The Coat-Tail Effect

Read Ephesians 2

“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. For we are God’s workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which
God prepared in advance for us to do.”
(Ephesians 2:8-10)

Thoughts… These are perhaps three of the most revolutionary verses in the entire Bible, dramatically revealing how our salvation really came about. Basically, Paul is telling us that we are saved totally by the love, grace, mercy, will and power of God. We had very little to do with it—except to simply, humbly and gratefully receive this marvelous gift. And even then, God helped us with that. This is the coat-tail effect: God did all the work, now we get a free ride on his efforts.

So what does this mean for me? Plenty! Among the countless numbers of ramifications, one of the most enjoyable is that I can sit back and simply rest in this wonderful gift of salvation provided in Christ Jesus.

Let me spell out 4 things from these verses using the word REST that you can try as a response of worship for your salvation:

Reflect: First of all, this week, reflect on God’s grace. Verse 8 says “it is by grace you are saved…” Verses 4-5 say, “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead…” You did nothing to save yourself and make you acceptable to God. You were dead! Do you know what a dead person can do to be un-dead?  Nothing—except lay there and be dead! It was all up to God—so just spend some time thinking about that…and it will lead to this…

Express: Express your gratitude to God for the gift of salvation. Express prayer of thanksgiving every day up to and including Thanksgiving Day specifically for the gift of eternal life he has given you. Do you realize how marvelous this gift is? Verse 8 goes on to say that every aspect of your salvation “is the gift of God.” Even the faith to believe was God’s gift, according to the grammar of that verse. God has even provided you the ability to believe—how awesome is that?

Stop: Stop working for what you already have—approval! Verse 10 says “you are God’s workmanship…” God does not accept or approve of you based on your efforts—he does so based on Christ’s work. You were “created in Christ Jesus.” You are his masterpiece! So whenever you feel the need to perform for your worth—quit! You’re already worthy. Just take delight in God and what he’s done for you through Jesus. Delighting in God is a very spiritual matter—and it’s appropriate! So stop working for approval and enjoy God this week!

Trade: Trade your ‘to do’ list for God’s. Verse 10 says you were created, “to do good works which God prepared in advance for you to do.” Once you’re freed from the need to work for approval and acceptance, you can do the works that arise out of grace—those are the “good works prepared in advance for you to do.” What are those good works? I don’t know, but as Augustine once said, “just love God and do as you please,” and I have a feeling you’ll be just fine!

A flea was riding on an elephant’s ear when they came to an old wooden bridge. And as they crossed the bridge wobbled badly and almost collapsed. When they got the other side the flea said to the elephant, “Boy, we shook that bridge, didn’t we?”

Friend, you’ve crossed over the bridge of faith ridding on someone else’s efforts. So quit trying to add to it—it’s already done. Quit trying to get there—you’re already there. Just rest and enjoy the ride. Enjoy who you are in Christ based on what he’s done for you on the cross.

Prayer… Father, I am your workmanship. I am your masterpiece. How marvelous the thought! Enable me to live up to that and honor your design in everything I think, say and do.

One More Thing…
“Delighting in God is the work of our lives. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” —John Piper

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