If someone asked you about your religion, or what you believe as a Christian, or even more importantly, how he or she can become a Christian, how would you reply?
Commit to memory the following verses found in Ephesians 2:8–9. In these two verses you can explain quite a bit of the gospel. You can write them out on a piece of paper and break down the meaning to help someone understand the gist of what we believe.
For by grace
you have been saved
And this is not your own doing;
it is the gift of God,
not a result of works,
so that no one may boast.
Ask: How would you define the word grace?
Circle the word grace in the context of the verse above.
Find out how the learner answers. Perhaps she refers to prayer before a meal or mercy.
Grace is a religious word, but the basic definition is “unmerited favor.” It’s
something we don’t deserve. In college if you missed the deadline to turn in
a paper and your professor gives you a few more days, it’s considered a grace
Ask: What’s another word you could use for saved?
Circle the word saved in the scripture you’ve written out.
Again, let the learner answer. This will help you get an idea of her spiritual understanding and even her spiritual background.
Saved is another word for rescued.
Ask: What are we rescued from?
We are rescued from separation from God, or death.
Ask: What are other words for faith?
Circle the word faith in the scripture you’ve written out.
The learner might answer believing or trust.
Faith is another word for belief. What’s interesting about this word belief is that it is not a passive belief like “I believe Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president” that has no bearing on our lives. This belief is one where we put our weight on the belief and back it up with our actions. We actually practice faith all the time. We take a piece of paper scribbled on by our doctor, bring it to a pharmacist who looks through rows and rows of pills, puts these pills into a bottle and we take it home and actually swallow those pills. We have faith in the doctor, we believe the pharmacist. We take the pills.
Ask: Who and what is our faith based on?
Let the learner answer to see if she understands that connection of giving our lives and trusting in Jesus’ death for the forgiveness of sin and new life in Christ.
Now let’s look at the word gift.
Circle the word gift in the scripture.
Ask: What is the difference between a gift and a reward?
A reward is something you get when you’ve earned something.
A gift has no strings attached.
If I said, “You can have this pen if you do ten push-ups,” the pen would be a reward. If I gave you this pen (hold out the pen) as a gift, when does it become yours?
When you take the pen and receive the gift is when it becomes yours. In the same way, this gift of eternal life is held out to everyone, but each person must decide if they will receive the gift.
Our faith is not based on our good outweighing our bad. It’s not based on how many brownie points we earn with God.
We can take Ephesians 2:8–9 and put into our own words what the verses mean:
For by unmerited favor
We have been rescued from sin, death and judgment
through believing, a belief we put our weight on,
not as a result of doing good deeds and getting a reward, but by taking the gift
of eternal life offered by Jesus.