No Bragging Rights
Saturday - February 5th
Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 2:1-10
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
Describing himself, the great world champion of boxing, Mohamad Ali famously said, "I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Ali had a way with words. Most of them were about him.
In a post-boxing match victory, one of the institutions of sports broadcasting, Howard Cosell, inquired about Ali's humility. The boxer's response was simply, "It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am."
While Ali may not have been described as the humblest of people in his time, he was an unbelievable champ. Because of what he accomplished; Ali did have bragging rights. No one could accuse Ali of boasting about something he did not accomplish. But, again, he might have had bragging rights for his accomplishments, but he had little or no humility.
The Apostle Paul makes it quite clear in the Book of Ephesians that none of us are saved by our good works or best efforts. Our good intentions even fail to measure up. I love how Paul reminds us that God's grace saves us as we express our faith in Christ. Our good works do not save us. Nor does our faith. It is the undeserved goodness we do not deserve (grace) that God shows on us at the moment of saving faith.
"It is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). Salvation is a gift. You do not earn a gift. You do not pay it off over time. The gift can no longer be described as a gift if you do either. Our efforts don't save us. Christ's work on the cross does.
Paul continues by saying that our salvation is "not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 1:9). None of us can take credit for or boast about our salvation. God designed it and did it. He gets all the glory. We get no bragging rights when it comes to our redemption.
Understanding this shapes how we approach our Christian life. We have nothing to prove to God. We get to live lives of gratitude and appreciation. We have the privilege of pointing others to Him by our words and by our lives.
Understanding that God saves us by His grace - and His grace alone - is critical for us as we live the Christian life. It is all about Him and his love for us - not us apart from Him. How great is our God's gracious gift of life in Him! He gets all the glory, and we get no bragging rights. But we get the forgiveness, peace, satisfaction, and joy of knowing Him!
Others may brag about themselves. But, as followers of Christ, we get to give all glory and honor to God!