Lent 1, Monday, Year B

Inspired by Ephesians 2:1-10 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NRSV) 

Much is made about what good Christians must do in order to be good Christians. To a point, this is a helpful consideration, as we were created in Christ Jesus for good works, which is the Christian way of life. But there’s a difference between a way of life and a reason for life. And our reason for the Christian life is God’s unearned gift of grace.

Through no merit of our own, God sent his only Son to die for us. Salvation comes through the grace of Christ. Period. There is nothing we can do to earn or deserve that grace. Being a ‘good’ Christian is not what determines our standing before God. Rather, our standing before God determines how we might live our lives.

In healthy human relationships, a person does something pleasing for another person not to compel greater favor or more love, but simply to make that person happy. Such is the way Christians are to approach good works. We don’t do them in order to manipulate God into loving us and granting us salvation; God already loves us and has granted us salvation. It’s in response to that love and salvation that we may live freely for one another, being the people God created us to be, not worrying if what we do is ‘good’ enough, and knowing that God loved us first. Living the Christian way of life is not the price of admission, but is itself part of the reward.

Let us pray. Gracious God, you desire good things for your people. Help us to live in response to your grace, that we may live joyful and peaceful lives, full of the all-encompassing love that comes from you. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.