June 28, 1998. Third Sunday after Pentecost
1. God's Word: Romans 5:1-10; Matthew 6:22-33.
2. Meditation on God's Word: JUSTIFIED, RECONCILED, SAVED!
Today's Epistle speaks with eloquence and confidence about matters which are very useful for us who follow Jesus in this "vale of tears", as this world in which we live is sometimes called.
To recall that our Baptism and our faith (which we accept personally) link us with Jesus makes it possible for us to accept that, no matter what how weak and imperfect we may be, we are acceptable to God. Saint Paul says that we are "justified by faith". That is to say, using legal terms, that the punishment which we have deserved as a result of our sins has already been accepted in full by Jesus, Who died upon the Cross for our sins. We are considered to be just - not because of our own merits (we would never be able to get enough of them to satisfy the demands of God's perfect laws), but because of our union with Jesus by faith.
But it is not sufficient to leave the matter at that. We are not justified just so that we can keep on transgressing God's laws. We are justified so that we might begin to live in the freedom of God's children. We are reconciled with God. He is our Father, our Friend, the One Who loves us infinitely! It is possible for us to do good works, to start to live and understand God's eternal mysteries.
Saint Paul assures us that we are in the process of being saved by Jesus' life, which He lives in us now that we have been justified and reconciled with God, the Father Almighty by Jesus' death.
Let us not hesitate to claim this new life today. Let us turn our eyes towards Jesus. Let us accept Him as our Guide and the Director of our life. Our hope in Him will never disappoint us. We shall find the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
The Very Rev'd Dr. Ihor George Kutash, Pastor