Torstai 20.9.2018
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Tuonelan kohdusta minä huudan apua, ja sinä, Herra, kuulet ääneni. Joona 2:3

God’s goodness calls to repentance

in English 10.5.2017 08:10 | Siionin Lähetyslehti
“Did you receive an invitation to the celebration?”
“Yes I did, but I do not know what I should wear.”

“The dress code was stated in the invitation.”

There are many types of invitations. We are compliant to some invitations, and sometimes we are unable to attend. Usually we prepare for the celebration honoring the presenter of the invitation.

Higher than any temporal invitation is the invitation presented to each person to unite with God (Luke 14:16–23). The basis of this is God’s love towards mankind.

God created mankind in His image, but sin blemished this image. With His love, God started to implement His plan for saving sin-fallen man. God had agreed on this plan with His Son already before the world was created. In this plan, God calls mankind back to his fold.

The perfect gift through grace

God’s invitation presented to mankind is a gift and exhortation. A gift is not a gift if one must struggle to receive it. A perfect gift is received through grace. The gift-giver gives of their own good will. For this gift of the forgiveness of sins that God gives us, we need faith in God and His word. God’s invitation also includes a temporal and eternal blessing for life.

Faith is God’s work (John 6:29; Phil. 1:29). He opens one’s heart to receive the gift of faith. Through faith, a person owns the righteousness prepared by Christ. It is preparing for the heavenly celebration to honor our Father and putting on the robes that are appropriate in the face of God.

A person can not gain their own glory. For this one needs God’s great love. This demonstration of love and goodness was seen and heard at the Jordan River when John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). God gave His Son to atone for our sins. For this reason, our glory is based on God’s perfect grace.

The good message, the gospel, is calling the person who has lost the living connection to God. Martin Luther states: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” (Small Catechism.)

The call to repentance

God calls and awakens a person through life experiences, nature and the history of nations. He especially addresses us and calls us to Him in His word. When you hear this invitation, it is time to repent (Heb. 3:15).

In His love, God is patient and long-suffering. He waits for the moment when He can be gracious (Isa. 30:18). But it is important to remember that God will not exhort and call forever. God’s call of love is always a serious matter. According to God’s word, those who reject the invitation will not reach heaven (Luke 14:24).

A characteristic of people is to put off decision-making until a later time. Many calculate and say that they will repent sometime later when they are older or closer to death.

A verse of the letter to the Romans (Rom. 2:4) awakens a person by asking: “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” God’s saving love is directed to a person just as they are. When one repents, they save their life.

God’s own preach

Many in our time ask: where can I find the living God? Where can I be pardoned? Christ Himself established His kingdom on earth. John tells how the new Jerusalem descended from heaven (Rev. 21:2–3). In this holy city, God’s kingdom, God’s word is hidden.

The task of God’s kingdom is to continuously keep the good message of the gospel evident. God has left His own the office to preach reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). Through the gospel, God still calls the sinful person to repentance. He waits patiently to be able to pardon and lead the person to dwell in His kingdom.

When Christ arrives on earth the second time in his brightness and glory, the dwellers of God’s kingdom will rise to join the sender of the invitation, the heavenly Father. The gospel carries its believers to eternal joy.

Text: Oiva Savela
Source: Siionin Lähetyslehti 1/2016
Translation: A. H.

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