophy wraps the best it has to offer in a box and says, “Here! I have a gift for you. All you have to do is receive it.” All of the others have strings attached. Grace makes everyone with breath in his or her lungs eligible for salvation. It does not matter if you are rich or poor. It does not even matter if you are old and have almost no time or energy left in this life to do a single good deed or undo any wrong. If you reach out and receive it . . . it is yours. It is yours not because you are good, but because He is good. Absolutely no Christian gets to boast about his or her salvation. It was given to us. Given! I didn’t earn it. I didn’t deserve it. But I did receive it. It remains 100% without a doubt, the greatest gift I’ve ever received.
Why in the world would the God of all the Universe give His unmerited grace to a clueless 16-year old teenager who would go on to make a countless number of bad decisions throughout his lifetime?
Thank you, God that I don’t have to earn my salvation. I’m just not that good. But you, you are so good. Thank you for the free gift of my salvation. I look so forward to the day when my faith becomes sight.