Ash Wednesday—Amazing Grace
An unusual event transpires on Ash Wednesday each year. We often see men and women with ashes in the form of a cross on their foreheads. It is a visible reminder that “dust [we] are, and to dust [we] shall return” (Genesis 3:19). It begins for many a period of fasting and self-denial. It is a good reminder that the only way to please God is not by what we do—or refrain from doing—but by accepting his gracious offer of forgiveness made possible through Christ’s shed blood on the cross.
Salvation is God’s work, not our work. “For by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:8a). Our salvation begins with Jesus—not with us. It is not His response to any good works we may do or evil works from which we’ve refrained. Salvation is provided for us wholly because of His grace, His unmerited favor toward you and me. The Father did not send His only Son to die for our sins because we kept begging and pleading for Him to do so. It was by His grace alone.[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Nehemiah Code: An Interview with O. S. Hawkins]
Salvation is God’s work in God’s way, not our way. It is “through faith . . . not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8b). I want to shout those words—“Through faith . . . not of yourselves . . . not of works!” No amount of doing good deeds or abstaining from certain pleasures can earn God’s favor. Salvation is wholly by grace, through our faith in Christ alone . . . God’s gift to us.[Read Bible Gateway Blog posts in The Code Series by O. S. Hawkins]
No matter what you do or don’t do, or what you give or give up, your salvation is not spelled D-O but D-O-N-E! Today remember that Christ paid a huge price to redeem you. It is already done! Your part is to receive this gift by faith.
[It is] not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us. —TITUS 3:5
Lord, thank you for giving me what I never deserved—grace! And for your mercy in not giving me what I do deserve. No wonder we call it “amazing grace”! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Learn more from O.S. Hawkins by signing up for his devotional series, ‘Codes for Christian Living.’
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The above article is excerpted from The Passion Code: 100 Days with Jesus by O.S. Hawkins. Copyright © November 2019 by Thomas Nelson. Published by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com. Pages 190-191. All rights reserved.
The Passion Code is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: O. S. Hawkins has served pastorates, including the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, for more than 25 years. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, he has three earned degrees (BBA, MDiv, and DMin) as well as several honorary degrees and is presently a PhD candidate at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the president of GuideStone Financial Resources, with assets under management of 16 billion dollars, serving 250,000 pastors, church staff members, missionaries, doctors, university professors, and other workers in various Christian organizations with their investment, retirement and benefit service needs. He is the author of more than 40 books, and speaks regularly to business groups and churches all across the nation. All of the author’s royalties and proceeds from the entire Code series go to support Mission:Dignity. You can learn more about Mission:Dignity by visiting MissionDignity.org.
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