But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5
In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a man of excessive pride, who believed he could outsmart the gods. As punishment, Sisyphus was forced to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill. About the time he’d get it to the top, it would roll back down. And he would start over. And over, and over again, for eternity.
This world, if we let it, teaches us to think like Sisyphus. We’re led to believe if we just try harder, we can overcome sin on our own. If we could just be a little smarter. Have a little more discipline. Just a little more time. Just a little more help from those around us. If we just had a little more, we’d get that boulder to the top of the hill.
We compound this problem when we believe God’s love is dependent on how far we push our boulder. Sometimes we labor under the delusion that we have to achieve some level of spiritual accomplishment in order to earn God’s love — in order to be worthy of salvation. The world reinforces this, teaching that love is conditionally granted, and revocable at the first misstep.
But, God’s love is not of this world. It cannot be earned. It cannot be lost. Paul reminds us in this passage that God saved us through Christ from the death of sin — not because we had earned salvation, but because God is the God of grace. That grace envelops us wherever we are. In the depths of our failure, no matter how dark it may seem, that loving grace embraces us.
We don’t have to push the boulder of our sins to the top of this world. Christ already conquered this world, and removed our sin. All we must do is turn from those behaviors and thoughts by which we shut our eyes to God’s grace. Open your eyes, set down your boulder, and accept Christ’s loving embrace.
Almighty God, save us from the delusion that we can conquer sin on our own and earn salvation. Give us the strength to surrender fully to your grace, and to experience the all-encompassing power of your love. Amen.