Lord, We Believe! Help Our Unbelief!
It is truly by grace alone that we have been saved. Nothing else in all of creation could have done it. Certainly it could not have been gained by our own human power or effort. God alone is the source of our salvation from sin and death. Even this knowledge in faith is a pure gift from God.
The second clause in today’s scripture passage is very important for all of us to reflect upon as well. Though grace is freely given to us, with all of its forgiveness and mercy, we have to respond to it; we have to believe in it. We have to believe that God’s love for us is greater than any of our sins and failings. The fact is, of course, that God’s grace is given to us as pure gift. We do not “deserve” it, yet he gives it to us freely. But it is also true that we must be open to it. It is our willingness to be in relationship with God, that completes the exchange. He is always willing to give us his grace, with unlimited generosity, but we must also humbly and willingly receive it.
Faith is everything. Yes. It is our salvation. God’s gifts of grace and faith, though, are not forced upon us. But, if we open the doors of our hearts, even just a crack, the gifts of grace and faith will enter us and fill us up just as even a sliver of light illumines a dark room enough to begin to “see.” Is this not a great grace!
It is truly not our works that bring this gift about. We can not boast of having won God’s grace, or his gift of faith by anything we have done or can do. Nothing we could do would be able to “earn” us such a gift. God’s gifts cannot be “bought” by our works. This is the truth. On the other hand, if we have received these gifts of grace and faith and we do not find ourselves willingly, happily, and humbly involved in good works because if it, then our faith will have no life in it. “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, [by good works] it is dead.” (James 2:17) This is the perfect logic of God. God gives to the willing receiver and, in turn, the receiver, in a natural desire to give thanks, does the will of God by joyfully serving his/her neighbor. When this happens, God increases his graces for us. This is the economy of Grace. What is given by God will always bring about a positive effect beyond the receiver. It is too great a gift to be held within.
Lord, we believe, help our unbelief. You are the source of all that is good in our lives. We pray that you continue, through your generosity of grace, to encourage within us a desire to give thanks to you in all that we think, say and do. We pray this, as always, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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