Devotion: Saved By Grace Alone

(Download the entire Ephesians Devotion.)

Adrian Rogers, a famous twentieth-century Baptist pastor, once went on a mission trip to Romania. Over the course of two weeks, he bonded with his interpreter but hadn’t learned much about his thoughts. So toward the end of the trip he asked, “Tell me, what do you think of American Christians?” 

“I don’t want to talk about it,” came the strange reply. 

This, of course, only made Dr. Rogers more curious, so he began to press him for an answer. Finally the interpreter capitulated. 

“Well, okay then, but you’re not going to like my answer. I don’t think you Americans understand what Christianity is all about. Back in the 1960s you started to use the word ‘commitment’ to describe your relationship with Christ. However, any time a word comes into usage, another word goes into disuse.” He continued, “Until the 1960s, you Americans talked about ‘surrender’ to Christ. Surrender means giving up control, turning over all to the Master, Jesus. By changing to the word ‘commitment,’ your relationship with Christ has become something you do; therefore you are able to keep control. Surrender means giving up all rights to oneself. You Americans don’t like to do that, so instead you make a commitment.”

There are two ways to go. The first is to get bogged down by insisting you know what’s best, trying to control the situation, exerting your will, trying to get your own way, and coming out on top. Filled with small ambitions, petty grievances, and easily hurt feelings, this is the way of the committed man. The other way is to deny yourself, come humbly to the foot of the cross, give Jesus your life daily, fully consider the gravity of your times, and fit into the larger perspective of what God is doing in the world. Filled with humble gratitude, this is the way of the surrendered man…The great irony of surrender is that it leads not to defeat but to victory.

For 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

I have come to give you life and a life in abundance.

John 10:10

Questions:

  • How would you answer the question, “How does a person make it to heaven?”
  • What part of your old life do you need to surrender?
  • Why are we hesitant to give up the old life, if Jesus promises an abundant life?
  • Are you committed to Christ or surrendered to Christ? How would you explain the difference?
  • What would it look like to give Jesus your daily life?

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