Paul's Letter to the Ephesians
I love Turkey--the country (although I like the bird too!) In particular, I was overwhelmed with walking the streets of Ephesus. It was inspiring to see the very city where Paul the Apostle walked. Looking around the ruins I could visualize Paul walking and talking with the believers, and later I could see the believers huddled in a small room, listening intently to a disciple reading the letter Paul would later send them. His letter to the churches in and around Ephesus emphasizes that salvation is by faith alone. Works alone will not offer salvation, only by grace through faith. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). It's good we can't do anything to earn our salvation, for there would be boasting, one upmanship, and a scrambling to show off good deeds. And truly, who on earth could grade our human efforts as being good enough? Thus, we have been saved by the gift of God's grace that is channeled through faith. This faith will bring us unity in the Body of Christ, giving us spiritual strength and a new life that is underscored with love and the desire to share the good news with those yet to understand God's free gift.
"that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).