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Vieraskieliset / In-english

They have Mo­ses and the prop­hets

Vieraskieliset / In-english
24.11.2015 12.00

Pe­op­le have pro­bab­ly al­wa­ys wan­ted to as­so­ci­a­te faith with so­met­hing spe­ci­al and mi­ra­cu­lous. Pha­ri­sees and Sad­du­cees de­man­ded that Je­sus give them a sign from he­a­ven (Matt. 16:1). Co­rint­hi­ans sho­wed mis­gui­ded ap­p­re­ci­a­ti­on for the spe­a­king in ton­gu­es (1 Cor. 14). In mo­dern re­li­gi­ous com­mu­ni­ties pe­op­le may va­lue the he­a­ling of the sick or even at­tempts to awa­ken the dead. It seems there are not many pe­op­le who still ac­cept the Bib­le as the sole and suf­fi­cient ba­sis of their faith.

The rich man’s spe­ci­al re­qu­ests

Je­sus’ nar­ra­ti­ve of the rich man and La­za­rus inc­lu­des a de­mand to awa­ken the dead (Luke 16:19–31). The rich man in the story was not a be­lie­ver, while La­za­rus was. Both died. An­gels car­ried La­za­rus to Ab­ra­ham’s side. By this Je­sus me­ans that La­za­rus was sa­ved.

The rich man was tor­men­ted in Ha­des be­cau­se of his dis­be­lief. While there, he made two re­qu­ests to Ab­ra­ham. The first re­qu­est was about him­self. He as­ked Ab­ra­ham to send La­za­rus to dip the tip of his fin­ger in wa­ter and to cool the rich man’s ton­gue. Ab­ra­ham could not con­sent to this re­qu­est, be­cau­se sal­va­ti­on and per­di­ti­on were se­pa­ra­ted by a great chasm that could not be cros­sed in eit­her di­rec­ti­on.

The rich man’s se­cond re­qu­est was about his un­be­lie­ving brot­hers who were still ali­ve. The rich man un­ders­tood that his brot­hers would al­so end up in dam­na­ti­on if they did not re­pent. He the­re­fo­re as­ked Ab­ra­ham to send La­za­rus back on earth to speak to his brot­hers about the im­por­tan­ce of re­pen­tan­ce. The rich man thought that the ap­pe­a­ran­ce of dead La­za­rus would be such a great mi­rac­le that the brot­hers would be re­a­dy to re­pent.

But Ab­ra­ham al­so re­fu­sed this re­qu­est. It was not pos­sib­le to by­pass the or­der of sal­va­ti­on es­tab­lis­hed by God. Ab­ra­ham said: ”They have Mo­ses and the Prop­hets; let them lis­ten to them. – – If they do not lis­ten to Mo­ses and the Prop­hets, they will not be con­vin­ced even if so­me­o­ne ri­ses from the dead.” (Luke 16:29, 31.)

Faith co­mes through he­a­ring God’s word

The exp­res­si­on ”Mo­ses and the Prop­hets” re­fers to the law and the gos­pel, the two as­pects of God’s word. The pe­op­le of Is­ra­el were gi­ven the law through Mo­ses on Mount Si­nai. The word ‘law’, or To­rah, al­so re­fer­red to the five books of Mo­ses. The prop­hets were pre­ac­hers of God’s word who proc­lai­med God’s will and the gos­pel of Je­sus, the Mes­si­ah who was to come.

In mat­ters of sal­va­ti­on and faith pe­op­le need not de­mand spe­ci­al signs or mi­rac­les – eit­her from bey­ond the grave or from this world. God has gi­ven us his holy word, which is a suf­fi­cient ba­sis of faith. We should on­ly hear God’s word, for faith co­mes through he­a­ring and he­a­ring through the word of God (Rom. 10:17).

The tasks of the law and the gos­pel

The task of the ten com­mand­ments gi­ven to Mo­ses is to make a per­son cons­ci­ous of his sins (Rom. 3:20), to show that he is guil­ty and sin­ful be­fo­re God, and to make him seek mer­cy and for­gi­ve­ness from Christ. Christ and for­gi­ve­ness can be found in the gos­pel of God’s king­dom. The core of this gos­pel is the for­gi­ve­ness of all sins.

The ser­mon of the law re­ve­als the per­son’s sins, but the ser­mon of the gos­pel points to­wards Christ, who has ato­ned for our sins. The law con­demns the per­son to per­di­ti­on, but the con­dem­ned per­son is par­do­ned through be­lie­ving the gos­pel. The law dri­ves the pe­ni­tent per­son to the gate of God’s king­dom; the gos­pel helps him en­ter the king­dom through the gate of re­pen­tan­ce.

God’s word proc­lai­med by a be­lie­ver con­tains the po­wer for re-birth: through be­lief in the word the sin­ner is born again as a child of God (1 Pe­ter 1:23). A child of God is pro­tec­ted in the care of his fat­her and mot­her: God is the fat­her in he­a­ven and the cong­re­ga­ti­on is the mot­her on earth.

Text: Ari Pel­ko­nen

Trans­la­ti­on: S-LL

Sour­ce: Sii­o­nin Lä­he­tys­leh­ti 7–8/2008

Jul­kais­tu eng­lan­nin­kie­li­ses­sä kie­li­liit­tees­sä 24.11.2015.