30 Days of Blogging - Day 7: But God...

// Ephesians 2:1-5 NLT // Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil -- the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) //
2:4 We were dead in our sins, but God . . . We were rebels against him, but God . . . We were enslaved by the devil and our sinful natures, but God . . . These may be the two most welcome words in all of Scripture: "but God." God could have left us spiritually dead, in rebellion against him and in bondage to our sins. But he didn't. He did not save us because of, but rather in spite of, what he saw in us.  In addition to thanking him for what he has done for us, we should also show humble patience and tolerance for others who seem unworthy or undeserving of our love and compassion. They may be spiritually dull, rebellious, and even antagonistic toward God. So were we; but God loved us anyway. Can we do less for fellow sinners? 
This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture and it's accompanying study note in my bible.

This face-to-face understanding of how desperately we are (were) lost in our depravity without the love of God and the sacrifice of his Son has been a favorite for years, but it has come back to mind again recently.

I think too often when we talk about the concept of "becoming a Christian" we lose the focus of how utterly sinful we are, and how undeserving of anything from God we are (let alone TOTAL FORGIVENESS!). But God! Not because of anything we have done or CAN DO, but because of who He is.

// Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT // God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. //

Our ONLY part (seriously, the only thing that we are even able to do) in this whole shebang is belief. And even when we hadn't believed yet (or even after when we've screwed up), he gave his grace freely anyway, because this is His party and he can save if he want to.

But the other thing I feel like we too often mess up in this whole "we're all Christians" thangy, is the truth that we are ALL sinners, even still.  Christianity isn't some magic "Sin Be Gone Forever" potion! It is a daily thing. A daily dying to self and sinful desires, and embracing the power of the Holy Spirit that we have been freely given, in order to be able to make a stand against the sin in our lives.

WE LITERALLY CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT HIM!!

No one can. And that's kind of my point. Everyone -- from you and your family and neighbors, to your enemies and the worst of sinners that make pat yourself on the back and think "Hey, at least I'm not doing that!" (self-righteousness is a bad look on you, I promise) -- is a sinner who God has ALREADY loved so much that He stepped in to pay the ultimate price.

Our sin is no different in it's separating-from-God effect than the sin of the next guy or next after that. Show them love and extend them grace, tell them that God is a God of Buts (on second though, maybe don't say it quite like that...) don't condemn them or persecute them for their sin (their lifestyle or their beliefs).

That's not our part in this whole shebang.

// By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. //
                                   

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