By His Grace Alone
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When I first got my dog, I was determined to teach him all kinds of tricks. We’d spend summer evenings out in the backyard with my pockets full of little training treats. I taught him to sit, shake, lay down, and roll over. I never taught him anything more extravagant than that, but now he’s really good at the basics. Actually, maybe too good at the basics.
Nowadays, anytime anyone is anywhere near his treat jar, or even just snacking on something that he’d like a bite of, he starts running through all of the tricks he knows. Without being asked he’ll sit, offer his right paw to shake, followed by his left, he’ll lay down, and finally roll over. He does whatever he thinks will please you enough to earn him a treat.
Unfortunately, this is a lot like what my relationship with God used to look like. Instead of walking in loving relationship with my Creator, I was just constantly trying to please Him, running through all of the “tricks” I knew. I thought if I could just please God enough, if I could prove myself to Him, then He would love me and bless me.
God is our loving Father. He does not desire this type of transactional relationship with us! We cannot earn or bribe our way to His love and blessings.
Simon the magician learned this lesson when he ran into the apostles in Samaria. When he saw the works that the apostles were doing by the power of the Holy Spirit, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power!” (). But Peter said to him:
“May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.” ()
I never tried to bribe God with physical money, but my heart was in the same place as Simon's. God cannot be bribed with money, actions, good intentions, or anything else that we think will gain us His favor and blessing. As Jesus reminds us in, HE is the way. HE is the truth. HE is the life. No one comes to the Father except through HIM!
May God bless us with the wisdom and humility to remember that we are saved by His grace alone. There is nothing we can do to earn or purchase our own way into the Lord’s favor. The price for our salvation has already been paid by Jesus Christ. Lord, help us to trust in You fully!
Scripture is quoted from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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