Christmas: God’s Grace at Work
By Rick Warren
— December 21, 2011
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you 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.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT)
God says, “I will give you my grace.” What is grace? It’s when God gives you what you need — not what you deserve. Grace is when God says, “I’m going to take your problem and make it my problem.” Grace is God’s Riches given to you At Christ’s Expense.
The Bible 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” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).In other words, you can’t earn your way to heaven. You can’t work your way in. It’s just a gift.
Did you know that’s why we give gifts at Christmas? Because that’s when God gave the gift of his Son to you, by grace. We give gifts because God gave us the greatest gift at Christmas.
I know you can’t tell by the way I look today, but for three years I was a lifeguard. Every lifeguard knows you can’t save someone as long as they are trying to save themselves. If somebody is drowning and flailing around in panic, a lifeguard knows to just stay back for a few seconds and wait until they give up. Because if you try to save them while they’re trying to save themselves, they will pull you under, too.
When they finally give up and relax, you put your arm around them and just swim back to shore. It’s really quite easy.
God wants to save you. Jesus Christ wants to save you from your hurts, your habits, and your hang-ups. He wants to save you for his purpose and by his grace. But you have to quit trying to do it yourself. You have to relax. You need to let go and let God be God.
Watch a short video sample from Pastor Rick on the importance of love. Saddleback Resources offers 40 Days of Love, a six-week, video-based study for small groups or individuals that searches the Scripture for what love is, the characteristics of love, and how our relationships can be transformed by love.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2011 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.