Advent 3, Friday, Year B

Inspired by Philippians 3:12-16

“[F]orgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13b-14 (NRSV)

It is common, comforting, and completely true and appropriate to remember that whatever shortcomings or sins we have in our past are not counted against us when it comes to receiving God’s grace. It is less common, less comforting, yet also completely true and appropriate to remember that whatever achievements or good deeds we have in our past are not counted for us when it comes to receiving God’s grace.

It’s not that God doesn’t want us to be good people or do good things, but such deeds are not the basis for receiving the free gift of grace that is offered to us through his death and resurrection. Christ’s love alone is the basis for that gift.

Strive to live in right relationship with God, but do so knowing that such living is itself a gift from God, and not something you can do that will make God owe you his grace. We have new life in Christ; we are not owned or defined by our past failures or our past successes. We can only look forward to the ever renewing call of God in Christ Jesus.

Let us pray. Savior God, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Help us to trust in your grace, that we may view our own good deeds as evidence of your love, and not payment for it. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.