For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
In Romans 4, Paul contrasts the difference between a wage and gift.
Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. Romans 4:4-5
When you work for your right standing with God, then it’s accounted to you as a wage. The problem is that God requires perfection, so the wage becomes a debt against you that you’ll never be able to pay. None of us will ever be able to meet his requirements for righteousness, but he knew that, and he sent his Son to take our sin and give us his righteousness as a gift.
So, what is this gift that we have received by grace?
The gift is salvation, but again, we are so familiar with this word. Do we really know what it means to be saved? What are we saved from?
To fully understand what it means, let’s go to the original language of the New Testament. This word “saved” comes from the Greek word “sozo.” This word literally means “to be made whole in our body, soul and spirit.” Too often, we think of it as being saved from hell. Salvation is so much more than that. Jesus didn’t just die to keep you out of hell–he died to make you whole (Isaiah 53:4-5), give you freedom (John 8:32), and to give you an abundant life (John 10:10).
Condemnation, guilt, fear, panic, depression, and anxiety are often the results of deep, emotional wounds and trauma. You need to know that Jesus died to set you free from those crippling things, so that you can live life abundantly. He died to make you whole!
Like the word “saved,” I believe we have also become too familiar with this word “faith.” We’ve given it a variety of meanings and variations. She’s of this faith and he’s of that faith. If I just had more faith…, etc.
Again, let me go back to the original language. This word “faith” comes from the Greek word “pistis.” Throughout the New Testament, it is translated as “faith”. Interestingly, the verb variation of this word is “pisteuo,” which is translated as “believe.” The word “faith” in the New Testament simply means “belief” or “believing.” To have faith is simply to believe. It is no more complicated than that.
Now, let’s combine these three phrases: By grace, you have been saved, through faith. (Ephesians 2:8)
Here is my paraphrase: When you can truly believe that righteousness in Christ is a gift from God, you will be made whole in your body, soul and spirit.