Love and Charity :: By Denis Bowden

This video clip is an excellent homily. It teaches well, showing where many of us fail as we forget that our best actions in life are those which lie between ourselves and God alone.

This is the same reason why Jesus instructed us that our prayers to God lie within a personal and direct conduit between each of us and God ALONE rather than the public prayers you might pray in Church to fulfill some religious denominational dogma and its doctrine that attempts to validate its existence. Instead, Jesus instructed us to go into our chamber and pray our heartfelt prayers in secret.

The Lord’s Prayer

Matthew 6:6-7 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their full reward. But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not babble on like pagans, for they think that by their many words they will be heard.”

Like prayer, giving help to others should be done in perfect secrecy between yourself and God.

Of course, if you’re a regular giver to different charities, you naturally leave an audit trail…a semi-public record of the movement of your funds. This is part of the price we pay in today’s digital world, and it’s unavoidable. However, this homily is teaching us that you don’t then go boast to all and sundry how you gave or give regularly to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army, Anglicare or St. Vinnie’s.

If you do, then expect no reward from God.

So, as far as possible, keep your good deeds to yourself. God alone is the arbiter of your motivations, especially the alleged love you profess towards your fellow man in accordance with the second of the two greatest Commandments. Jesus said that these two alone transcend all the remaining eight of the ten He gave to Moses at Sinai.

The Greatest Commandment

Matthew 22:37-39 “…Jesus declared, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

This World denies God, and of course (locked within that denial), then fails to understand that God has told us that this World is to be swept away, precisely because of the sin that has grown among mankind out of that denial.

There is no pardon of forgiveness for denial if you persist in it until it is so ingrained in your consciousness that accepting this, your willful decision, God gives you over to spiritual blindness. And this ‘spiritual blindness’ centers upon Jesus.

How many times have you heard this conversation, indeed, have taken part in it? “Yes…I believe that there is something ‘out there,’ some greater presence; maybe it is connected with Earth itself and our care of the Planet!”

You then introduce the name of ‘Jesus.’ Eyes roll back in the head of the person you are conversing with, and the ‘shutters come down immediately,’ or attempts are made to shift the focus because your conversing partner CANNOT deal with Jesus. He/she has long shut Him out and all He represents.

This happens when life choices and lifestyle (the World) have taken total precedence in a person’s life. Unfortunately, as these choices lock in, they take control of you as ‘feeding’ your choices becomes paramount to being the focus of your life. Ultimately, it may lead to a satanic rejection of Jesus, hating Him for what He stands for.

We have a God who is both the epitome of Justice and of righteousness. He judges (through Jesus) those who commit the unpardonable sin: that of denial of His existence. His ‘right’ to judge exists (as does He) because this very orb we call ‘The Earth’ is His own created footstool.

It is the ‘right’ that signifies His ownership over His own creation: that of the Divine Potter.

When we, ‘the clay,’ through the expression of our own will, remain malformed by denial of God, the offer of saving Grace cannot take effect within our hearts; how could it? Our heart has become surrounded by the granite of our rejection. Denial and rejection are two sides of the coin. It could be said that they ‘feed’ each other.

I believe that first, the Holy Spirit must gently prompt our hearts to the point where the granite exterior begins to crack. Because only our acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God, replete with the offering of our repentance for our denial and the sin which constantly flows from it, can alter the outcome.

However, in watching loads of YouTube conversions amidst all races and diverse characters and backgrounds of people, I am totally convinced that the living Jesus is now personally manifesting Himself. I have listened carefully to the testimony of Imams of Islam with an inherent hatred of both the Jew and the Christian, and I am totally blown away by their experiences – as are they themselves when they see revealed the God of compassion and love of themselves. I have heard former terrorists recant in brokenness, and I am ‘gob-smacked!’ What a God…what a Savior!

This is the point at which our sins are forever washed clean. Grace is therefore not granted as a ‘one-time’ event. It is the white robe of cleanliness that permits us to constantly claw our way back when (in our still remaining fallen state in the flesh) we fall again and again and throw ourselves in broken repentance at the feet of Jesus.

Even Paul was to bemoan his constant battle between his search for spiritual purity and the constant thorn within his flesh, to fall into sin.

Would that this was a one-time situation.

Unfortunately, our fallen nature yet remains with us until we are finally transcended, as was Jesus as He rose from death. Our nature is thus predisposed to sin and not perfection; that is still to come. And for us, specifically, it will come soon as we are called away Home by Jesus.

Grace, therefore, fires the clay of our hitherto malformed state of incompleteness. And it turns it to completeness by the authority of Jesus.

Our previous denial is now fired within the kiln of Salvation. Jesus alone, acting on behalf of the supreme ‘potter,’ is the means by which our acceptance by God is confirmed by the fact of His atonement for both our denial and sins. An act sealed with His own blood. I see His blood as the glaze that displays our acceptance to the very Host of Heaven. It now shines upon our very souls — a soul which God now can acknowledge as His own: a reconciled son or daughter, albeit, even a small child.

The atonement of His own Son, who died as a perfect sacrifice, spilling his life-blood for the earthly sins of all mankind, is the medium through which we accept this. And thus ends our life of denial as we begin to follow Jesus. Ah…would that sin would have abandoned us at this point; but our journey is not, unfortunately, finished.

