Summary: Lent 2 (B) midweek. By grace Christ has changed us from sons of disobedience to children of God. Therefore, we do not walk in sin, but we walk in His path of righteousness, doing the works He has prepared for us to do.
May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in Thy sight,
O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
“Ashes of Disobedience”
How is your walk with the Lord? How is your faith walk? It’s a question that we hear asked within Christian circles nowadays. The question is asking about one’s spiritual life. Lent is a time for self-reflection and self-examination. So it’s an appropriate one to ask ourselves during Lent. So, how is your faith walk? It’s a two part question. How is your faith, your believing as it were. And how is your faith lived out, your walk. Does our walk, that is, do our lives, align with and match the faith we have, or the faith that we say we have? Another common saying to the same end is, “You may talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?”
St. Paul in writing to the Ephesians talks about the faith walk. All people have a faith walk, whether they realize it or not. Paul starts in our text with the "sons of disobedience." The sons of disobedience have a faith walk. It’s more like a no-faith walk. For Paul tells us that the sons of disobedience walk in trespasses and sins. The sons of disobedience walk in the ways of the world. They follow the “prince of the power of the air.” More bluntly, they follow the devil.
So what is a “son of disobedience.” We can look at that two ways. A son of disobedience can mean one full of disobedience. Just like a can of beans is a can full of beans. What kind of disobedience? Sins and trespasses. They go together, you see. We can too easily think of sin as an abstract “spiritual” problem. But the sons of disobedience are full of both sins and trespasses. What is a trespass? Walking where you are not supposed to walk. The sign is posted "No Trespassing." It means don't walk here. To walk there is to trespass. It is going where you should not go, living as you should not live. Trespasses are sin lived out. And these sons of disobedience were full of both.
The second way of looking at the sons of disobedience is sons from disobedience, the product of disobedience, the descendants of disobedience. The sons of disobedience are the descendants of Adam and Eve. For sin entered the world by their disobedience. It changed the Garden and creation from the ways of God, to the way of the world, the way of self. So, then, just who are these sons of disobedience? No matter which way we look at it, sons full of disobedience, or sons from disobedience, the answer is us. Listen to what Paul says: they live in the passions of the flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and are by nature children of wrath. And this he says, was us. Me. You. All of us. Just like all mankind. We carry the mark, the ashes of the disobedience of our parents. Our hearts were sooty and grimy. And not our hearts only, We were children of disobedience, full to the brim with the ashes of our passions and desires.
But wait. Paul says, “were,” past tense. We were sons of disobedience, but we no longer are. Why? Because of our efforts, our obedience, our clean living? Did we somehow rid ourselves of those ashes? Does one just, as Frank Sinastra sings, “pick yourself up, dust yourself up, and start all over again?” No. When your hands are covered with ashes how can one dust off the ashes? The more one tries, the dirtier one gets. Instead of dusting off, it rubs in. For our hands are not merely soiled with ashes, we are ashes. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” How then is it, that we are made righteous, that we are no longer covered in the ashes of disobedience? Paul tells us. “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” You know these words. Say them with me. (Repeat). But it doesn’t end there. Being saved you have a new walk. So how do we walk the walk of faith?
Walking the walk can mean to put your money where your mouth is. It can mean stepping up and paying the price? Is that the walk of faith? No. It is God who put His money where His mouth was. He had promised right after the Fall in the Garden to redeem mankind and all creation. And He kept that promise. He put His money where His mouth, His word, had been. He paid the price of redemption. Not with gold or silver, but with the holy precious blood, and innocent suffering and death of His only Son. He stepped up to the cross and grave. God talked the talk in promising salvation. Jesus talked the talk proclaiming the kingdom of God to be at hand. And then He walked the walked. Christ lived and walked among us. Christ walked the Via Dolorosa, the way of sorrows. He walked to Gethsemane, and into betrayal. He walked to the judgment hall of Pilate. He walked up Mt. Calvary. He walked the walk, and paid the price.