“For it is by grace you have been saved…not by works so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8,9
Writing a résumé is an intimidating task.
Trying to encapsulate your skills and work experience on a sheet of paper is both an art and a science.
Once you’ve meticulously crafted your résumé, you can post it on any number of websites. LinkedIn, a popular professional networking site, has over 706 million users in 150 countries. Spend a few minutes perusing LinkedIn and you’ll encounter an abundance of highly accomplished individuals.
When it comes to our spiritual lives, millions of us live as if we can build a spiritual résumé that’s impressive enough to qualify for heaven. Here are some items we often try to include on our spiritual “LinkedIn” page:
- Being a good citizen
- Possessing moral character
- Treating others with kindness and respect
- Giving to charities
- Loving our spouse and children
- Knowing information about Jesus/Bible
The Bible encourages all of these behaviors, but don’t be deceived: none of them can earn your place in heaven. No matter how remarkable our so-called “spiritual résumé” might be, our best will always fall woefully short. Paul makes this crystal clear when he says our salvation is “not by works.”
In our performance-driven society, this sounds startling – maybe even a little offensive. In time, however, we must come to humbly admit our need for a Savior and embrace salvation as something we receive, not achieve. The only thing we can do is place our trust in what Jesus has done on our behalf.
We are saved by grace (unmerited favor), through faith in Jesus alone (Eph 2:8). To reject this message is to reject the very heart of the Gospel.
For those of us who are already Christians, we have to resist the subtle urge to consider the Gospel as elementary, as the “kindergarten” of Christianity. Reading a text like Ephesians 2 (please read it) should incite our hearts to joyful worship, for we were once “dead” but now we’re “alive” (Ephesians 2:5).
We never graduate from the need of God’s grace, nor should we ever take His grace for granted.
The same grace that saved us in the past sustains us in the present.
Honestly, when is the last time you thanked God for the “grace on which you stand?”(Romans 5:2)
Christians can also easily drift into a ‘résumé-like’ mentality that is works-based, momentarily forgetting that salvation is by grace alone. Martin Luther, the famous German Reformer, taught that the gospel must be continually pounded into our heads in hopes of it making its way into our hearts. Oh, how true!
No matter how you would categorize yourself on the spiritual spectrum – whether a committed Christian or someone investigating the claims of the Bible – I invite you to crumple up your spiritual résumé and receive the amazing, liberating, life-changing grace found in Jesus Christ.
Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director of RFTH