Category Archives: Grace

“Faith Not Works” Is Great News!

In all our debating of Ephesians 2:8-9 and what it means to be saved by “faith, not works” we might overlook what a wonderful truth it is when the text says our salvation is “not of works”.  “Not of works” in this text, like the other “not works” texts of Paul, refers to attempting to be saved by law keeping.   If we could do it Paul said it would entitle us to boast because we had earned our salvation and God would owe it to us as a debt (Ephesians 2:9, Romans 4:4-5).  He also said those who attempt this are under a curse (Galatians 3:10) because it requires perfect conformity to law (which requires perfect knowledge and performance – a tough task for weak human beings!)

The “not works” texts refer to legalism in the sense of attempting to be saved by law keeping. The Jews could not do it with their law and we cannot as we attempt to conform to God’s law today.

That’s why Ephesians 2:8-9 is truly good news! He is telling us our hope for salvation is not dependent on our knowing everything and doing everything perfectly but it is by God’s grace and our faith.

“My hope is built on….”, what?  My perfect knowledge of the law of God and ability to conform to it?  We should strive for better understanding and pursue holiness. To refuse to do so would show a lack of faith!  But that is not our hope for salvation.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name.”



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Filed under Grace, New Testament

5/28 – Workers In The Vineyard

Matthew 20:1-16

This is a parable about a landowner who hired workers throughout the day and at the end of the day paid everyone the same.


Not surprisingly, the ones who worked all day complained. The landowner tells them it is his right to pay whatever he wants to pay. He also tells them that they were paid exactly what they agreed upon.

The landowner said to those who complained, “is your eye evil because I am good?”

How might we have an “evil eye” spiritually speaking and resent how good God is to some people?

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Filed under Grace, Love, New Testament

2/21 – Simon The Pharisee and the Sinful Woman

Today’s text: Luke 7:36-50

Yesterday we saw Jesus invites those who are laboring and are burdened in life. Today we see what I believe is a classic example of such a one.

While Jesus is eating at a certain Pharisee’s house, a sinful woman comes seeking Him. She is crying and washing his feet with her tears.

Simon is bothered by why Jesus would let the sinner touch him and Jesus uses the event to teach him about how we all need forgiveness and how we should respond to God’s grace.

How would you describe Simon’s understanding of our relationships with people who are sinners (see verse 29)?

What do you learn from the woman’s  behavior?



Filed under Grace, Pharisees

Sunday Recap: Fun With Talents

Sunday we thought about two parables in which Jesus talked about talents. A talent was a the most valuable coin in Jesus day, some say worth about a years wages. Others say the value of a talent was  from around 1000 to over 300,000 US dollars.

THE PARABLE OF THE TWO DEBTORS (Matthew 18).  The debt man owes to God is like a man who owed his master 10,000 talents. Its was an unrepayable debt. In fact the story says “he was not able to repay” and certainly 10,000 years wages would be unrepayable.

THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS. The 5 talent man invested in his master’s business.  He was given 5 more plus the 1 talent the 1 talent man wasted.  That gives him a total of 11. All of his talents (including his original 5) were given to him by his master.

Both parables begin, “the kingdom of heaven is like….”.  They both teach about the kingdom and about talents.  It may be a stretch (feel free to say, “sorry Jimmy, thats a stretch!”), but what does it say to us that even the most “talented” man in Jesus’ stories is still 9,989 talents short on his debt to God?

Granted we might not ought to connect the two parables in that way, but what does Luke 17:10 tell us our attitude ought to be even when we have done all things we have been commanded?  Finally, how do these truths impact your thinking about your relationship with God?

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Filed under Grace, Parables