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His Bountiful Grace.

Updated: Dec 12, 2023


Jesus as the New Covenant


When Jesus was thirty years old, He was baptized by his first cousin, John the Baptist, on the ‘River Jordan’. The New Testament tells us that the baptism of Jesus of Nazareth was a watershed moment in human history.


In his book, A Summary of The Faith, C.B. Moss points out that “God the Holy Ghost filled His human nature with power for the work He had to do.” (Page 13) Indeed, for three years Jesus preached, healed, and taught. He picked His Apostles to be the witnesses of His Resurrection, to preach His message and to govern His Church.


In our Gospel reading for Advent IV, John the Baptist directs our attention to Jesus who he proclaims as the 'Lamb of God'. The Pharisees asked him, “Are you the Messiah?” He tells them in a rather straightforward manner that he is not the one they are looking for. But he also adds that he is the one who is paving the way for the One they are asking about and that his role is to preach to those who will take the path to the Messiah.


John the Baptist tells them that he can only baptize with water, but the One after him will baptize also with the Spirit. (It is John the Baptist who introduces us to a new relationship with God. A Foundation of Freedom and Hope I believe that John the Baptist was put on this earth to simply remind us that humanity falls short of God's expectations and as a result the only way to attain a right relationship with God is through His Grace and Mercy, and 'the Way' to unity with God is through Jesus who is the Lamb that was sacrificed for us.


Jesus enables us to obtain righteousness. Again, John is preaching about our release from Hebraic Law because it limits our freedom to enter into this new covenant or relationship with God. C.B. Moss writes about how without Jesus Christ, we are “like slaves in a prison, chained, beaten, and without food or light.” (Page 17) The remedy to this is to become more aware of our freedom. This is attained by our being fed, healed and made stronger (spiritually and otherwise) so that we can come into the world knowing how to live as free people. The importance of being able to enter into this new relationship as free people is that it allows God's word to dwell within us. St. Paul encourages us to “Rejoice in the Lord always.”


I believe that the message here is that we should rejoice in the arrival of Jesus who is, as the John the Baptist tells us, the Lamb of God that takes away the Sin of the World! A result of our rejoicing is that we can become awakened and cleansed (fed, healed and made stronger) by His entering into our lives. This is the whole purpose of the season of Advent. John the Baptist sets off the alarm bells by shouting to the world that something mighty big is happening; something transformative.


John wants us to know that with the arrival of Jesus, we are given a reason to have Hope in a turbulent world. Without this Hope life can be very difficult, confusing, and hard to navigate. During Advent, Hope is manifested through our communal rejoicing of Jesus' imminent arrival. It is the answer to the prayer that we pray on this fourth Sunday in Advent; that God, through His Son, Jesus, will come among us (Emmanuel) and by doing so He will change our lives by His very presence in the world.


Our Christian Duty: Cultivating God's Grace with Jesus Christ there is Hope and Freedom. Most importantly, we have a foundation to build upon in the person of Jesus Christ and we are to bear witness to this fact. Our mission is to go out into the world and present His Good News. The Good News is that Jesus has freed us from a sinful world by being God's Sacrificial Lamb for all of humanity; from that moment on it became a world that could no longer destroy us or kill us.


Our belief in this new relationship binds us together with the Divine. Our Christian faith make us one with the Trinity. We are now in kinship with God the Father that creates us, God the Son, who is Jesus, that redeems us and God the Holy Spirit that Sanctifies us. But in any good relationship we must do our part to keep the bonds strong and together.


C.B. Moss teaches us that it is important for Christians to be taught their duty to God because He saved humanity and therefore each of us must give ourselves over completely to the service of others as “Christ's soldier”. (Page 21) Moss describes it as making three promises and keeping them. I would describe it as cultivating God's Grace.


First, the Christian must promise to “resist the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil”. (Page 22) Secondly, he or she must promise to believe what the Holy Spirit is teaching them as necessary for salvation, in particular the Creed. And finally, the Christian must promise to obey God's commandments, most importantly the Ten Commandments.


Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to make disciples of all nations. It is therefore our duty to bring all non-Christians to the Lord so that they may serve others by living a “holy life” (Page 29), teaching the Gospel, and persuading them to participate in the Sacraments. Our duty toward our neighbours is to love them as ourselves. After all, it is our Christian duty towards our loving God that we should also love one another.


Through His Bountiful Grace we have been gifted with the promise of Hope. It is the kind of Hope that gives us the confidence that we will be united “with God in Heaven”. The only way, however, to be united with God is through Jesus Christ, for He said, “no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (Page 35).


Through His Bountiful Grace, we are provided the Spiritual sustenance we need and through His indwelling our souls are awakened and cleansed. Our faith enables us to be imitators of Christ; the One who possess the foundation of Hope and Freedom for a fallen world. We are the bearers of the Good News of Jesus Christ, who is indeed the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of this World.


In the end, we are powerless without the help of God. “Grace is what we call that help, and it comes to us by the kindness of God.” (Page 38) Let us continue to rejoice that it is through God's Divine Grace that the Holy Spirit works in each of us as instruments of His love. And may we also continue to grow in faith as we work tirelessly in the Vineyard to cultivate His most Bountiful Grace.

Amen.

A Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Advent Based on the book A Summary of The Faith by the Rev. C.B. Moss D.D. Published on December 15th, 2018 in The Traditional Anglican News Volume 6 Issue 12 {Revised on December 5th,2022}


© Dr. Charles Warner 2022

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