Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our New Testament passage from Ephesians 2 draws a very subtle distinction for us between the way we should consider sin and the way we should consider righteousness. Let’s take a look at just a few of the implications of the passage.
The apostle Paul says that we were dead in our sin and disobedience. The displeasure of God is fully earned by us. The God who has commanded that all his world remain very good, the way He made it, will not look with favor on any disobedience, great or small. When we fail to live in perfect obedience, love, and trust to God, and at peace with any of our fellow humans, we have justly condemned ourselves. It’s our fault, period.
How are we rescued? In verse 4, it is by God’s grace and mercy. This is nothing we deserve. It is not that God recognizes anything good in us. It isn’t that our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds. None of that! It’s God’s mercy that creates salvation. There’s nothing we could do, and even if we could, we wouldn’t do it.
Condemnation, then, comes from us. It’s our fault. Mercy is all God’s fault, if we can use that terminology. The only way I can be rescued from sin and death is that God chose to redirect his righteous anger against my sin. He chose not to condemn me. All the glory then goes to God.
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