THE GIFT OF GOD – PART 1

Scripture reading for the day: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8 (KJV)

I got saved many years ago on an university campus in Ghana and I was privileged to be part of a bunch of teenagers at the time who were ferociously hungry for God. It was the beginning of the charismatic wave of the 1980s, and one of the events we got to attend was an Evangelist Morris Cerullo School of Ministry which was held on that college campus. Any time I read the scripture above, feelings of nostalgia arise in my heart because my understanding of it was largely shaped by what I learnt from this man of God as a teenager.

Salvation is primarily a work of grace, meaning that, it was all paid for by God. There is nothing we could ever do to earn it. Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Romans tells us that, “But God commendeth his love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” However, the mode of acquisition for this salvation, provided freely by grace, is through faith. This means that without faith we cannot receive salvation nor its ensuing benefits. Paul writing to the Galatians asked them; “…Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law or by the hearing of Faith?” Galations 3:2b. Obviously, they received it by the hearing of faith and not by works. What the Apostle Paul is saying in our verse of devotion for today is that we are saved by grace through faith and even that faith for salvation is not of ourselves, but a gift from God. In very simple language therefore, you cannot take credit for faith either because it is a gift from God as well. To illustrate this point, the Living Bible renders this verse as follows; “Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8 (TLB). Here, the word trust is substituted for faith and even the ‘trusting’ is not of yourself, it is also a gift from God.

Furthermore, the book of Romans enlightens us to the fact that God has dealt to every man ‘the measure of faith’. Faith therefore has a source, and that source is God. Many a time, in an attempt to illustrate what faith is, I have heard people say for instance, that they have faith that a chair will hold their weight. This could not be further from the truth because you do not need faith to sit on a chair of appropriate size and frame. It is common knowledge that such a chair will generally hold a person’s weight. Faith to be saved comes from God, and it is the same procedure required for exercising faith for anything else. It is not by accident that the scriptures say that, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” To put it simply, faith comes by hearing God. The Word of God or if you like, what God says concerning a particular situation in your life, is the vehicle for your faith. Aside from the fact that faith comes by hearing, it generally has got nothing to do with your five senses of feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling or tasting. Rather, it is a sixth sense exhibited by your spirit. Faith in its very essence defies natural laws and can therefore not be dependent on the five senses. Actually, it overrides the five senses on the basis of the spoken or revealed Word of God. Interestingly enough, within the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit featured in 1Corinthians 12 is the gift of faith. Though this gift refers to a special kind of faith (to believe for the uncommon and the unusual), it nevertheless illustrates the point that God is indeed the source of our faith.

Memory verse: “Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God.” – Ephesians 2:8 (TLB)