Paul is emphatic: we have been saved by grace, not by our own efforts. If we could have saved ourselves, Jesus would not have had to die for our sins.
How do we understand the interplay between God’s grace and our efforts? First, it’s essential for us to believe, that we are saved by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8). Second, we need to recall Paul saying that God calls us to do “good works that God has prepared in advance” (2:10).
Paul isn’t referring to individual acts of kindness or service. He is speaking about a way of life. He is telling us that we, who were saved by grace, must respond to God’s gracious gift. The best and only response is to try to be just as gracious as He is, by doing charitable works of service for people in need.
Paul goes on to say that our charitable works are “prepared in advance” by God (Ephesians 2:10). In other words, we may think that our desire to reach out to someone in distress arose in our minds by itself when it actually came from the Holy Spirit.
People often believe they are too busy to help or their help won’t make much of a difference. Don’t let that happen! Resolve today to give back to the Lord through works of service. Lent is the perfect time to visit the sick or the elderly, to give to the poor, and to reach out to the wounded. It’s also the perfect time to get your children or grandchildren to join you.