Read Ephesians 2
Focus on verse 8-9
Maybe its my Canadian heritage, but I still find it a little awkward and annoying to be around a person that is quick to brag about how great they are, particularly if it is fairly obvious that the greatness they are bragging about was actually more of a team effort.
When it comes to matters of faith, there is very little that we can take full credit for. In today’s reading Paul writes,
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. (v. 8-9)
It is astounding to me how many people I have encountered, who are hoping that the good things that they have done for God will outnumber the offenses they have committed, so that when the final tally is counted up God will grant them entrance to His kingdom. Today’s key verse is one of the clearest places in scripture where God informs us that His system of measurement is not based upon our deeds as much as it is on our relationships.
Upon further study of this in the Bible, one discovers that no amount of “good works” will gain one access to God’s kingdom, because we are not saved by works. Rather, it is by placing our faith in the work that Jesus Christ has done on our behalf that grants us access to God’s kingdom. God’s rationale for setting it up this way is apparently so that none of us will have reason to brag about how much better we were than anyone else, by way of performance.
Grace is the great equalizer that places us all on the same level of play. Rich, poor, slave, free, priest, criminal – we all have the same access to God through the same grace. If there is a hierarchy in heaven, it apparently is measured out by a different standard than what we are accustomed to on earth. I suspect it will be more along the lines of “the first shall be last and the last shall be first” rather than the kind of report cards we are used to receiving, which rate us based upon our performance. This reward system not only evens the playing field, it removes any reason we might think we have to brag about how much better we are then someone else, because none of us really will have anything to brag about.