Page 179



We are writing these things, loved ones, not only to admonish you but also to remind ourselves. For we are in the same arena and the same contest is set before us. 2 For this reason we should leave be­ hind empty and frivolous thoughts and come to the famous and venerable rule of our tradition. 3 We should realize what is good and pleasing and acceptable before the one who made us. 4 We should gaze intently on the blood of Christ and realize how precious it is to his Father; for when it was poured out for our salvation, it brought the gracious gift of repentance to the entire world. 5 Let us review all the generations and learn that from one generation to the next the Master has provided an opportunity for repentance to those wanting to return to him. 6 Noah proclaimed repentance, and those who heeded were saved from danger.17 7 Jonah proclaimed an impending dis­ aster to the Ninevites; and those who repented of their sins appeased God through their fervent pleas and received salvation, even though they had been es­ tranged from God.18


Those who administered the gra­ cious gift of God spoke through the Holy Spirit about repentance. 2 And the Master of all things himself spoke about repentance with an oath: “For as I live, says the Lord, I do not want the sinner to die but to repent.”19 And to this he added a good pronounce­ ment: 3 “Repent from your lawlessness, house of Israel. Say to the children of my people, ‘If your sins extend from the earth to the sky and are redder than scar­ let and blacker than sackcloth, but you


return to me with your whole heart and say, “Father,” I will listen to you as to a holy people.’ ”20 4 And in another place he speaks as follows: “Wash and become clean; re­ move from yourselves the evils that are before my eyes; put an end to your evil deeds; learn to do good; pursue justice, rescue those who are treated unjustly, render a decision for the orphan and do what is right for the widow. And come, let us reason together, says the Lord. Even if your sins are like crimson, I will make them white as snow; and if they are like scarlet, I will make them white as wool. If you are willing and obey me, you will eat the good things of the earth; but if you are not willing and do not obey me, a sword will devour you. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken these things.”21 5 Because he wanted all his loved ones to have a share in repentance, he set it in place by his all-powerful will.


For this reason we should obey his magnificent and glorious will and, as petitioners of his mercy and kindness, fall down before him and turn to his com­ passionate ways, leaving behind our pointless toil and strife and the jealousy that leads to death. 2 We should gaze intently on those who have perfectly served his magnifi­ cent glory. 3 We should consider Enoch, who was transported to another place be­ cause he was found to be righteous in his obedience; and his death was never found.22


Genesis 7. 18Jonah 3. 19Cf. Ezek 33:11. bly drawn from Ezekiel 33. 21Isa 1:16–20 24; Heb 11:5.


Possi­ Gen 5:


Profile for sheekh 3arb