2 You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ[a]—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 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.
Second post for tonight because had to catch up on missing last night’s post. I may blog about this passage again tomorrow, we’ll see. What’s speaking to me tonight, though, is Paul’s emphasis that salvation comes by grace. Now, this is an obvious theme of Paul and one of the 2 foundational doctrines of the Christian faith (the other is Trinity). Salvation by grace through faith is obvious to everyone within 10 feet of othodox Christian faith…
… and yet….
….we tend to de-emphasize the Means of Grace in the life of the church.
I’m 100% convinced, I think, that helping facilitate the connection between out people and the means of grace is the most important thing we pastors can do.
Think about it- If we’re saved by grace, and in our churches we aren’t paying attention to the ways in and though which grace moves in and out of the lives of our people, then we are missing out on the very ways the result of which our people are saved, made new, and formed into Christlikeness. If that’s true, then we are in danger of becoming the very thing the average atheist views the church as: just another human-made system designed to help people cope, feel better about themselves, control morality and ethics, and exert power, many times inappropriately. IF we neglect the means of grace… IF our people never really connect with grace… then we are basically practical atheists. Such a church can do a lot of stuff, even in Jesus’ name, and never really see anyone truly changed.
I think that’s one of the things I like about Lent. Among other things, it offers us the chance to examine how the means of grace are working in our lives, and what patterns of living may we delete from or add to our lives in order to be better aligned toward the flow of God’s grace.