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Thursday, June 9, 2016

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St. Ephrem

1 Kings 18:41-46
Psalm 65:10-13
Matthew 5:20-26

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the life of pure grace

"You have heard the commandment imposed on your forefathers, 'You shall not commit murder; every murderer shall be liable to judgment.' What I say to you is..." —Matthew 5:21-22

Jesus has set the highest standards in history. For example, we are not to grow angry with our brothers and sisters in Christ (Mt 5:22). We are not to act, speak, or even think in anger (Mt 5:22). Furthermore, we must take the responsibility to be reconciled with those who are angry with us — even if we are not angry with them (Mt 5:23). Moreover, we must do this right away, or we will be punished (Mt 5:25). Also, this is only one area in which Jesus calls us to meet supernatural standards. In the Sermon on the Mount, He lists several other "highest" standards (see Mt 5:27ff).

Jesus demands what seems to be the impossible in many areas, particularly in our relationships with other Christians. Along with these highest standards, He provides the superabundant grace for us to be free of anger and full of love. So His humanly impossible demands are not unattainable. Jesus simply insists that we live by grace (Rm 4:16). We are privileged to be able to walk on the waters of this world (see Mt 14:28ff) and live in the Lord's supernatural dimension. We are awesomely privileged to be sharers in the divine nature (2 Pt 1:4) and live accordingly.

By grace, do the impossible. Be a Christian.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit so that I will live every moment of my life in and by grace.

Promise:  "You have visited the land and watered it; greatly have You enriched it." —Ps 65:10

Praise:  Though he lived as a hermit, St. Ephrem sought to improve the lives of those in the city.

Reference:  (For a related teaching on Job Performance for Jesus, order, listen to, or download our CD 43-3 or DVD 43-CH. 4 or order our tape on audio AV 43-3 or video V 43.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 20, 2016

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