Tonight in church a guest speaker was talking about Ephesians 2:1-10. When he got to the often quoted verses 8 and 9 he gave an illustration that I had never heard. I have not thought it through completely, but I thought I would share what he had to say.
He commented that he used to think it was faith that saved us. According to these verses, it is God’s grace that does the saving, but it comes to us by faith. His illustration was something like this (loose translation from Spanish to English and the fact that I am paraphrasing 4 hours later).
If I am thirsty and I have a glass of water in front of me, I can use a straw to transport that water to my mouth and into my stomach. While the straw can’t quench my thirst, it can be the method by which the water is transported (or applied) to my body. Playing with the straw does not do any good until it is used to connect the life sustaining water with my stomach.
Faith is like the straw. People put trust in their faith and not in the grace of God that is actually what saves us. We need to apply the faith to transporting God’s grace into our lives for salvation.
His main point was that we don’t arrive in Heaven because of our own works and abilities. We arrive in Heaven because of what God, through Jesus Christ, did in our place. We have no ability to save ourselves, but we can trust in One who can save us.