11th December 2018

Do we Need to—“Make the Grade!”

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

Many Christians in past years would have talked about ‘qualifying’ for the Kingdom of God. But is this a fact—is this the way to go for those who are yearning for the Kingdom?

Qualify is an interesting word and has many meanings, for example, ‘to become competent for some position or purpose’ or ‘to satisfy the conditions and requirements for a job,’ or even to ‘become legally entitled to a reward.’

Obviously all requirements, whatever they are; need to be worked at, I’m sure all of you who have ‘earned’ a degree would agree with that. But what about our future with God? Does he have a long bucket-list of things that we need to do in order to be with him in his kingdom; and if we don’t measure up, will he chuck us out?

If you’re worried about this, please relax and realise that the debt has been paid by our Saviour Jesus—he was our stand-in, and took upon himself all of our sins, past, present and future. The list that you are worried about has a big line across it and the words, “Paid in full” written in big capital letters!

According to the scripture above, salvation is a gift and I have never in my entire life paid for a gift! I’m sure you haven’t either—otherwise it is not a gift. Paul reminds us about that over in Romans 11:6 when he says, “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.” Gifts are freely accepted with joy; they are gratis and cannot be paid for, for any reason. I guess that’s why Jesus told the people who asked the question, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” His answer: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom he sent” (John 6:28-29).

We might also take a look at Matthew 11:28 where he said, “Come to me, all who are worn and bowed beneath your load, and I will give you rest” (Williams 1952). Notice the ALL here—this includes you, and everyone you know, and everyone they know. This promise is unlimited and covers all humanity! This is why Jesus came and took on flesh, to release us from the slavery of working our way into eternity. In his own words, the reason he came was to bring good news, proclaim liberty to the captives, to make the blind see and to announce that the time had come when the Lord will save his people (Luke 4:18-19 Good News). Trust Him!

Great Father, thank you for freedom, a precious gift, through your Son, Jesus, who has paid the price for everyone!

Study by Cliff Neill

About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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