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.
The season of Lent is normally understood as a time of repentance and humility. Our Old Testament reading for this week, from Ezekiel 33:7-20, makes two radical statements which I find particularly humbling. First, in verse 13, if the righteous person, someone who has God’s promise of life, trusts in himself, he will fall into injustice and perish. His good works may be good, but if he is no longer trusting God but trusting himself, all his good works will not save him. This is a vital correction for those who are overly confident. Our confidence comes from God, not from ourselves.
The second humbling statement comes in verse 17 and again in verse 20. Someone who has lived a life of sin and evil can repent of that sin and be forgiven by God. It is not related to his sin but to God’s forgiveness. Likewise, the one who has always done good and does not trust the Lord is not forgiven. We look at this pattern and say God is unjust. However, He is the one who created justice. He gets to define it. And God’s justice is tied to his mercy, poured out on those who believe Him.
In the end, we realize that it is only in God’s mercy that we have hope. He pours out his mercy on those who trust him. If he acted only based on our idea of justice we would have no hope. Rather, we look to him for his mercy and grace.
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