Spiritual Articles

His Benefits

pope shenouda iii

The chanter says in the Psalm: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits” (Ps 103:2). It is hard for us to remember all His benefits because they are non countable. But here we will only talk about main points concerning God’s care for the human and his many benefits.

 

1. The first benefit is that He has granted us existence and specifically speaking, He created us on the sixth day after He prepared everything for us...
He prepared nature for us: water and air, the Sun to lighten the day and the moon and the stars to light the night. He also prepared the plans for us, and animals to serve us and we talk about all this in the liturgy of St Gregory and say: “For my sake You bridled the sea. For my sake You have revealed the nature of the animals.” “You set up the sky for me as a ceiling. You made the earth firm for me so that I could walk on it.” Meaning that God, after preparing all the comfort means for the human, finally created him. He did after preparing the Garden of Eden for him to live in (Gn 2). 

2. Of God’s benefits also to man was that He created man on His image.
The only creature on Earth about who was said that he was created on the image of the Lord and according to His Likeness was the human. And what is meant by the divine image is the image of God in Holiness and righteousness, in mind and speech, in free will and in His image of authority. God said to the first man: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gn 1:28). And thus the human was God’s steward on Earth. And the human remained so until he sinned and lost some of his authority. Then came the Lord Jesus Christ to return to the human his first image. So may every human remember that he was created on the image of God so that he does not sin ... 

3. Among God’s benefits to the human is that he is called son of God.
And if we remembered this, we, as sons should be following the will of our Heavenly Father. Because when Jews took pride in that they are sons of Abraham, the Lord said to them: “If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham” (Jn 8:39). And so we as sons, should be following the Father’s will and fight until we reach perfection as the Lord said to us: “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Mt 5:48). 

4. We are not only God’s image and His sons but we also are God’s temple and the Holy Spirit dwells in us as was said in (1Co 3:16).
The apostle repeated this fact in (1Co 6:19). Meaning that we are sacred churches for God and we should preserve this sacredness as was said in the psalm: “Holiness adorns Your house, O LORD, forever” (Ps 93:5). You, my brother, are God’s temple, built of living stone, comes out of you hymns, praises and spiritual songs. And you as a sacred church were consecrated with the holy Myron after your baptism so preserve you sacredness... 

5. You too have a communion with God in work.
Especially the communion of the Holy Spirit. As is said to the prayers at the end of meetings: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (1Co 13:14). The Holy Spirit not only participates with you in all you do but He works in you, using you and with you. He works with you in building the Kingdom and spreading the Kingdom and virtuous life... Make sure then in every action you do that God’s Spirit works with you in it. And for every work you see that the Holy Spirit is not with you in it, keep away from it with all your strength. 

6. And of God’s love and His benefits that He called you a brother and a friend.
And said: “No longer do I call you servants, but I have called you friends” (Jn 15:15). And it was said about Him that He resembled His brethren in everything except sin. And He is not ashamed to call them brethren. (He 2:11). And He said to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary after His resurrection: “Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” (Mt 28:10). And He did not say that only about His apostles the saints but also about the poor and needy saying: “inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Mt 25:40). So, after the Lord, in his humility, lowered Himself and called you a brother, will you deny Him, give up His love and keep away from Him!!! 

7. Also of God’s benefits to us is that He made us of His own, and made the relationship that binds us and Him is a love relationship.
It was said that He “loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (Jn 13:1). And it was said that the greatest commandment in the Law was God’s love. And that what came in the Deuteronomy book: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Dt 6:5). And He is the one calling in the Song of Solomon Book saying: “Open for me, my sister, my love, My dove, my perfect one; For my head is covered with dew, My locks with the drops of the night.” (Sgs 5:2). And of God’s love to you is that He aims for you even when you are in sin. And knocks on your door saying: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20). Will you open your heart to Him or will you ignore His love in aiming for you!!! 

8. Another benefit of God’s benefits to the human is that because of His love and will to redeem him, He made Himself of no reputation and incarnated (Phil 2:7) and suffered and died the death of the cross.
And it was said “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16). As was also said about the Father in St John’s first Epistle: “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1Jn 4:9,10). Also was written in the Epistle to Romans that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro 5:8). 

9. Of God’s benefits to us also is that He made us members in His body.
And He resembled Himself to a Vine and us as branches (Jn 15) we abide in this vine and its juice come to us and we live by it. 

10. And of God’s benefits is that he gave us the Eucharist Sacrament.
And said “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” and “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”(Jn 6:56, 54). How wonderful is that great sacrament that angels desire to get to know closely. 

11. Also of God’s love and benefits to us is that He gave us a lasting life after death. And promised us eternal life.
No single earthly creature got that promise but the human alone. And so we pray saying “For there is no death for your servants but passing” and truly it is passing to a better life whether in Paradise with Christ or to the Kingdom later after rising from death... 

12. And of God’s benefits to us is that we will rise in spiritual bodies.
In glorified bodies (1Co 15:43, 44). It was also said in the Epistle to Philippians about resurrection that the Lord Jesus Christ “will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body” (Phil 3:21). Truly, how great will be this glory that we will have in His Kingdom. 

13. Of God’s benefits to us is the everlasting luxury that we will enjoy.
And it will be in Heavenly Jerusalem “the tabernacle of God is with men” (Rev 21:3). And what was said about it that "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1Co 2:9). 

Truly the story of God’s relationship with the human is a love story since He created the human and until the end of the world in the Heavenly Kingdom.
The Lord says in His love “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (Jn 14:3). Yes, of the abundance of His benefits is that He is Immanuel (God with us). With us on Earth, after death, and in eternity that is everlasting. And of the abundance of His benefits for us is the grace He gave us, about which St Paul the Apostle said “by the grace of God I am what I am” (1Co 15:10). May we remember God’s benefits and love Him back as He loves us. 

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