Sunday, March 7, 2010
It is with the grace of God, and only the grace of God, that we have any chance at all of participating in the Divine life, that which the firstborn son Adam lost in the Garden of Eden. One of the characteristics of all living things, from my 6th grade science class as I recall, is the ability to grow. Christians need to know or be reminded that with this gift of redemption, the grace through our baptism, God has given us new life, and as with all life we are expected to grow. In the spiritual realm this growth is measured by the fruits we produce. That correlation between seeds, plants and trees and the kingdom of God, the Word of God, and the people of God was demonstrated and taught by Jesus time and time again in the Gospels. In Christ we have the New Covenant - the word Testament is Latin for Covenant. The Old Covenants were sealed with two things an oath and a sacrifice. The New Testament Covenant is sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ, the promise of redemption and the ultimate sacrifice. There are two things Christians need to be reminded of in what this new covenant consists of as with with all covenants. Christ has exchanged himself on the Cross for our sins, and as with all exchanges we have our part in this exchange - doing the will of God through obeying His commandments. The second thing is this: there has always been consequences for breaking a covenant, punishments if you will and in the Old Testament it usually meant death in one way or another. The prophets and Jesus pointed to the fig tree something that grew throughout all of Palestine, it had wide branches that would protect one from the sun and in a good year would be laden with its sweet fruit. In Luke 13:7-9 Jesus tells us what happens to those whose lives are not fruitful when he says to vine dresser "Cut it down, why should it use up ground?" Christ's death on the cross is not a free pass to eternal life, with no responsibility on our behalf.
Posted by Paul Bernacchio at 8:01 AM