2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—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 coming ages 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 a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Romans 2:1-10 English Standard Version.
Gifts are a great thing is to receive! What have you done with the gifts that you have received throughout your life? Have they been given away are throwing out, and they been lost and forgotten about, or are there certain gifts that you remember and hold dear as you live your life. Today, this is about a very special GIFT.
As the disciples went out into the world, especially into the Gentile world, they proclaim the good news of what God had done for them. In our section of Scripture for today, Paul is talking to the Gentiles and Jews. He reminds them of what it was like before they became brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ and children of God. Paul is very blunt, they were children of wrath. They were enemies of God and served only Satan, the world, and their own selfish nature. When they heard the word of God, many repented of their sins and believe through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today, in our society, if you are born into a Christian family you are usually baptized as an infant. Many of us have heard the verse telling us we were conceived in sin. This is the wrath we were born into, but God has different plans for us. This Christian family then proceeds with teaching you about the one true God. As you grow up knowing what God wants of you, you to repent of those times when you chose to rebel against God in what you say, do, or think. Hopefully, as you continue to grow in the word of God; go to church and give God thanks and praise for what he has done, pray for what you need and confess your sins, continue to study the word of God, and share this glorious word with those you know.
If you were not born into a Christian family and grew up not knowing the one true God, then you are like the Gentiles and the Jews who do not believe in the one true God. Maybe a friend or a family member has mentioned the one true God to you. Maybe this word of God has caused you to repent and seek to hear more about Him. You open to Ephesians chapter 2 and begin reading what God is telling you through St. Paul. You have lived a life of wrath against God, but now, you are a new person in Christ. Things change for you, for you no longer want to serve Satan, the worldly desires, and your own sinful nature. You want to serve God in all you do, say, and think.
As you continue reading you hear of God’s great love and mercy upon you. This reminds me of the story of the sinner as he goes to confess his sin before God. He lays prostate on the floor, not even been able to lift-up his head. The one true God hears him and forgives him. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—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 coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
This is all God’s work in you, you do nothing not even received God. It is the Holy Spirit that brings to you the GIFT of faith, and this faith enables you to believe in the one true God. You see the love and mercy of God. It is by grace, this undeserved love we receive from God. There is nothing we can do to earn it. It is a GIFT. What about our good works than? 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
It is only because of God’s plan of salvation for you. Jesus came into this world to do what we could not do, and that was to save us from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Jesus, as he was on the cross, completed the payment to God for all of the sins we have committed. It is through, and only through, Jesus’ atoning work for us on the cross that we have been given eternal life and salvation. In Jesus’ resurrection on that Easter morning, we were raised with him to eternal life. In these ten verses, Paul has summarized our past, present, and future life with the one true God. We were born in wrath toward God, then through his mercy and love we received the GIFT of grace and will live with Him forever and ever.
This gives great comfort to the children of God, even in this time of COVID. I’m sure there have been many who have died, who have this GIFT of grace, but I am also wondering how many died without this GIFT as they remain an enemy of God. I’m sure this saddens you as it does me. What can we do about? We can continue to share God’s word with those who do not know him; sharing with them that they are sinners but through God’s mercy and love they can receive the GIFT of grace, which is the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
I think three of my favorite verses in the Bible close out this reading, 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 a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Live in the grace, GIFT, of God through Jesus death and resurrection in this season of Lent. Share the good news of God’s grace with friends, relatives, and enemies.