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A long time dead

The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead. Psalm 143.3

Who is this "enemy": illness, an oppressor, death itself? As the verse above continues, the Psalmist associates their condition with death and, as Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans (6.23) that "the wages of sin is death", so we may surmise that the root cause of their current predicament is of their own making. Whether or not that is the case - and we have no proof either way - Paul goes on to say "... but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus!" What does this mean?

It means that God's invitation to participate in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ - through faith - offers us eternal life. The only condition is that we receive it as a gift. It is not something we deserve or can earn. Without God even our own best efforts are doomed to failure. Before Augustine introduced the concept of predestination, in which people are created for heaven or hell and we can do nothing about it, the Celtic theologian, Pelagius (later branded as a heretic!), taught that we must exercise God's earlier gift of freewill in order to receive God's ultimate gift of eternal life.

So there is work for us to do... not in order to secure our salvation but in order to receive God's gift, by choosing to follow Jesus, in whom we find truth and grace, rather than wander down our own pathways of futility and despair.

Blessings for Mothering Sunday!



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