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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Re­mem­ber me!

Siionin Lähetyslehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
5.12.2019 15.19

Juttua muokattu:

2.1. 11:02
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When pe­op­le say good­bye, they of­ten al­so say: ”Re­mem­ber me when you pray to the He­a­ven­ly Fat­her.” Or simp­ly: ”Re­mem­ber me.” I have thought that this re­qu­est is not me­re­ly a be­au­ti­ful phrase. It is the pe­ti­ti­on of a poor Chris­ti­an that I would pray on his or her be­half. For a per­son who ma­kes this re­qu­est the most im­por­tant thing is to re­main be­lie­ving and to get in­to he­a­ven.

I re­mem­ber a good ac­qu­ain­tan­ce with whom we so­me­ti­mes dis­cus­sed the most im­por­tant mat­ters of life. He had the pain­ful me­mo­ry of ha­ving gi­ven up his per­so­nal faith. He ne­ver told me exact­ly why he had de­nied his faith. He on­ly said: ”You know how it goes, sin ta­kes away faith from the he­art.” I told him: ”But you can be­lie­ve yo­ur sins for­gi­ven. I would be hap­py to pre­ach you the gos­pel in Je­sus name and blood.” “Yes, I know, but not now. Yet I am sure I will re­pent some day.” Our dis­cus­si­ons of faith usu­al­ly en­ded at this sta­te­ment. But it was sad that the “some day” for re­pen­tan­ce ne­ver came. I re­cal­led these words of his when I he­ard about his de­ath.

I al­so re­mem­ber anot­her per­son, who said to me: ”You know, I have pro­mi­sed to God that I will not give up this faith”. My res­pon­se to this very con­fi­dent sta­te­ment was: ”Let us not make any firm pro­mi­ses. We are on­ly weak Chris­ti­ans. But if God so wil­ls, we have a de­si­re to be­lie­ve and get in­to he­a­ven.”

Faith is a po­si­ti­ve thing that bes­tows be­au­ti­ful ex­pe­rien­ces to our li­ves. The apost­le lists the fruits of faith as love, joy, pe­a­ce, pa­tien­ce, kind­ness, good­ness, gent­le­ness and self-cont­rol. Would not we all hope to have these qu­a­li­ties in our tem­po­ral li­ves? But we can­not gain them on our own. They are gifts of God. And these fruits of faith, which we do not find our­sel­ves pos­ses­sing, are not the on­ly thing God gi­ves us. He al­so gi­ves us eter­nal life.

The world sets high stan­dards for faith. The be­lie­ver should be per­fect. He should not fall or do anyt­hing im­mo­ral. The fall of a be­lie­ving per­son is mega news, of­ten used to sup­port the claim that faith does not re­al­ly help us. Fal­ls and sins are sad mat­ters, and even be­lie­vers may fall. If I were a per­fect per­son, I would not need grace, for­gi­ve­ness of sins or faith. The weak one finds se­cu­ri­ty in God, as the psalm wri­ter says: ”In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you” (Ps. 25:1–2).

When we rely on our own strength, we feel in cont­rol of both our tem­po­ral li­ves and eter­nal life. We de­ci­de when we need to re­pent and what our fu­tu­re will be like. But ul­ti­ma­te­ly, we are not ab­le to cont­rol our li­ves. Even our best ef­forts turn out ca­tast­rop­hic. The wa­ges of sin is de­ath. Apost­le Paul wri­tes: ” It does not, the­re­fo­re, de­pend on hu­man de­si­re or ef­fort, but on God’s mer­cy.” (Rom. 9:16).

When I tal­ked to my fat­her about re­pen­tan­ce and faith, he used to say: ”I will be­lie­ve if God shows me even a sing­le mi­rac­le.” I lis­ted to him many of God’s mi­rac­les, but they were not enough to con­vin­ce him. My words see­med to ir­ri­ta­te him rat­her than es­tab­lish good rap­port. I the­re­fo­re avoi­ded spe­a­king to him about faith any more.

But alt­hough I did not speak, God wor­ked in him. Through il­l­ness He pre­pa­red him to ex­pe­rien­ce the gre­a­test of all mi­rac­les, per­so­nal ac­cep­tan­ce of God’s grace. My mot­her cal­led me to come and see my bed-rid­den fat­her. When I tal­ked to him about tem­po­ral mat­ters, he said: ”I am not in­te­res­ted in all that any more”. I was as­to­nis­hed and as­ked: ”Are you in­te­res­ted faith then?” ”Yes”, he ans­we­red. It was a jo­yous mo­ment when I was ab­le to pre­ach him all sins for­gi­ven in Je­sus’ name and blood. Te­ars tur­ned in­to joy. We both felt mi­ra­cu­lous pe­a­ce in our he­arts. I hug­ged my fat­her, who see­med de­a­rer to me than ever be­fo­re. That si­tu­a­ti­on strong­ly re­min­ded me of Paul’s words: ”The­re­fo­re God has mer­cy on whom he wants to have mer­cy…” (Rom. 9:18).

On both si­des of Je­sus’ cross were cri­mi­nals con­dem­ned to de­ath be­cau­se of their cri­mes. One of them joi­ned the pe­op­le who ri­di­cu­led Je­sus, as­king for a ”mi­rac­le”: ”Aren’t you the Mes­si­ah? Save yo­ur­self and us!” (Luke 23:39) But the he­art of the ot­her cri­mi­nal had ope­ned when he had he­ard Je­sus speak to His Fat­her and pray to Him on be­half of His tor­men­tors. He tur­ned to Je­sus and as­ked: ”Je­sus, re­mem­ber me when you come in­to yo­ur king­dom” (Luke 23:42). Je­sus he­ard his re­qu­est and hel­ped him: ”Truly I tell you, to­day you will be with me in pa­ra­di­se.” (Luke 23:43).

Eve­ry be­lie­ver is a child of God and an in­ha­bi­tant of God’s king­dom. Like the psalm wri­ter, we pray to our He­a­ven­ly Fat­her: “Re­mem­ber yo­ur mer­cy, O Lord, and yo­ur ste­ad­fast love, for they have been from of old.” (Ps. 25.6) We feel strong fel­lows­hip with our be­lie­ving es­corts and pray with the words of a song of zion: ”We tra­vel ho­me­ward, pra­ying for all our friends in faith, that on­ce we’ll be to­get­her be­fo­re our Sa­vi­or’s face.” (SZ 218:2).

Text: Ola­vi Val­li­vaa­ra

Pub­lis­hed in the on­li­ne ver­si­on of Päi­vä­mies, 9.6.2019

1.4.2020

Her­ra, mi­nun Ju­ma­la­ni, ku­kaan ei ole si­nun ver­tai­se­si! Sinä olet teh­nyt suu­ria te­ko­ja, sinä ajat­te­let mei­dän pa­ras­tam­me. Ps. 40:6

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