By grace you have been saved …

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry” (Jonah 2:2).

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins … But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:1,4-5).

Jonah’s situation was desperate. Our situation is desperate. Jonah could easily have given up in despair. He could have said, “This is the end. Now, there’s no hope for me.” He didn’t do this. What did he do? He called out to the Lord. Where did this cry to God from? Jonah tells us – “Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).

What about us? God’s Word doesn’t tell us to pull ourselves together. It tells us that we need to be saved by the Lord – and it, also, tells us this: “By grace you have been saved.” In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul speaks about “faith” and “works” – but, first, he speaks about “grace.” This is important. Without grace, there can be no faith, and there can be no works. In our salvation, everything comes from the grace of God. When, in grace, God reached out to us, where were we? – We were “dead in our transgressions and sins.” Without the grace of God, our situation is utterly hopeless. Can this hopeless situation be turned around? Yes – “By grace you have been saved … this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

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