However, we have been granted the gift of ‘new life’ by the act of this Grace which, ultimately, will see us reconciled back to the same true relationship of sons and daughters that was to be granted us in the Beginning through the first man and his woman. Then their successful temptation saw that relationship sundered and lost to all the succeeding generations until the advent of a human child whose bloodline of fatherhood was not sullied and tainted by fallen flesh but was gestated by the divine purity of the Holy Spirit Himself.

It might be appropriate to add the words of confirmation from the Wedding ceremony at this point because Scripture speaks vividly of our union with God through Jesus, relating how He is the bridegroom and we, His bride.

“That which God hath joined together, let no man put asunder!”

This is ‘new life’ in God, promised through Jesus. And it is the only way that, during this soon-to-end Church Age, that God can be reached and we can become reconciled back to Him.

At ‘first face,’ it is a gift only partially given.

We still stand as ‘fallen from Grace’ because of the sin of the Man, Adam, and the Woman, Eve.

We should forever despair, you think?

‘New Life’ in Jesus comes with the prophetic promise that Christ Jesus Himself will shortly call us so that we may be spared the Day of Wrath that is now very close. We know not the timing, but we do have scriptural reference to the signs that are to precede both his call to us, and then later, the world-shattering event of His Second Coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, judge of mankind. And all mankind will witness this just as they will NOT witness our own ‘calling away’ – the latter happening so quickly, “in the twinkling of an eye!”

This timing is known only to God Himself. God has placed a definitive time limit on the gathering of His flock, and conversely, the time permitted the deliberate act of denial before He calls its end.

At the appointed hour of our call, when the Trumpet of God sounds in the Heavens, the voice of Jesus Himself will call us to Heaven (this, whether we have previously fallen in death or are still living). And as we rise to meet Jesus in the clouds, the promise is fulfilled. We are transcended to a new body, as was Jesus when He rose from Death – the firstborn of the dead to rise to Heaven.

Best of all, it is a new body to whom the call of the flesh to sin is unknown: gone forever.

What IS the Rapture?

The Bible tells us that before the great Tribulation ‘Day of Wrath’ comes upon the earth, the Lord will remove his believers from the earth.

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (Thessalonians 4:16-18).

We who believe in God and have (being reborn through the Holy Spirit) become reconciled back to God, through the atoning Grace of Jesus, know this to be a literal truth and a covenant promise through Jesus that cannot be broken. And we know it because, having closely studied all the relevant Scripture, we believe it to be so.

In this, the closing minutes of the Church age, before the ‘Day of Wrath’ (also called Tribulation) descends upon the World, we are told to ‘get ourselves right with Jesus’ in order that we can be reconciled back to God. This is so important for us all to remember.

If we were to die in the flesh, without ending our denial of God, we would ultimately be sentenced to die the eternal, second death at Judgment: condemned in living torment and eternally separated from the God we denied; thus, we will have remained rejected clay. Therein lies no further promise of forgiveness, for in His righteousness, Justice will have been served by our sentence. You do not re-fire a flawed pot in a kiln, but you can use fire itself to burn and destroy.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Only Justice remains for the unrepentant denier of the Judge Himself.

Jesus is the only way that the end of our denial can be ‘certified.’ It is Jesus Christ who acknowledges the end of our denial and who certifies to His Father that this is so. Through this act of Grace, we are reconciled to our God, sanctified through the person of the Holy Spirit because of the Grace Jesus earned for us on the Cross.

No doubt, this is why it is Jesus Himself who is manifest to the most unusual of converts. The good shepherd instinctively knows his sheep, particularly those who have hitherto been searching for God but in the wrong place.

When you have given yourself to Jesus, and you have publicly proclaimed this with your lips to another, you have sealed your personal covenant with your God.

In this act, you now stand before a loving and compassionate God who no longer sees your past sins, but cleansed as you are by Grace, recognizes and accepts you as His child. This state could never come about were you to die tonight in your sleep, locked in denial of God and never having come to Him through Jesus. For no true Son or Daughter denies their Father, but seek him out always for his paternal love and affection. How wonderful that we can find our Heavenly Father through His own Son.

Children naturally, by sheer, innate instinct, seek their Father’s blessing through the visible presence given them by his personal attention. A look, a smile, a hug, a feeling of warmth that comes over you when you know your Dad has fixed his attention on ‘you.’ Do you think that a loving and compassionate God who gave us these instinctive senses doesn’t Himself experience these emotions? He is ‘love’ personified; what human could remotely approach such all-embracing love?

As a child of God but still ‘earth-bound,’ you now begin the lonely walk in the steps of Jesus. And you now carry the burden of your own personal Cross on your back. If your life in the flesh is long, it may well prove a heavy burden as you are then whipped and scorned by a Christ-hating world. A world that, in its derision, calls upon you to scorn and deny God constantly. However, you, now, of your own volition and free will, are given to God, and your covenant with Him through Jesus is eternal and cannot be broken. You may lose the bulk of your promised reward/s but never the covenant promise itself. And Jesus has told us that His yoke is not so heavy as to make it impossible for you to lift and carry your Cross, onward, toward and through the narrow gate.

As God knows every time you slip and fall, Jesus comes instantly to your side that you may ‘see’ that it is still possible to pick up your Cross and, with stoic conviction, walk on.

Therefore, in the midst of these trials, do not forget your own personal debt to others. There are many even less fortunate than yourself, and though they themselves may not yet know God (for they may well still lie in denial), who knows… your one, secret, charitable and loving act may see them open to the Holy Spirit, that they may ‘see’ and experience the Grace granted by Jesus.


Denis Bowden