Jesus … gave himself for us … to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
We cannot save ourselves by being good. We are saved by “Christ crucified … the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24). But we are saved so that we can do good.
Jesus gave himself “to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” He did that not just for his own sake, and surely not just for our sake. It was also for the world’s sake. Before the world will believe in Jesus, it needs an epiphany, a revealing of the reality of God.
God has already given the world one epiphany: “The grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” That was the first coming of Jesus. And God will give the world another epiphany: “We wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” That’s the second coming of Jesus.
Between those two epiphanies, there is an ongoing epiphany, the one for which Jesus gave up his life—to create a people who are eager to do good. The world will not believe in Jesus until it sees a people whose lives are changed by the power and wisdom of the cross. As we look forward to Good Friday and Easter next month and the coming of Jesus someday, let us be an epiphany, for Jesus’ sake, to the world!
Reveal yourself in us, O Lord, that the world may see our good works and glorify Christ crucified and risen. Amen.
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