Second Sunday in Lent: 8 March 2020

What is our salvation? Is it of our earning? Is it restricted to one tribe, one nation? It is not of our work, for no one can attain the righteousness of God: otherwise there would never be scholars who dive into the sewer of ancient csandal to find flaws in the heroes of this faith.

The heroes knew they were flawed. For it was them that gave them boldness, but the grace of God. None of us are qualified or have earned our faith. it is a gift from God.

And in the last week, with fears of the virus and a panic, with fears for health, and planning for the next crisis while recovering from an illness myself, the collect of this week matters.

Collect One

Almighty God,
who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves;
Keep us both outwardly in our bodies,
and inwardly in our souls;
that we may be defended from all adversities
which may happen to the body,
and from all evil thoughts
which may assault and hurt the soul;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sunday Lent II, Book of Common Prayer, Church of Ireland

There is much out there that will hurt the soul. But there is much that we should ignore. For it is ephemeral. Using our words and confessing our fear to each other can be truly helpful: and sometimes the only one who will know that burden is our spouse. The world is filled with backbiters and gossips, and we are not only to be innocent as doves, but wise as serpents.

Genesis 12:1-4

12 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

I need to take note. Abram was older than I am: his middle age was behind him. He and his wife were childless. And he stepped out and followed God, being told that his offspring would be blessed. There is never a retirement date in the Bible, and God cares not that much about our circumstances. He cares much more about our faith.

However, our God is amazing, and I think all early consequences of sin can be overcome if one is dead set on following Christ and taking off all of the old. Paul himself is an excellent example of this: full repentance that leads to him working even harder than many of Jesus’ disciples for the gospel and extreme humility for his role in persecuting other Christians before he was converted.

Deep Strength

There is indeed nothing to boast in. Our sins, our credentials, our actions. For salvation is by grace: it is a gift. We do not earn it.

Romans 4:1-5

4 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,