There is something of a paradox in the mercy of the Lord, if someone lives a wicked life and repents towards the end of it, they will be saved. However, if someone lives a good life and then rebels towards the end they will be seriously, if not mortally, endangering their salvation. We are never assured of eternal life until the day that we die. Unfortunately we do not know the date of our death so the only safe path to salvation is to be ready at any time to hear God calling us home.
21 But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22 None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced. 23 Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord God. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live? 24 And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil, the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does, can he do this and still live? None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered, because he has broken faith and committed sin; because of this, he shall die. 25 You say, ?The LORD?s way is not fair!? Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? 26 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. 27 But if a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; 28 since he has turned away from all the sins which he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
P S A L M
Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7, 7-8
R: If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice! 2 Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication. (R) 3 If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, LORD, who can stand? 4 But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered. (R) 5 I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word. 6 My soul waits for the LORD more than sentinels wait for the dawn. More than sentinels wait for the dawn. 7 Let Israel wait for the LORD. (R) For with the LORD is kindness and with him is plenteous redemption; 8 and he will redeem Israel from all their iniquities. (R)
G O S P E L
Virtue, if it is true and lasting, is never a shallow reality in our lives. We know that we are growing in virtue when the goodness of God is beginning to penetrate to the depth of our beings and we no longer care about the superficial realities of life; we have become focused on that which is truly good and pure and holy. Jesus? life is a perfect example of this to the point that He is unconcerned that He is going to be put to death. Why? Jesus knows that there is something greater than death that lies ahead of Him. Let us pray for this same knowledge to guide our lives as well.
20 I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 21 You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ?You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.? 22 But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ?Raqa,? will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ?You fool,? will be liable to fiery Gehenna. 23 Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, 24 leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.
think: We are never assured of eternal life until the day that we die.
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Judges 5-9