Devotion and Prayer for Week of July 28, 2013

Meditation for the week of July 28, 2013

  

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —– it is by grace you have been saved.”

                                                                                                                        Ephesians 2:4

 

As a pastor, I am often asked by parishioners for advice on how to read the Bible.  For whatever reason, for many Christians, the thought of delving into the Word of God can be a little intimidating.  It is not that they can’t read the words but they are concerned about understanding them correctly.  Well, one bit of advice that I always give to help us better understand the Word of God is this:  “take note of who is ‘driving’ the verbs.”

What I mean by that is, when you read the bible, take note of who is the one doing something.  Take the above passage from Ephesians, for example.  Chapter 2 of Ephesians is one of the most magnificent chapters in the Bible but pay special attention to verse 4.  St. Paul, talking about our salvation, encourages us by showing that God is the one who is saving us.  In fact, what we see is that he does it all!

Paul tells us that God, being rich in mercy, “made us alive.”  God made us alive!  He is driving the verb.  When it comes to our salvation, we don’t make ourselves alive; God does it!  In truth, as Paul states, we were dead because of our transgressions and sin.  Actually, the very thought that somehow we who were dead can make ourselves alive is in and of itself silly!  What can a dead person do to make himself alive again?  The answer is obvious:  nothing!

Spiritually speaking, all people are dead because of sin.  We may not like the thought of that but the Bible is clear:  we can do nothing to save ourselves.  We cannot make ourselves right with God because, being dead, we were powerless to do so.  It is God, because of Christ’s death on the cross, who makes us right with him.  He does it, covering our sin with the blood of Jesus and taking we who were dead in our sins and giving us the gift of life.  When it comes to the language of our salvation, God is always the one “driving the verbs!”

And why does he do this?  He does it because of his great love for us.  Here too, what we see is that God did not wait for us to love him.  If that were the case, he would be waiting for a long time because, remember, if dead people can’t do anything, they certainly cannot love.  Instead, he is purely and simply motivated by his own love, his own self-sacrificing, other-focused, love to save us.  That is Paul’s point.  We do nothing to save ourselves.  We don’t work to earn it.  We don’t try to get God to love us first.  Instead, God does it all.

“It is by grace you have been saved.”  “Grace” means that God has done it.  It means that he has done it with no merit or worthiness on our part.  Our salvation is completely his gift to us, and when you read the Bible, the more you notice who is “driving the verbs” you will see that God has saved you!  Him and him alone!

Our Weekly Prayer

Almighty God, Everlasting Father, in your goodness and grace you reached out to we who were dead in our sins and made us alive.  You saved us not because of anything we have done but simply by your grace on account of Jesus sacrificial death on the cross.  Help us each day to see the power of your love for us demonstrated through the cross of Jesus and grant us grateful hearts that might always rejoice that our salvation is completely and totally because of you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen