THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
REPENTANCE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
We are a sinful people and we rightly should be under condemnation
for our transgressions. This is simply our deplorable situation
over which we by ourselves are helpless to rectify. “If
you, Lord, keep account of sins, Lord, who can stand?”
(Ps 130:3). What then is our way out? It is simply the mercy
of God. It is to that mercy that we need to appeal. “Our
of the depths I call to you, Lord; Lord, hear my cry! May
your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.” (Ps 130:1-2).
here is the good news: God is rich in mercy! God desires to
forgive us our sins and be reconciled to Him. “But with
you is forgiveness” (Ps 130:4a). Mercy is at the very
heart of God. It is what He provides in order that we might
be brought back from death of sin to life in Him. “Do
I find pleasure in the death of the wicked--oracle of the
Lord God? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil
way and live?” (Ez 18:23).
is merciful, and we in turn respond to such mercy, through
repentance. Mercy is an invitation to repentance. It is when
we turn away from sin that we experience the mercy of God.
“But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins
he has committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what
is just and right, he shall surely live. He shall not die!”
we see that mercy does not preclude justice, that is, there
is a need for us to do what is right. Mercy does not condone
sin. Mercy does not leave a person in his sin. Mercy is not
about being politically correct in just accepting the sinner
without speaking to him of his sin. Mercy is freely given
by God, but we need to respond to such mercy. “None
of the crimes he has committed shall be remembered against
him; he shall live because of the justice he has shown.”
(Ez 18:22). Mercy and justice go together. Mercy is all about
repentance, righteousness and justice. “But if the wicked
turn from the wickedness they did and do what is right and
just, they save their lives” (Ez 18:27).
as God is merciful, we too must be merciful to those who wrong
us. We are not justified in being unrighteously angry or being
insulting or maligning to those who offend us. “But
I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable
to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You
fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.” (Mt 5:22).
As God’s mercy is all about enabling us to be reconciled
with Him, we too should look to being reconciled with those
who are God’s children. “Therefore, if you bring
your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother
has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come
and offer your gift.” (Mt 5:23-24).
is such a wonderful virtue. It brings forth peace, unity and
love. It is not easy for us mortals, to be merciful as God
is merciful. But this is what God requires. This is a manifestation
of His great love for us, that He desires that we soar to
the heights of righteousness and perfection. Mercy is His
benchmark for heaven. “I tell you, unless your righteousness
surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not
enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:20).
praise and thank God for His great mercy. In His mercy is
our hope of redemption. “Let Israel hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is mercy, with him is plenteous redemption,
and he will redeem Israel from all its sins.” (Ps 130:7-8).