This devotional comes from Solid Joys, an Android and iOS application by John Piper’s Desiring God aimed to give us daily joy in God’s Words.
I have been taking all of the daily reading in this blog from Solid Joys and adding my own experiences to the devotionals.
Until lately, I have not been able to give my insights into the devotionals, but today I will give one as today’s reading focuses a lot on the Christian faith. Enjoy!
For by grace you have been saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:8)
The New Testament correlates faith and grace to make sure that we do not boast in what grace alone achieves.
One of the most familiar examples goes like this: “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). By grace, through faith. There’s the correlation that guards the freedom of grace.
Faith is the act of our soul that turns away from our own insufficiency to the free and all-sufficient resources of God. Faith focuses on the freedom of God to dispense grace to the unworthy. It banks on the bounty of God.
Therefore faith, by its very nature, nullifies boasting and fits with grace. Wherever faith looks, it sees grace behind every praiseworthy act. So it cannot boast, except in the Lord.
So Paul, after saying that salvation is by grace through faith, says, “And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). Faith cannot boast in human goodness or competence or wisdom, because faith focuses on the free, all-supplying grace of God. Whatever goodness faith sees, it sees as the fruit of grace.
When it looks at our “wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” it says, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30–31).
I have been reading Timothy Keller’s “The Prodigal God” and I found a great correlation here.
The book redefines the meaning of Christianity and literally ourselves by Jesus’s parable of “The Lost Son” (renamed by Keller as “The Two Lost Sons”). The parable told us about the prodigal younger brother who asked his father for his share of inheritance, wasted his treasures, regretted his decisions and came back to his father’s house to ask to become his servant. The father restored his younger son place in the family and despite the older son’s rejection to his younger brother, still asked his older son to enter the party for the return of the younger son.
Keller found two definitions of lostness in this parable. The first one is called “younger brother lostness” and is defined as runing away from God in our pride because we think we don’t need God in our life (which is a kind of paradox, since we do need God desperately in our life).
The second one – to our suprise – is “elder brother lostness” which involves obeying Godfaithfully in the means of controlling God. This type, as Keller wrote, while it is not externally perceivable, it is far more dangerous than “younger brother lostness”. In the parable, the older brother boasted about how he had been faithful to the father all the time and compared this faithfulness to his brother forsaking the whole family.
Keller then elaborated about this “elder brother lostness” being driven not by the love of God but the need and fear to fulfill his need. He also wrote that the Christian faith is driven by our love to God.
This devotional reminds us that our salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is what drives us to adhere to God and that it is all Lord’s grace that saves us, not ourselves.
I was an older brother and I was lost in all my pride and fear. I boasted a lot of my virtues and actions. But God woke me through this revelation that it has been all of His works, not mine.
Yet, I am still vulnerable of this shifting back to “elder brother lostness” nowadays, but everytime I begin to, God always reminds me of His love to me. This reminder of what drives me by God gives the strength to return to become what God wants me to be and He will do it to you too!
May Lord Jesus Christ blesses you through this reading!
*Note: I highly recommend you to download Solid Joys or read it through the internet because I won’t be doing this often now that I’m in my senior year. But I’ll try to do this sharing as often as I can.*