A very good morning to you my precious friends and family.

Ephesians 2 verses 8 and 9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast”

The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians living in Ephesus while he was in a Roman prison. The letter was later broken down into six chapters. The first three chapters focus on God's grace, and the last three on how believers are to respond to that grace. As a whole, they paint a picture of God's plan for redeeming humanity from its sinful state.

As children, we all loved to receive gifts. A gift meant we were loved. We weren't concerned about the "strings attached" to the gift. It was just a gift — a free expression of love we didn't deserve, given to you/me by someone who truly cared for us.

A gift is something that becomes ours when we reach out and take it as our own when it is offered to us. A gift is something that is given because of the generosity and love of the giver. A gift is something to be treasured because of the love of the giver and something for which we should be thankful for. It always costs the giver something.

There is a touching song by Joni Mitchell called “For Free.” It is based on her experience of hearing a street musician playing the clarinet on a street corner in New York. Nobody was paying the musician any attention, even though he was playing so beautifully. Passers-by ignored his lovely sweet music because he was not famous.

Joni pondered the difference between his playing for free compared to her own commercial performing, and she wanted to respond to him. She thought of going and asking him for a song, or perhaps harmonizing with him. Finally, she leaves it an open question whether she crossed the street to join him, or just continued on her way when the light changed.

Do we value free music, free fresh air, free clean water, or do we take such things for granted? For Christians, who affirm that God’s great love for us in Jesus Christ is a free gift, it is worth considering whether we have taken stock of that gift’s true value. Remember the saying: “The best things in life are free!”

Salvation is a gift, not a reward for our labours. If we could earn it, it would be what is owed us and not a gift. We are saved by the grace of God, period. It is God’s invitation for us to be embraced in His love. It is God reaching out to us inviting us to enjoy the blessings of living in fellowship with Him. He gave His very life so that we can have eternal life. All we have to do is to accept His gift and enjoy it to the fullest.
Consider the cost of God’s gift of salvation. He sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins. For the only time in eternity, God and His Son weren’t together. On the cross, God had to turn His back on Jesus because He had our sins on Himself. Jesus suffered not only the horrific agony of dying on the Roman cross, He tasted the horrific guilt and shame of our sins, even though He Himself had never sinned. Salvation is the most precious gift man could ever receive.

Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us that God saved us by His special favour when we believed. And we can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

These powerful verses summarize the main point of the gospel. We are sinners who need a Saviour and can only be saved by God's grace. We must put our faith in Jesus who died on the cross to pay for our sins; and we are brought into relationship with our Creator God.

At the cross, God has poured out His grace for salvation. God’s riches, at Christ’s expense, were extended to us. So undeserved!

His grace bought our redemption through the blood of Jesus. It washed away our sins and justified us in God’s sight. He sees us as clean, washed as white as snow, just as if we had never sinned at all.

Though He was rich, the Lord Jesus Christ emptied Himself and became poor for our sakes, suffering death on the cross. His poverty made us rich; we are now co-heirs with Jesus of every treasure that He possesses.

Our salvation has everything to do with what Christ has done for us, and is based on His worth and His worthiness. Salvation is rooted in His merit and His excellence, the work that He carried out on Calvary’s Cross, when He offered up His sinless life to pay the price for our sin, freeing us from the guilt of sin and the penalty of sin – and breaking the suffocating power of sin in our lives.

All that humanity has to do to receive this eternal gift of salvation is to believe in the completed work of the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour… to have faith in Him… to believe on His name. God has freely given humanity the amazing gift of salvation to whosoever will trust in His redeeming work on Calvary – because God is gracious and God is good.

Have you accepted God’s gift of salvation yet? He does not withhold His gift from anyone who wants it.

Let us pray

Thank you, generous Father, for the gift of grace, the gift of faith, the gift of salvation, and most of all, the gift of Jesus. I am not worthy to receive such a gift, but I thank You in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, my Saviour in Whom I trust. I know I can never repay these gifts, but I look forward to personally saying "Thank you!" May we always appreciate its value, and what it cost You Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. In Your name I pray. Amen.

Much love and blessings to you from Maurice and Margaret