“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
WITH THE COMING OF CHRIST and the outpour of the Holy Spirit, the righteousness that is through works of the law came to an end and we became enclosed in the free mercy of God. This was by calling us to be washed in baptism through the action of the Holy Spirit that according to Christian faith renews the first human creation to become with it the chosen children of God in Jesus Christ our Savior. Holy baptism with the descent of the Holy Spirit is considered like a heavenly womb for man to be reborn in, and anointed with the Holy Spirit to become Christ the Lord, or rather the son of God, and reckoned an heir to Christ in glory, i.e. worthy to enter eternal life to live with God a spiritual creation, or a heavenly entity after having been a mere human one. This great move God set for man is on the whole an act of mercy of the first degree, which God the Father arranged for man through the salvation He prepared through the death of His Son on the cross and as a sacrifice of redemption in which we gained the adoption by God through grace according to which we became heirs to Christ in glory. This is the core of the Christian faith giving us a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from among the dead, who opened the way leading to eternal life holding our hands to cross over the abyss of this world as the greatest of conquerors. This is through His blood which He shed on the cross to redeem us and untie us from the enemy’s imprisonment and the bondage of sin.
After having been Adam’s sons and heirs of the earths’ curse we became the sons of God heirs to the kingdom of His beloved Son, not for a limited time but for ever. Therefore what thanks can we offer God and Christ who freed us from the curse of Adam making us heirs to the glory of His only Son in His kingdom and immortal for ever before God?
Thus ended the righteousness of the law that made us inherit penalty and death, and we gained the righteousness of Christ that qualified us to become God’s adopted and inherit His eternal kingdom. God’s mercy consequently descended upon us and we were freed from the bondage of this age and the humiliation of sin and the suffering of death, through His mercy crossing over the abyss of this world proud in the free work of God He favored us with due to His love for Christ who bore the sufferings of the cross as a sacrifice for us.
Are we able, I wonder, to offer God the thanksgiving and praise He merits? It is impossible, because God’s work in us through the Holy Spirit and renewal are free acts for which it is insufficient to be compensated only with thanks. That which God and His Son Jesus Christ really deserve is that we accept this mercy and this sacrifice by elevating our faith in Christ and God to their equal value in honest worship, loving others, having compassion for brothers in the Lord, offering our lives to be under the guidance of the Holy spirit and the grace of God, renouncing all that exists in the world of desires, appetites and the false glory of money and false riches, so as to gain the pleasure of God and live in the fellowship of the love of Christ where our sole pride in this age will be our faith in Christ and the truthfulness of our love for Him. Thus the Apostle Peter’s words about the love of Christ will be fulfilled: “Whom having not seen you love.”1 But we will inevitably see Him the day we leave to abide for ever with Him as the good flock with a good shepherd.
For that reason God renewed our creation in Christ so as to become witnesses and fulfill the glory of God, having resurrected Him from death with the strength of His power to make us live with Him, and for all to become ready to reveal the work of God in Christ to the heavenly hosts to whom the truth of the death of the Son is hidden.
July 1, 2005
1 1Pet 1:8.
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