Thu, 25 February 2021
(Ez.18:21-28; Ps.130:1-8; Mt.5:20-26)
“Settle with your opponent while on your way to court with him.”
We are all on our way to court, brothers and sisters. The judgment of the Lord awaits us all on the Last Day, and the Last Day is upon us here at the end of the age. There is no time to lose; we must be “reconciled with [our] brother”; we must turn from sin today and find the Lord’s grace. “With the Lord is kindness and plenteous redemption; and He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities” – but “out of the depths” we must cry to Him “in supplication” to find His blessed forgiveness; and from sinful paths we must turn our feet to know His salvation.
“If a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life.” It is a great promise that comes to us through the prophet Ezekial, that none of our crimes shall be remembered by God when we return to Him. For the Lord does not “derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked,” He “rather rejoice[s] when he turns from his evil way that he may live”; for the Lord wishes life for us all, wishes Himself, who is Life, for every soul, and gives it freely, and quite naturally, when we follow His ways.
It is really rather simple: as when a wicked man turns to good things he is no longer wicked but good and so lives in the Lord, so “when a virtuous man turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.” Evil brings death, and righteousness and justice (goodness) brings life. The Lord desires life for us all and so He calls us to repentance, to repentance from even what might seem to our minds the smallest of sins – for so greatly does He wish life for us. And clearly does He know that which we cannot see, that death holds sway over us by every sin on our soul.
Let us avoid the fires of hell and the pains of purgatory, brothers and sisters. Let us call out to the Lord this day and find His “plenteous redemption” even as we turn from our sins. And there shall be no prison into which we are thrown, as we forgive one another, and the Lord forgives us, our sins.
O LORD, let us be released from all bondage to sin
that we might walk with you in righteousness
and so find life.
YHWH, forgiveness is with you, for it is your great desire to see us turn from our sin that you might have mercy on our souls. And if we do so, if we leave behind our wickedness – even our wicked thoughts and words – we shall find your goodness; you shall gather us into your arms. For then we shall be of goodness itself, and so, united with you.
But turning from the right path, what can we find but death in our separation from you, LORD? What can we know but condemnation in leaving you behind? For then you will not be with us, and without you there is no life.
O LORD, you are generous in redeeming us from all our iniquities. Let us follow your way as your Son does call, purging all hatred from our lives. Help us to be perfect as you are perfect – in love, in forgiveness, in grace… and we shall thus enter your kingdom, where only perfection exists. No evil in our hearts let us desire; cast all iniquity from us this day as we love even our enemy.