And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:1-10
Perhaps you know someone who is prone to let you know of his good deeds. I’ve known people who make a point of telling me how much they give to the church, how long and in what offices they have served, or how they were responsible for hiring key staff. Maybe you know someone who will let you know how many years she has volunteered at her church, or how many hours she has spent in community service at the rodeo.
I’m not certain any of these are trying to impress God. Hopefully they know better than that. But I do suspect they are trying to impress us. Let me speak for myself here: Too often greatness is lost on me. And that’s mostly because I really don’t think I have much to offer in return to some big wig. My acknowledgement or praise doesn’t seem like much to me. I figure people who make a difference in this world don’t really need my kudos. Nor do I want to be a hanger-on to anyone.
Bottom line: Boasting is of no value whatsoever. We cannot impress God. And if we manage to impress someone else, what does that make them or us? It’s like saying that I married “way up.” If that’s true, what does that make my wife? Foolish for settling for so little? Someone who needed an inferior person in order to make her way through life?
No. Better we recognize that we were all dead in our trespasses, and we’ve all been saved by grace. We didn’t have anything to do with it. We are graced by God, and now He is working on us – master craftsman that He is – and preparing good works for us to walk in.
Let’s not brag, except about God’s grace and goodness, for He did all the work necessary for our salvation when Jesus lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, rested in the tomb and rose from the dead. He reigns now and will return at the end of time, and we will be with Him forever…all by his grace. In the meantime, we have some walking to do.