FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
GRACE AND MERCY – 2
November 10, 2015
Today’s reading: Wisdom 2:23-3:9
God created us out of love, and He created as in His image and likeness. We are God’s children and we are destined to live eternally with Him in heaven. “For God formed us to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made us.” (2:23). But our first parents Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan and disobeyed God’s command, and thus lost paradise. Satan, who opposes everything that is of God, despises us because we are created in God’s image and likeness and are destined for heaven, from where he was expelled. “But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world” (2:24a).
God’s love endures forever, and so God sought to redeem His people. He raised Israel, but they too were unfaithful, disobedient and rebellious. So God ultimately sent His very own Son Jesus to redeem us. Jesus saved us, enabling us to enter paradise once again. But Christians today have again turned away from God, and continue to disobey His commands. Jesus brought us back to life, and we can look forward to eternal life, but what the world today has embraced is the culture of death. This is the work of Satan, “and they who are allied with him experience it.” (2:24b).
But God is love, and God is gracious and merciful. His “grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect.” (3:9b). As always, we need to respond to God’s love, grace and mercy. We need to obey Him. We need to grow in holiness. We need to be able to be truly counted as among His holy people. Then we can make it to heaven, rather than the fires of hell. “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.” (3:1).
We must put our trust in God, who never gives up on us, sinners that we are. “Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love” (3:9a). To look to and to trust in God is how we will understand God’s truth.
- That mercy and compassion, to be true mercy, must help lead people out of sin, and not end up just accommodating sin by being politically correct.
- That true disciples of Jesus must not only live Christ but also share Christ. We are all called to participate in bringing in the harvest.
- That the authentic gospel is not the gospel of prosperity but the gospel of the cross. “Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.” (3:5). This is the way of Jesus, and we are to follow him and embrace the cross daily.
- That we are called to holiness, to be set apart from the ways of the fallen world, and to give totally of ourselves to God and His service, and thus make it to eternal life. “As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.” (3:6).
Only as we live out such a life can we experience the fullness of the mercy, grace, peace and hope of God. “But they are in peace” (3:3b), “yet is their hope full of immortality” (3:4b), “and the Lord shall be their King forever.” (3:8b).
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