1 John 5:1-6
5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child.
5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.
5:3 For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,
5:4 for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.
5:5 Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
5:6 This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.
98:1 O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.
98:2 The LORD has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
98:3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
98:4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
98:5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.
98:6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD.
98:7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it.
98:8 Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy
98:9 at the presence of the LORD, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
10:44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word.
10:45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles,
10:46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said,
10:47 “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
10:48 So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.
Have I rejoiced with and for my neighbor in virtue or pleasure? grieved with [her) in pain, for him in sin? Have I received his infirmities with pity, not anger? Have I thought or spoke unkindly of or to ? Have I revealed any evil of anyone, unless it was necessary to some particular good I had in view? Have I then done it with all the tenderness of phrase and manner consistent with that end?But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”—1 Peter 1:15-16
Do we buy a particular home on the basis of the call of God, or because of the availability of money? Do we buy a new car because we can afford it, or because God instructed us to buy a new car? If money determines what we do or do not do, then money is our boss. If God determines what we do or do not do, then God is our boss. My money might say to me, “You have enough to buy that,” but my God might say to me, “I don’t want you to have it.” Now, who am I to obey?Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for [God] has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”—Hebrews 13:5
The covenant-call to be God’s people, far from being primarily an invitation to special privilege, is first of all a summons to special responsibility. God calls a people to live in response to the needs of others, to live in right relationship with God, to bring justice and mercy to the land, and to lead the way toward peace and freedom. The covenant binds Israel to trust in God alone, not putting confidence in false prophets or false securities.Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.—Hebrews 13:2
Another [person] gladly takes a coin out of his purse and gives it to the poor, but he cannot extract kindness from his heart and forgive his enemies. Another forgives [her] enemies but never pays [her] creditors unless compelled to do so by force of law. All these [people) are usually considered to be devout, but they are by no means such. Saul’s servants searched for David in his house but Michal had put a statue on his bed, covered it with David’s clothes, and thus led them to think that it was David himself lying there sick and sleeping. In the same manner, many persons clothe themselves with certain outward actions connected with holy devotion and the world believes that they are truly devout and spiritual whereas they are in fact nothing but copies and phantoms of devotion.“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”—Matthew 23:27-28
Honest, direct confrontation is a true expression of compassion. As Christians, we are in the world without being of it. It is precisely this position that renders confrontation both possible and necessary. The illusion of power must be unmasked, idolatry must be undone, oppression and exploitation must be fought, and all who participate in these evils must be confronted. This is compassion. We cannot suffer with the poor when we are unwilling to confront those persons and systems that cause poverty.My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.—Galatians 6:1
Reverence is a gentle virtue; it is also strong. Reverence is a tender virtue; it is also tough. Reverence is a patient virtue; it is also persistent. Reverence bears no ill will toward others; it is able to bear the ill will of others when necessary. Reverence is a virtue that prepares us well to belong to one another; it reaches out to those who have given messages of not wishing to belong.When we approach others with gentle reverence, we bring gifts and share theirs with us.I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.—Philemon 1:7
The divine ratification we need is that which comes with the good news that God really does love all people without exception, that God loves “us,” and, most importantly, that God loves me! The heartwarming part of the Good News is that we do not have to come to this stunning truth all by ourselves. As we make our efforts to reach out and be open to this loving God, God is already there helping us. This is grace: “I am here; I am with you; I love you; I will never let you go!”But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.—Titus 3:4-5