“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
Ouch! What was that? I wondered as my right hand grazed my left in the warm, soapy water in the sink.
I pulled my left hand up to see what had caused the sudden jab. As my searching eyes landed on my ring finger, I gasped in horror. A sharp prong pointed to the empty space where the center stone of my engagement ring had sparkled for over 30 years. It was gone.
“What’s wrong?” Barry, my husband, asked when he saw my panicked searching.
Through the sob in my throat, I answered, “The diamond you gave me is gone.”
Memories of the day Barry proudly slipped the ring on my finger repeated in a devastating spin cycle. He, a teacher, had dug deep into his salary to purchase the ring, and three decades later, it was still my most treasured possession. That stone represented Barry’s deep love, full commitment and sacrifice.
I hunted for it endlessly, sweeping under furniture and scouring my walking route. While I looked, I wrestled with shame. Why did I neglect to have those prongs checked? It’s all my fault.
Weeks went by, and our anniversary approached. The day before, Barry laid out his plans to me. “Before we go to dinner, we’re going to the jewelry store to find a replacement stone for your ring!” he said with excitement.
I sat in stunned silence before I tearfully protested. “No,” I cried. “I lost the first one you gave me. I don’t deserve a new one.”
Barry folded me into his arms. “I love you, and I’m excited to give you this gift.” How his blue eyes sparkled as he gave me the present of a new stone for my original ring!
When I think about the gift of salvation, I imagine Jesus saying the same thing to us: “I love you, and I’m excited to give you this gift!” Jesus Himself is described as our Bridegroom. (Matthew 9:14-15) He offers each of us the priceless jewel of salvation, which leads to an incomparable life of a close, loving relationship with God. It’s a gift of grace — the undeserved favor of God — through our faith in Jesus.
Paul describes it this way in Ephesians 2:8-9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
None of us deserve Jesus’ precious gift of salvation because none of us are perfect. No matter how hard we try on our own, we’ve all done bad things, carried awful motives and harmed others. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NIV, emphasis added). Every human needs to be rescued from themselves.
Although each of us can honestly say, “That’s a gift I don’t deserve,” Jesus paid for our salvation with deep love, full commitment and the ultimate sacrifice. He gave His life to buy our rescue, and He offers it to each of us with great joy (and, I think, a sparkle in His eyes)!
Receiving the gift simply requires what I envision as a turn and a walk. We turn away from our sin and walk to a life of following Jesus.
I still haven’t found the original stone that was lost (although I still hold out hope!). But every time I catch the glint of the new one, I remember my husband’s grace and love. It has become a reminder of another gift, one even more precious, that I don’t deserve: salvation. A gift of grace and love … a gift available to all of us.
Lord Jesus, although I don’t deserve it, I long for the gift of salvation You want to give me. I turn away from my sin and toward You. I believe, and I give myself to You, Jesus, the One who loves me. Thank You for the priceless gift You give me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Revelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” (NASB1995)
If you have never surrendered your whole life to Jesus, what’s holding you back? How does it change things to know that He wants to give us the gift of salvation even though none of us deserve it?
If you have given your life to Jesus, how does it help you to remember that you don’t have to constantly work to earn the gift Jesus has given to you? He delights in giving you salvation more than any humans may delight in the gifts they give!
We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
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