Lent 25 - The After
The apostle Paul was an incredibly gifted writer. He used his words to tug on our emotions and focus on what is truly important.
After reminding us of our innate tendencies to choose darkness over light, Paul reminds us that even though we fall short of God's expectations for us, God still loves us and saves us.
It is because of God's love for us, not by any work of our own, that we are forgiven and saved. This is why, no matter how many times we fail and make mistakes, we do not have to work our way back into God's favour. All we need to do is repent of our shortcoming, return to Christ, and we receive another chance; a fresh start.
In our 11th devotion for this Lent season, we learnt about how, like Abraham, we are made righteous because of our faith. The danger with this understanding is that we can end up thinking that we still need to do something in order to receive God's faith - after all, having faith is doing something, right?
Paul goes further in our reading today to help us understand that it is "by grace that we have been saved, through faith" (verse 8). Faith is important, it is the vessel through which grace works. But it is God's grace that ultimately saves us; it is a free gift that we receive and there is nothing that we can or ought to do to earn it. This is why no-one can brag about their faith.
When we understand this deep truth of God's gifts of love and grace, regardless of our shortcomings, we can better accept God's forgiveness and live into our calling as God's children.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You that You have wiped my sins as far as the East is from the West. Thank You that You have given me another chance, a fresh start. May I use this fresh start to recommit my life to You, to glorify You in all that I do. Amen.
Image Source: Steve Halama