Sunday, December 28, 2014
The God of Second Chances
Jesus teaches us about the God of Second Chances, and with every new day, and new year, we face fresh opportunities to turn back again to God.
When we come to the knowledge of God's will for our lives - that we should love God with all our heart, mind, strength and soul, and love and serve others just as we love and serve ourselves - we have embraced a new beginning, and undergo a New Birth. We are saved from sin.
Mere knowledge, however, is not enough. Mere verbal or mental assent is not enough. Emotional fervor and good feelings about God are not enough. God, our Creator, calls us to act, and do, and become better, more Spiritually complete people who reflect that which God created for us to become.
Repentance of our past sins and shortcomings gives us a clean slate - we indeed become "white as Snow" when we first ask for forgiveness and repent. But then we must commit to strive to keep ourselves clean and unspotted from a world that has not yet embraced the love and purity of God's path.
While we have not yet achieved moral completeness, all of us are called to seek it. Those who continue to recklessly sin and rebel against God's moral Law does not know God, nor the one whom God sent, Jesus.
Jesus demonstrated with his life, teachings and death the way we should respond to God's gifts. Jesus' example is our model and template.
If we follow the example of Jesus, our lives may become just as full, complete and pleasing to God as his was.
Jesus calls us to a life of Good Works in humility and compassion. Service to others leads to spiritual completeness.
We must approach his example with fear and trembling, and with great humility, and not arrogance. And of course, always seeking forgiveness from God our Father and Creator for our shortcomings.
If we seek forgiveness from God, in true repentance, then our past sins are forgiven. If we then remain in his Teachings, Jesus says we will be saved by God.
After repenting and accepting the knowledge of God's path Jesus reveals to us, we are challenged to actively live out this Faith.
But God doesn't leave us to face this challenge alone. We always have the example of Jesus, and we also have God's ever-present spiritual comfort, always there to guide, encourage and hold us tightly during times of trouble and trial.
And God has implanted within us the seeds that can grow and become a visible representation of the Kingdom of God - in this place and in this time. Knowledge of God's moral plan for our lives, shown to us by Jesus, germinates those seeds and they are nurtured by his example and God's ongoing love and strength.
Each of us can grow within us a Spiritual Abundance that gives light and hope to the world.
Let us greet every new year, new month, new day, new hour, and every new minute as a precious opportunity to serve God and our neighbors in God's name!