1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 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— 3 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. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
As we’ve already established, to some degree, Lent is a time for us to come to terms with the human condition. The focus is often on the brokenness in each of us as well as the brokenness around us. As I’ve mentioned before, we embrace our brokenness and look for truth in the midst of it. We “endure suffering” as 2 Timothy 4:5 states. Yes, Lent is a time to crack open the shells of our lives and peer into the inner workings of who we are, but besides brokenness, what might you also see?
Is it not true that we were created in the image of God and given a task to tame the wildness of creation in such a way that promotes flourishing, to use our creativity for His glory (Genesis 1:26-31)? We may be broken, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t valuable. We may not have earned God’s grace, but that doesn’t negate our value. It doesn’t mean that God didn’t create us for a purpose or that we weren’t made with intention.
Verse 8 is clear that salvation doesn’t come from anything that we’ve done. It’s a gift from God. His grace is a gift, but just because we didn’t do anything to receive the gift doesn’t mean there isn’t something for us to do. We were created for good works. We were created to seek the flourishing of other humans, to “be fruitful and multiple.” We often think of this phrase as a commandment to reproduce, but what if it’s broader than that? What if we’re called from the very beginning to participate in a world that promotes health and care and love for everyone?
The human condition is broken, but at the same time in our brokenness, in our death, we were loved and saved so that we could live into the good works that God planned for us from the beginning. We seek healing. We seek reconciliation. We seek justice. We seek love. We seek the welfare of the city. These things may not be perfected until He returns, but we can catch a glimpse of what His glory is like and help others do the same.
I’ve mentioned that I want to make Lent about introspection. I want us to shed the weight of our idols and see what’s left. What’s left might be broken, but it’s also the workmanship of God. He took care in creating each of us, so maybe the cracks are there on purpose. What might we see when we peer into the inner workings of who we are? Maybe when we hesitantly peek into those broken spots, we’ll be surprised by what we find. Maybe we’ll find that we were fearfully and wonderfully made. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll find the kingdom of God.
Prayer and Reflection
Pray for guidance in better understanding how God can use you for the flourishing of those around you. Pray that you will find hope, love, and value in the brokenness of your life.