For by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
As we open up the scene in 2 Ephesians Paul has already been encouraging the church he is writing to, Ephesus, in the amazing things God has done in them and will continue to do. He tells them in the first chapter that they are not orphans but adopted in love, that they belong in the Family of God, that they have an inheritance of salvation, that they are promised redemption and forgiveness through Jesus' sacrifice and that we are given the holy spirit. These are pretty weighty things. Paul also explains that Jesus is seated with God, at his righthand above all names- meaning he has the best seat in the house.
Then, as we move onto chapter 2, he begins to explain how this process of amazing blessing and life change came about. That we were dead in our sin but because of Jesus' sacrifice, because of his grace, we have been brought into life with Christ. This brings us to our passage, 2:8-9. Paul is explaining that the reason we are forgiven and adopted and even seated with Jesus now is because of the grace of God. Which means we did. not. deserve. it. But out of his love, he made up the lack that we brought, and gave it to us anyways.
you are not the exception
This is revolutionary for us. Because this means we don't have to, do anything to get a relationship with God besides say yes to him. We can't get it right enough times or read our bible enough times or be a good enough daughter, son, roommate or friend to get us to a place where we can earn a place in God's love or a relationship with him. Paul tells us this as a sobering fact, so that we won't boast about how we were so high and mighty that the Great High and Mighty wanted to be our friend- but for me it's much more freeing. It means I can stop striving, it means I can stop trying to earn what God has already given me as the sweetest most unfathomable gift of all. It means that I'm not the exception, it means that you are not the exception! One more time for the people in the back-- You Are Not The Exception!!! There is nothing we can do to earn it. God loves us so much that he chose to die for us so that the gap of sin that separated us couldn't be our separation any longer. You are covered, I am covered, all by the sweet grace of God that brings us to a place where we can breathe and be truly alive. It is because of God's love that he chose to give us grace, and it is because of his grace that we are alive in him. That Jesus chose to die as a sacrifice for our sin, so that we could be with him and be on the receiving end of life and all of these blessings Paul is writing about.
If you are like me, you can stop trying to earn what you have already been given. That could be God's love, that could be belonging, that could be acceptance- whatever it is, nothing can take away your place in God. If he calls me a daughter and I really believe that then I won't be looking/striving for someone to claim me as their friend, their someone that they care about or think is important because that need is satisfied in Christ. If you have been living under the pressure of striving striving striving, you can breathe. And if you have been hanging out on the other camp, which I find myself at most times too, you can call your entitlement to the things of God, your demanding for him to do whatever you ask him to etc. what it is- pride. And now you can let it go, because in the case of pride we still haven't even tapped into the overwhelming love that God has for us- because really pride comes from a place of lack and insecurity. So regardless of whichever side your on, lets just let it go and receive the love of God- its too good of a gift to turn down.
Father, thank you for your free gift of grace that you have given me. Thank you for making a way for me to know you, for me to live and live abundantly with you. God I ask that wherever my heart isn't fully affected by your grace, wherever there is pride and wherever there is striving, please make it known to me and teach my heart how to be loved by you. Thank you for your grace, thank you for who you are, thank you for loving me first. Please come and reveal yourself to me more. I love you, amen.