Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Blog # 57 CHANGED BY FAITH
BLOG # 57 CHANGED BY FAITH We hear so much about faith in God and Jesus, how we need to have faith, and so on. I sometimes think we do not always hear very much about what faith does for us NOW. We hear that faith brings us to Heaven, and saves us from Hell, but that seems to be realized in the future. I think it is useful from time to time to think what faith does for us in the present, right now, here on earth, in our kitchen, our living room, our work place, in our everyday lives and in our relationships with those who live around us and are members of our families. One of the first things we notice when we begin to study the idea of faith in the Bible is that faith makes a difference in a person's life. St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians ( 2 Cor. 5 : 7), says that if anyone is joined to Christ by faith and Baptism, he or she is a new creation. Certainly to say of something that it is a new creation is to say that it is different than before! So, for a person to believe in Jesus is to expect to be different. And St. Paul's words do not imply the future life of Heaven. Rather he is speaking of the present time, here and now, and the difference faith makes. In the eighteenth chapter of Matthew's Gospel, verse three, Jesus tells His followers that "unless you change and become as little children you will not enter the Kingdom of God". It is true that here someone might say Jesus is speaking of Heaven and the future, but surely not in the first part of the sentence when He says unless you change. That is the present. Unless you are different now Jesus is saying, it is not going to be that you will be different later on in Heaven. Besides that, Jesus came to announce the Kingdom of God had arrived on earth ,in Himself, in the present tense. Very clearly in Matthew 5: 20 Jesus says that unless your goodness is greater than that of the Scribes and Pharisees you will not enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus is saying that when we have faith more is expected of us. A person who through no fault of his or her own does not have faith is judged by his or her conscience as it has been formed without faith, but a person who has faith is judged by a conscience informed by faith. Clearly throughout the Bible it is shown that God expects something different from those who have faith. Do you have faith? What difference does it make in your life day by day? May our faith cause us to think and speak and act like Jesus. What a difference! The task is not an easy one. Rather it is easy to fall short and get mixed up in the details of our secular human life to such an extent that almost without realizing it our faith experience becomes a part-time Sunday affair. It seems essential to set aside time to be with the Lord, to strengthen our faith, deepen our hope, and purify our love. Daily Bible reading, prayer, and reflection have always been found not only useful but necessary for those who wish to follow Jesus closely and to taste the full joy of being saved by Him through faith.