Today my dad preached an excellent sermon based on Ephesians. The following, in particular, made a tremendous impact upon me. I've read it before, of course, and I've also heard sermons based on the text, but today Ephesians 2:1-10 really struck me!
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
What a wonderful passage! It amazes me that I was so dead, as dead as the worst sinner, yet God had mercy on me and called me to Himself!! And how glad I am that it is by grace and not works that I'm saved, for how could I ever do enough "good works" to please a perfect God?
That's not to say I shouldn't do good works, because the scriptures declare, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2:26). Clearly good works must follow salvation, but Praise God!, my salvation did not, does not, depend upon what I do, or don't do!