Ephesians 2: 1 – 10

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 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— 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. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

This is such a powerful scripture! It’s so full of love, grace, forgiveness and kindness that I just want to mediate on it to truly grasp what it is indeed telling me. When I read this scripture, what sticks out in my mind the most is the thought of having a “vain religion”. James 1:26 states:

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridle not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

Vain- having no real value; worthless

Jesus encountered religious leaders all the time that continued to question his deity because He didn’t succumb to what “they’ thought he should be doing. Those leaders were so caught up in the law that they couldn’t grasp their mind around grace. This isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. Currently, a similar epidemic is plaguing the church today. Too many “believers” are practicing religion but have a heart far away from Jesus. Too many are looking to condemn instead of providing truth in love. I am not speaking as an observer but as a former participator. I too have lived a life tangled in the web of the “I can’t help its” deceiving myself to believe I had the strength to save myself from my woes. With God’s loving pursuit of me, I now understand more clearly that it’s by God’s grace that I am saved and not my works. Therefore, how can I encounter anyone else without love and humility? Instead of viewing others faults and condemning them, how about if we collectively loved people with the same truth and love that God gives us? If someone is in darkness, don’t push them further in their pit but shine The Light so they can see how to get out of it. Jesus is that light and He is calling His followers to spread His name. Let’s glorify the Father together!

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