If you’ve been in Church for a while, you’re no doubt familiar with the following verse:
“For by grace you are saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves: It is the gift of God – not by works – so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)
Now, let’s put Strong’s definition from above into this verse:
For by God’s Divine Influence on our hearts and its Reflection in our Life we are saved through faith; and this is not of ourselves: It is the gift of God – not by works – so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (changes made for emphasis)
It was God’s divine influence on our heart (our mind, will and emotions) that led us to acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. How did He do this? Is He finished once we received Jesus, or is there more? What part does His Grace play in the highs and lows of life?
Here’s my story:
It took approximately 20 years for His divine influence to maximize its reflection in my life for salvation! God’s influence on my thought life, decision-making-life and emotional life, took 20 years to bring me to the point of salvation. Every moment of His influence mattered.
At one moment in time, the point of conviction grew so heavy on me that I awakened. His influence and its reflection in my life drove me to my knees. I willingly made Jesus my Savior and Lord. He waited 20 years for me to wake up to His Grace! My will was stubborn. The power of His patience is amazing. He is longsuffering, determined and the perfector of our faith. He is working out our salvation before we are!
Is God doing the same in everyone? Yes! No matter how contrary they seem I believe this truth is happening in everyone on the planet, but the choice remains theirs. Here’s proof:
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
God’s influence is extended to all people, but only at the point of faith does His grace go into overdrive and His reflection manifest in their lives. Here’s the rest of Titus 2:11:
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age. (NIV)
God’s grace initiates a supernatural change, beginning with salvation but continuing forever.