You were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you once lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.Ephesians 2:1-3
Returning to God
Repentance in Hebrew (teshubah/shub) is a “return” to the path of righteousness—a change of heart. In Greek, conversion is a change of mind (metanoia/metanoeó). Conversion transforms the whole person—heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit.
Saved By Grace
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he contrasts the deadliness of sin with life in Christ:
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.Ephesians 2:4-10
We are saved by grace and not by works. Yet grace bears fruit in good works ordained by God from all eternity. We are his “poem” (poiéma), a word usually translated as “handiwork” or “workmanship.” St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower and Doctor of the Church, considered love to be the fruit of fruits. By God’s love, his children love.
“In the evening of this life, I shall appear before You with empty hands, for I do not ask You, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is stained in Your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in Your own Justice and to receive from Your Love the eternal possession of Yourself. I want no other Throne, no other Crown but You, my Beloved!
Time is nothing in Your eyes, and a single day is like a thousand years. You can, then, in one instant prepare me to appear before You.”St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Offering to Merciful Love
An arrow drifting left or right
Mercifully finds its target,
When in flight, it turns toward God,
Transformed into his floweret.