Lest anyone should boast.

Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

This is another purpose construct. The NKJV is a bit more poetic, translating the purpose construct in verse 9 as, “lest anyone should boast.” This highlights another important aspect of the purpose construct – it’s about the possibility of something.

The reason that God made salvation by faith and not works is to preclude the possibility of our boasting. Back in verse 7, we saw that the purpose of God making us alive together with Christ was so that He might show His grace.

In today’s passage, it’s so important that we understand that salvation is not to our credit that Paul says it twice. It’s, “not of your own doing,” and it’s, “not a result of works.” Got it?

If Paul’s going to lock out any possibility of people boasting about their salvation, he has to make sure they understand it.

But notice where this leads. If the purpose of salvation by faith alone is to preclude boasting about it, then boasting about it must be an especially egregious sin.

Think about this; which is worse? Robbing a bank or boasting about your salvation?

That depends on your point of view. We tend to think about right and wrong in terms of damage done to people. That counts, but what about damage to God’s glory?

God’s glory is way more important. This gets tricky because laws cannot be made on that basis; they have to be about people. Anything else would be unconstitutional.

So, this forces a gap between a Christian’s view of right and wrong and the law’s view. Everything the law views as wrong, we agree is wrong – but we recognize other wrongs the government doesn’t care about (and shouldn’t care about). Furthermore, some of those religious crimes are much worse.

So, no one will ever get arrested for boasting about their salvation – not should they – but the idea should send chill through you. It’s so offensive to God that the design of the gospel is structured to rule it out.

And there’s another layer to consider. If outright boasting about your salvation is record setting wrong, what about just looking down on non-believers? They’re in a state we were once in – a state that clearly isn’t permanent.

Still, frustration in evangelism can easily devolve into disrespect. Looking down on others is a universal sin. Do not think you’re immune.

Looking down on unbelievers is an evil every Christian must be aware of and explicitly fight against.

The weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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