If God Had Not Been on Our Side

As Mark says in Chapter 9, life is full of temptations, and before we become holy, we will be “salted with fire” (v. 49).  Sanctification is a consistent theme in the Bible. (Sanctify comes from the word “to make holy” or “be separated.” But it is important to remember that sanctification isn’t merely about our individual piety (love for God).

 Psalm 124 describes King David’s unsettled circumstances. The imagery and the language of the Psalm are intense: “Their anger was kindled against us,” “brings to mind a forest fire,“ “raging waters. . . sweeping over our soul.” This Psalm reminds us that creation and humans are interconnected. David, just like us, felt trapped by the storms. 

Sometimes the circumstances are out of our control. David hoped that the storms of life will not overtake him, “had the Lord not been on our side.” It is hard to keep our focus on God when we are overwhelmed and scared, but it is a good practice that can be developed before the hard times come. Will the world be different if all people cared for creation? Caring for creation is a moral and ethical duty for all people, and for Christians, it is also a matter of faith—a stewardship issue.

The Bible teaches us about our stewardship responsibility from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22. God continues working on the redemption of the whole world. Part of our sanctification, then, is being good stewards of all that God has entrusted into our care. Christ’s commandment to loving our neighbor is a big part of our stewardship of creation.

We need to care for our creation with grace to inspire others by example. We need to continue working on our personal holiness to become “the salt of the earth.” The word “sanctification” can be an intimidating word. It is, however, an important concept for Christians in general and Methodists in particular. God calls the people of Israel to be “holy as I am holy” in Leviticus.  Jesus invites the new community to be “perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.

We are called to be the unique people of God, not because we are better than others, but because God wants us to work on our sanctification daily. Sanctification is not a passive piety, but it is a call to action. Being the sanctified people of God means being part of what God is doing in the world.  From the act of worship and prayer, God calls each of us to active discipleship. God wants to see the fruits of our faith.

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