Grace vs Works
(8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
(9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.
I had a vision a few days ago of A man climbing a ladder. His back was to me and his back was also bare. I saw that he had what I will call meat hooks in his back and they had ropes on them. So the higher the man would try to climb, the deeper the hooks were digging into his back and the more he was prevented from climbing the ladder.
What I see here is that Grace makes the playing field level for all believers. The ladder is, I believe, indicative of man’s effort or works. The hooks are representative of religion. Religion is a very cruel taskmaster always telling you that you don’t measure up and pushing you to do more and more and then holding you back so that you never get there and then heaps condemnation upon you for not getting there.
Grace on the other hand is a free gift that can’t be earned by works and is given freely to all who come to Jesus and ask for it. Grace, being a gift, is not something that can be bragged about because it is not earned.
(7) For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
Grace is a gift that is received by trusting in Jesus finished work on the Cross. The ground is level at the cross.