For more information and resources on Ephesians, go to my Ephesians page.
Hi, I’m Cody Sandahl.
When I was growing up I was a bit of a perfectionist. And I was tired of having sin in my life. Now, I’m a pretty systematic guy, so I naturally came up with a rational, orderly plan for eliminating sin. First, I created a calendar with the days of the week at the top. Next I created a list of sins on the left. And my plan was to take one sin at a time, track how often it occurred each day, and get that sin down to zero by the end of the week. Then I could just move on to the next and within a few weeks, PRESTO! No more sin! What could go wrong?
So I started with lying. Three times on Sunday. Twice on Monday. Eight times on Tuesday. Down to zero by Saturday.
Then I moved on to lust. Once on Sunday. Once on Monday. Five times on Tuesday – it was always worse on Tuesday. Down to zero by Saturday.
But I noticed that every time I moved on to the next week, the previous sin always came back. I could suppress one sin at a time – and even then I was probably fooling myself – but I could never keep them all at bay.
So with that context, maybe you can see why I think Ephesians 2:8-9 pretty much saved me from my perfectionist self: “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.”
I would really like to be perfect. I gave it the good ol’ college try, and I failed miserably. But this text reminds me that I’m not saved by my perfection even if I could ever obtain it. I’m saved by Jesus, and that’s enough. I can crumple up that sin calendar and all the shame and judgment and pressure that it represents, because in Jesus I can be confident of God’s love just as I am.
Do you still feel like you have to earn God’s love? Do you feel like you have to be perfect or God’s going to start hurling lightning bolts at you?
As you read the second chapter of Ephesians, receive the gift of God’s love, the gift of God’s forgiveness, the gift of God’s grace.
Enjoy chapter two!