Last month, I shared the theme for the youth gathering: “This Changes Everything”. It’s based on Ephesians 2:8-9: “We’re saved by grace through faith and not by works. This isn’t your doing; it’s God’s gift!” (paraphrased) That’s the central theme of Lutheranism.
We hear and love “grace comes not by works”, but we Lutherans are so focused on that grace that we often forget how Paul continues: “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life” (Ephesians 2:10).
In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul says it another way, begging the people not to let grace be empty, but to be servants of God, enlarging our hearts toward one another. Think of grace like that thing that happened to the Grinch or Scrooge; they didn’t just receive grace, they were changed by grace.
We’ve received God’s grace. Saved by grace. But this isn’t empty grace. This grace changes everything. Including us! Especially us.
The teens at Trinity picked out a group shirt for our trip. It says “Believe there’s Good in the World”. Some letters are lighter than others, so that it also says “Be the Good in the World”. That’s Ephesians 2:10 on the nose.
“I got God’s grace,” you could tell someone. “I didn’t do anything to earn it. Though sometimes I may still be a Scrooge or a Grinch, God’s enlarging my heart every day, and the love he’s put in there is too big to contain it. By the grace of God I know there’s good in this world; how may I be good to you?”