Lauantai 19.1.2019
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Muistakaa johtajianne, niitä, jotka julistivat teille Jumalan sanaa. Pitäkää mielessänne, miten he elämänsä elivät, ja ottakaa heidän uskonsa esikuvaksenne. Hepr. 13:7

God’s goodness calls man to repentance

in English 17.2.2016 23:28 | Siionin Lähetyslehti
Did you get an invitation to the party?
– Yes, I did, but I don’t how to dress for the occasion.

– Well, they gave the recommended dress code in the invitation.

There are many kinds of calls and invitations. We accept some, but cannot accept all. We usually prepare for a festive occasion with respect for the person who invited us.

The call into fellowship with God presented to all people is more special than any temporal call or invitation (Luke 14:16–23). It is based on God’s love toward man.

God created man in His own image, but this image was corrupted by sin. Loving God enacted a plan that He had discussed with His Son before anything had been created. God’s plan was to call man back into contact with Him.

Call of the gospel

God’s call to man is also a gift and an exhortation. But a gift is not really a gift if one must struggle to receive it. The perfect gift is received out of grace, out of the goodwill of the giver. To receive this gift of God, the forgiveness of sins, we need to believe in Him and His word. God’s call also entails temporal and eternal blessings.

Faith is the work of God (John 6:29; Phil. 1:29). He opens a person’s heart to receive the gift of believing. Through faith a person possesses the righteousness prepared by Christ.

Through this faith he also prepares for the heavenly feast, honouring the Father and wearing the only garment acceptable before Him.

Man can do nothing to earn his own righteousness. It is only attainable through God’s abundant love. A demonstration of this love and goodness was seen and heard at the river Jordan, where John the Baptist, Jesus’ predecessor, said: ”Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29.)

God gave His Son as atonement for our sins. We can therefore  possess righteousness solely through grace.

The good message, the gospel, calls those who have lost their living connection with God. Martin Luther said, ”I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.”

Call unto repentance

God’s calling love is always beneficial for man. God speaks to a person and awakens him through a voice in his conscience. This call is manifested in the person’s experiences, his life course, his environment, nature, and the history of nations. God especially speaks to us and calls us through His word. When you hear this call, it is time to repent (Hebr. 3:15).

God is patient and long-suffering in His love. He waits for a suitable moment to show His mercy (Isa. 30:18). It is good to remember, however, that God does not rebuke and call for ever. God’s loving call is always a serious matter. According to Jesus, those who reject this call do not get into heaven (Luke 14:24).

Man typically tends to postpone his decisions. Many people calculate and say that they will repent later, when they are older or close to death.

The letter to the Romans awakens people by asking: “Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? ” (Rom. 2:4.) God’s saving love is available to man without any change or improvement on his part. When a person repents, he saves his life (Hes. 18:27).

Proclaiming the call

In our time many people ask: where can I find living God, where can I find mercy? Christ Himself founded His kingdom on earth. John tells us how new Jerusalem came down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2–3). The word of God is hidden in this holy city, the kingdom of God.

God’s kingdom has the mission of constantly preaching the good message of the gospel. God gave His children the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). God still calls people unto repentance through the gospel. He waits patiently to show mercy unto them and to guide them into His kingdom.

When Christ comes in His glory, the citizens of this kingdom will be taken up into heaven to meet the Heavenly Father who called them. The gospel will carry into eternal joy all those who accept and believe it.

Text: Oiva Savela 
Translation: S-L.L.

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