The gift of salvation



None Can Boast

God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Ephesians 2:8-9

The Holy Club

Charles Wesley and two friends began a small Christian group at Oxford University in 1728. John Wesley, who had already graduated from Oxford, returned the following year as a tutor and assumed its leadership. Oxford students made fun of the group, referring to it as the “Holy Club” or “Methodists.”

The focus of the Holy Club was on religious self-discipline. Exhorting each other to live piously and do good works, they were motivated by the belief that they were working for the salvation of their souls.

George Whitefield was the first Holy Club member to question their practices. His solution, however, was to try to become a new creation through further extremes of self-denial. During Lent in 1735 he only ate a little coarse bread with tea. By Holy Week he was so weak that he could not study or even walk up a flight of stairs. After hitting bottom, he later wrote, “God was pleased to remove the heavy load, to enable me to lay hold of his dear Son by a living faith…”

On May 5, 1735, Whitefield wrote a letter to John Wesley, attempting to share what had happened to him. It would be three more years before the Wesleys found His gracious arms.


Have you ever found yourself trying to earn your salvation? Salvation is a gift to be received from God, and there is nothing we can do to earn it. Good works do not lead us to Christ—it is out of our relationship with Christ that good works flow.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten (Tyndale, 2003), entry for May 5.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House