To Israel God is all grace, John the cousin of Jesus says
“9 Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 10 Even now the axe of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize with[d] water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.[e] 12 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
Being God’s people, they were saved from slavery and exile, and taught to thank God for their inner grace- his image within. The law and its keeping, especially the Sabbath, was an agreement made by God (Covenant) that enabled them to atone and return to the Way (T’shuva: https://theshalomcenter.org/content/path-always-present-tshuvah-habit-and-idea-direction) and remain on the Way.
In Jesus’ death and resurrection- his blood and broken body shared for all humanity, a new covenant is revealed. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God. We, who are not of Israel, come to know God in this relationship, this Way- the revelation of the image within, where the Father and the Son abide. The presence of the Spirit in our lives confirms this in acts of righteousness and compassion in our lives.
We are called to pray, giving thanks for the deep inner purity of our souls, acknowledging God, and by grace we walk free in the world. It is not the troubles of the day that refine us. It is the refining work of the unquenchable fire of the Holy Spirit which works to burn up the chaff and the kernel of wheat remains, our original blessing. This never ending fire of grace is God’s gift to us in Christ who lays an axe to the unfruitful branch in us so that we may walk free. We, by Jesus’ broken body and blood are made free to be fruitful.
In the trials of life and the wrath we feel within and without, we come to know that despite our transgressions, Christ is there and in Christ we come into the inheritance of Israel. We too can repent and return to the ever present Way. We are baptised in water and by fire – cleansed and refined, not by the trials but by the Holy Spirit.
In Jesus the faith of Israel is made available to all of us, so that we no longer walk around in darkness, off the path. We are no longer formed by the wrath, becoming bitter, angry and vengeful. In our troubles and disappointments love may win. The refining fire of God burns what holds us in the darkness and brings us into the light- the light of hope. In Christ this has always been so and nobody is excluded.
4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
We are all called to the Lord’s table. We share in the remembrance of Jesus’ death. By breaking bread together, we remember Jesus’ broken body on the Cross, and by sharing a cup we remember Jesus’ blood – his humanity poured out for us, so that we who were outside are brought in. No longer is the way a way of God given regulations, but the way is revealed as Jesus the Christ.
The table is the place of forgiveness and sustenance. We are set back on the way, strengthened and restored, body and soul. Jesus is present and none are excluded; it is an occasion of welcome where all are fed and needs are met, as we become present to one another.