The Counts


2 Corinthians 5:18

As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it (6:1).

It’s likely you didn’t wake up this morning and think Hope my white blood cell counts are climbing!I did. Why? Due to a recent bone marrow transplant, my blood cells have been doing their own version of the “limbo” (“How low can you go?”). Low counts aren’t good. They mean you’ll have a tough time fighting off disease and that you might be dealing with some serious medical maladies. Those tiny little red-and-white blood cells can’t be seen, so most of us simply take them for granted.

The apostle Paul had to convince some first-century readers not to take for granted something they couldn’t see: God’s saving grace. Paul knew that some folks in the Corinth flock were focused on the wrong “counts.” Instead of claiming God’s grace alone for the basis of their salvation, they were still counting on their own righteous deeds. So Paul spelled it out: “All of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:18). To those still trying to conjure up their own holiness, he declared: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (v.21).

Today, as in the early days of the church, some of us are trying to earn our salvation. But to do so denies the grace of God and makes Jesus’ matchless sacrifice appear to be unnecessary. That’s why Paul wrote, “We beg you not to accept this marvelous giftof God’s [grace] and then ignore it” (6:1). To do so, would be saying to God, “Uh, thanks, but I’ll simply help myself.” Paul quotes from Isaiah 49:8 for the right view: “On the day of salvation, [God] helped you” (v.2).

What are you counting on?

—Tom Felten


Read Ephesians 2:8 and consider what Paul says about the source of our salvation.


What is the basis of your faith? How does the way you think and live reveal that you’ve been saved by grace through faith?