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Posts Tagged ‘good works’


Wednesday, December 22, 2020

Titus 3 

Prepare

El Greco: The Apostle Paul

El Greco: The Apostle Paul

This brief letter has something to say to us about forming community.  Today we reflect on its third and last chapter. Titus was an assistant to Paul mentioned in some of his other letters and also in Acts. He began a Christian community on the island of Crete, and Paul counsels him about how he might advise these early Christians to live among deceivers and heretics. These are words we might use today.

Be under the control of magistrates and authorities . . . be obedient . . . open to every good enterprise . . . slander no one . . . be peaceable, considerate, exercising all graciousness toward everyone. 

Paul reminds Titus and us that we have all been foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another. No one but a saint escapes the downside of humanity.

The upside, the good news is that the Christ has come to walk among us, to be one of us, to take on our burdens which overwhelm us because God is goodness and mercy in their most perfect form.

What are we to do to reach for such heights? Avoid foolish arguments, genealogies, rivalries and quarrels about the law . . . After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic.  We are to devote ourselves to good works to supply urgent needs. 

The message is clear. While we strive to follow Christ we cannot expect perfection in or of ourselves. This perfection can be obtained only in and through Christ because of God’s mercy and compassion and love for each of us.

In this Advent season, as we near the celebration of the day when the child comes to live among us, we might pause to consider our arguments and our foolish enterprises. We might consider how we are to cast off anything that does not lead us to Christ. We might consider how we best devote ourselves to good works that address urgent needs when all else fails us. We might consider how we will be best prepare. For now is that time.


Adapted from a reflection written on December 18, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://rclnotes.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html

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Galatians 6:1-10: Doing Good

Wednesday, August 3, 2016galatians_6.9_kjv_wallpaper.

If we are to pay our taxes and tithes as Jesus tells us, if we are to allow Christ to transform the stones we want to throw into stepping stones that save us from drowning, we may want again review the rules for the road we journey with Christ.

My friends, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way . . . Keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too.

We listen to Jesus who brings us the fullness of the Law of Love.

Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.

We live the meekness of Christ to guard against the lure of pride.

If you think you are something when you really are nothing, you are only deceiving yourself.

We remember that God is the ultimate and only judge of our hearts.

You should each judge your own conduct. If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done.

We share the Good News humbly, gently and persistently.

If you are being taught the Christian message, you should share all the good things you have with your teacher.

We remember that God is in charge.

Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. You will reap exactly what you plant.

We believe that we reap what we sow.

If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life.

We understand that we become weary from our determined striving through Christ.

So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest.

We honor our relationship with God by doing good for and to others.

So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone.

We reflect today on these reminders of the Rules for the Road in our journey with Christ.

 

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James 2:21-26: Faith and Wisdom – Part III

Monday, October 12, 2015

Murillo: Abraham Receiving the Angels

Murillo: Abraham Receiving the Angels

Certainly none of us set out to become a corpse in this life; yet James challenges us with two examples of how one man and one woman fuse together works and faith to discover disciple wisdom.

Abraham, our first patriarch who responded to God’s call to move himself and all he possessed to a new, unknown location. In faith Abraham responded to God’s call. Click here to follow the link to learn more about Abraham as we reflect on how we might likewise use works to accompany our faith.

Van Dyck: Abraham and Isaac

Van Dyck: Abraham and Isaac

Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?

Tissot: The Harlot of Jericho and the Two Spies

Tissot: The Harlot of Jericho and the Two Spies

Rahab is an interesting woman and as a member of Jesus’ family tree she may hold particular interest for us. When we explore her life we give ourselves the opportunity to discover who and what she was, but who and what we are as well. Explore her story here or by clicking on the images.

Rahab the Harlot, Artist Unknown

Rahab the Harlot, Artist Unknown

The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.

James tells us today about wisdom engendered by a fusion of faith and works. Tomorrow we take a look at taming the tongue.

For more about Women in the Bible, click on the image of Rahab by an unknown artist and explore using the search bar.  Read her story in Joshua 2.

 

 

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