Imitating Christ

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Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

When Moses wanted to see the Glory of God, God proclaimed about Himself to Moses as, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished, he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” (Exo 34: 6, 7) This is the nature of our Heavenly Father. Do we have His nature? Are we like Him in nature?

When we are born of God, born again, we are to have His nature. God said, He is ‘The Lord, the Lord’. Jesus said, ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven’. (Matt 7: 21) So as His children we have to be doers of His will and not our own will, to be acknowledged as His children and enter His kingdom. So all who do His will have accepted Him as the Lord, the Lord of their lives and they will be established in His kingdom.

Apostle Paul exhorts us, ‘to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ (Eph 4: 32) As children of a compassionate and gracious God, we are called to show the same attitude and nature to our fellow beings. So we are exhorted to live peacefully with others as much as we can, a life of faith with actions and deeds appropriate for a child of God.

Apostle James teaches us to take note of this: ‘Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires’. (James 1:19, 20) Anger is an emotion that we have all been given for a purpose. It is to take action against injustice. We are not warned against getting angry but we are warned to be slow to anger; and not to be hot tempered or short tempered, so as not to fall into sin ourselves. Just as our heavenly Father is slow to anger as He is abounding in love, we also can exercise righteous anger only when we abound in love.

God is abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands. King Solomon, the wisest man who lived on Earth, teaches us, ‘Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.’ (Provs 3:4) Apostle Paul teaches us that the most excellent way to operate is in love as love never fails. (1Cor 13)

Our God forgives wickedness, rebellion and sin. Jesus taught us, ‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.’ (Matt 6: 14, 15). If we are not willing to forgive others when they sin against us, then God will also not forgive our sins. So if our sins are not forgiven we will not be able to fellowship with God and spend eternity in His presence. Let us learn to forgive others and love them when they hurt us, are wicked to us and rebel against us. Let us be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5:48)

Our God is also a Righteous Judge. He does not leave the guilty unpunished. In His perfect time, He sent His own Son to be a guilt offering for the sins of the whole world, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Jesus became the propitiation for our sins and took away God’s wrath from us. ‘Whoever believes in Him is not condemned but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.’ (John 3: 16-18)

As God’s children we should be ministers of reconciliation between God and our unbelieving fellow beings and as Jude, the brother of James, advises us, ‘Be merciful to those who doubt: snatch others from the fire and save them, to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.’ (Jude 22, 23) Hate sin but love the sinners like our heavenly Father.

May God’s grace help us all to live a godly life!

Editor

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