fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Boasting in God’s handiwork


Boasting in God’s handiwork by Julie McAllen

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph 2:8-9)

Notice that our salvation is by grace. In other words, there is no work to be performed. As it says, it is the gift of God. And it is past tense, not “God will save me if…” but rather “you have been saved.” Why did God choose to do it this way as a free gift? The reason given is that we don’t have any cause to boast. You know, like “well God chose me because I shovel snow off that elderly woman’s porch every winter” or… “I don’t smoke, drink or cuss, that’s why God loves me.” We come up with all kinds of them. It’s all very self-directed when you think about it. Glory to self, not glory to God.

Without grace, we might have reason to boast.

1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Ro 4:1-3)

God gets the glory even in the fact that someone announces they’re saved. “I am saved.” No boasting there, only in the fact that God gave it as a free gift.

Who gets upset? The people who are working hard to gain it! Isn’t that the nature of us all? Don’t we get a little jealous when someone receives for FREE what we’re working hard for?

That’s the drama of Ishmael who persecuted Isaac. It still happens today. An approach to God is either one way or the other. A person severely retards their growth in the Spirit by clinging to a religion that encourages salvation through works. God’s word clearly tells us they are at odds and one must get out of the way.

28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” (Gal 4:28-30)

So, if saved by grace, we are as Isaac was, a child of the promise born of the Spirit. We ought to expect some persecution from those who practice religion according to their flesh by following rules for their salvation. They can boast about their works, we can boast in the cross and the grace given us there. How can the two be yoked together? When a religion puts a yoke on it’s people to all do the same thing in order to gain salvation, it shuts out the voice of the Spirit in their lives. And Paul advised the Galatians to “drive out the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”

We have an inheritance. It’s not going to be realized however if we cling to a mindset of works. We are God’s handiwork, not our own. Are there works at all? Indeed. But no work is performed in order to receive God’s grace, as noted it was ALREADY poured out on us. So Ephesians 2:8-9 follows with verse 10….

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do

Once saved, we become a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17) and now can rightly be called “God’s handiwork” as He molds us into the people He originally intended us to be for His glory. When He knitted us together in our mother’s wombs, He had in mind the work He wanted us to do. Would he knit someone together with a gift of music and then expect them to build houses for salvation? No, He SAVES them so they can now sing songs for Him! It glorifies God and makes us happy when we use the gift that comes most natural to us. God PREPARED each of us with something unique. He gave it to us in advance, before He even called us to salvation.

We are a delightful new creation of His, not worms groveling at the throne of the Almighty. So give Him glory by boasting in His handiwork! Accepting the gifts He bestows is not self-directed glory when you recognize them as received by grace. So go ahead, display your beauty, the boast belongs to God.

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (1 Co 4:7)

Keep yourself in God’s love,
Julie
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July 31, 2011 - Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments

  1. Thank you Julie for keeping us centered in our unconditional gift of grace.
    It is refreshing to see how each of these “fruits” are unfolding in our lives, and learning to use them.
    You and Linda are wonderful writers, leading me personally to motivate my sluggish self to come closer to God!

    Comment by Brenda S | August 2, 2011

  2. Julie your testimony and your love for the Lord is very encouraging to me. I am in the process of waking up to “the truth about the truth” and trying to save my family from the WT.

    God Bless,
    “JJ”
    jwstruggle.com

    Comment by JJ | December 16, 2011


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