The gospel comes to us as an urgent call for conversion – “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14), but it does not suggest to us that we can do this in our own strength. Before we read the alarm call – “Wake up … “, we must read the words of Ephesians 2:4-5 – “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.”
We have not awakened ourselves. We have been awakened by the Lord. His love has reached us. His love has changed us. His grace – this is where our faith comes from. We were “dead.” He has “made us alive.”
We dare not look back to our decision for Christ, and say to ourselves, “This is what I have done for myself.” Before our decision, there is his grace. We look back, and we say, “This is what the Lord has done for me.”
From the limited perspective of our decision, we sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” When we begin to see the bigger picture, we learn to see that there is something more than this, and we sing, “He drew me, and I followed on.”
“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — 9 not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).