«For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast» (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
IT IS SAID that when King Alfonso XIII was awarding the writer and philosopher Miguel de Unamuno with the highest prize, he said to him, «It is an honor for me to receive this award that is so deservedly granted me.» When the king heard this, he could not hide his surprise. He was always used to receiving words of humility from those receiving the awards, so he said to him, «Heavens! Don Miguel, you are the first one to say this to me. Until now, all those honored have said they did not deserve such an honor.”
Unamuno added, «And they were probably not wrong.»
If you had been the one given the award, do you think you would have done the same thing Unamuno did or just the opposite? Would you have identified with the idea that you did not deserve such an honor? Concerning spiritual questions, do we really deserve the prize that Jesus is offering us: eternal life? No, of course not; it has nothing to do with deserving it (works, merits), but with faith (it is only by grace). The Bible is very clear about this, so we have no reason to be confused about it. As proof, here are three examples:
«Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace» (Romans 11:5, 6).
» Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe» (Romans 3:20-22, NIV).
«You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love» (Galatians 5:4-6).
No, it is not by merit; it is by grace; it is through love. Thank goodness, because on the contrary, there would no one winning the prize.