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Living according to our profession: Meditation for the 4th sunday after trinity

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Princewill O. Ireoba

The Petition of the Collect for today, Fourth Sunday After Trinity, is: “May we and all who have been admitted into the fellowship of faith in Christ reject those things that are contrary to our profession and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same.” It is both a prayer and a call for us to live according to our profession as Christians.

Profession can mean affirmation or declaration. It can also mean vocation, which is what we sensed a call to do and through which we earn our living. In Ephesians 4:1, Paul regards our profession as our call to be Christians. The word, klēsis, which Paul uses here for profession or vocation refers to a calling to participate in something or an invitation to become a part of something special; the profession of being a Christian. It is the lifestyle of a child of God or a Christian.

The Christian lifestyle is the life of preaching Christ, the life according to the tenets and ideals enunciated by Christ. It is a life of walking in harmony with God. Jesus Christ’s Death and Resurrection accomplished righteousness for man, which means a right relationship with God. The righteousness is forensic (declaring sinful mankind righteous through the work of Christ); imputed (freely giving mankind righteousness through the work of Christ); ethical (providing the indwelling Spirit, who produces righteousness in mankind) and relational (restoring the fellowship of the Garden of Eden by Christ restoring the image of God in believers). God decrees (i.e. freely gives) and provides, but man must respond and continue to respond in repentance, faith, lifestyle, obedience and perseverance.

The Readings for the Holy Communion service today (Exod. 20:1-17; Eph. 5:1-10; Matt.19: 16-22) point us to how to live our lives according to our profession.

The OT passage is the enunciation of the Ten Commandments of God. The Ten Commandments are the central stipulations of God’s covenant with Israel made at Mount Sinai. They summarise what God demands or requires from His people in terms of faith, worship and conduct. It is, however, to be noted that it did not come as a comprehensive constitution or by-law, covering every do or don’t of life. The Rabbinic expansion of the Ten Commandments to 613 stipulations shows their poor understanding of God’s mind in relation to the Commandments. They are principles for morality, which is summarised in love for God and man (Matt. 22:37-39)

The Epistle deals with Christian life and expresses what Christians should and should not do. There are attitudes and characters that are quite incongruent with Christianity and so, should not be associated with Christians. The key to rooted spirituality and righteousness constitute the kernel of the Epistle: “Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (verse 1-2).

The Gospel is an account of our Lord’s interaction with a rich young man, who was in keen pursuit of eternal life. Jesus teaches that obedience to the Commandments of God is required for eternal life. The young man had been vigorously keeping the Ten Commandments. But that was not enough. He lacked something, which is very basic. He kept the letters of the law but lacked the sacrificial love, which is the spirit or mind of God behind the Commandments.

The Ven. Dr. Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.


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