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By Grace

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8‭-‬9 NRSV

The United States was founded by immigrants seeking freedom and opportunities. Although the new land had resources, they knew it would take hard work to make a life here. That knowledge, combined with the Calvinist work ethic, is part of our national DNA. We have also been influenced by rags-to-riches stories, both fictional (Horatio Alger) and real examples like Dolly Parton, who grew up in impoverished Appalachia to rise to fame. Society has reinforced the belief that anything is possible through hard work and grit, anything is possible.

Obtaining salvation, though, is not something we can earn. It's a gift. We may become highly successful and give away our wealth to worthy causes. But, while that makes us great humanitarians, it doesn't buy salvation. Salvation only comes through believing in Jesus Christ and living by the Holy Spirit.

Should we then not work hard? Should we not do good work? Of course, we should! In creation, God worked for six days before pausing for rest. He first created the plants and animals, then placed Adam and Eve in the garden to care for them. As beneficiaries of God's grace, both that of salvation and his gracious and loving gifts, we, in turn, are to share with others. Our works are a result of our faith.

God of grace, we thank you for the gift of salvation. You have saved us, not because we've earned it, it's nothing we can take credit for, or we deserve it, but because you love us. Help us respond to your grace in sharing what you've abundantly given with others. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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