Grace Destroys Human Boasting

Peter T. O’Brien’s commentary on Ephesians 2:9 regarding the grace of God is outstanding:

The divine intention in providing salvation apart from any human effort or achievement is to exclude all human boasting….As Paul attacks the doctrine of justification by works, so he opposes all boasting based on self-trust. According to Romans 3:21-26 justification is grounded in the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, and it comes as a gift from God. Every attempt to affirm oneself before God by boasting in one’s own achievements is excluded, according to Romans 3:27. To boast is tantamount to putting one’s confidence in the flesh, and this the apostle decisively rejects (cf. Phil. 3:3; Gal. 6:13). Men and women are in no position to claim even the slightest credit for their acceptance with God (note Paul’s argument in Rom. 4:1-8). But in the gospel of reconciliation by which justification comes through Christ’s death, men and women are now able to ‘boast in the Lord’ (Rom. 5:9-11; 1 Cor. 1:31; Phil. 3:3). Here in Ephesians the apostle makes it plain that salvation by grace destroys all human boasting. Men and women have nothing which they can bring as their own to the living God.  (The Letter to the Ephesians, 177-178)

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