The Blossoming of Faith

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4  “Israel, remember this! The LORD—and the LORD alone—is our God. 5  Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (TEV)

1 It is also taught among us that such faith should produce good fruits and good works and that we must do all such good works as God has commanded, but we should do them for God’s sake and not place our trust in them as if thereby to merit favor before God. (1) 

296      Learn to praise the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Learn to have a special devotion to the Blessed Trinity: I believe in God the Father, I believe in God the Son, I believe in God the Holy Spirit; I hope in God the Father, I hope in God the Son, I hope in God the Holy Spirit; I love God the Father, I love God the Son, I love God the Holy Spirit. I believe, I hope and I love the most Holy Trinity. This devotion is much needed as a supernatural exercise for the soul, expressed by the movement of the heart, although not always in words.  (2) 

I wish there was a way to study the human soul, but there is not, at least from our perspective.

Simply put, there seems to be a movement away from intimacy with God that is becoming more and more apparent.  It reveals itself often in our attitude toward faith and works, as I’ve written about recently.

Some just want a list of behaviors to enforce, a way to measure righteousness that is completely divorced from the soul.  A list of publicly viewable sins (as opposed to the sins of our mind, or those we do in private) that can be used as a checklist.

Some want no accountability at all, and use theology to try and prove the behaviors prohibited in the Old Testament aren’t binding, and the behaviors commanded are not either.

In my branch of Christianity, in our basic doctrinal statement, note that works are the production of faith and such works we must do   The reason isn’t so God will approve of us, or that they merit God’s graces, we have that already because of Christ.  Nevertheless, the works need to blossom from our faith.  Obedience needs to come, not forced or coerced, but naturally.

How does this work?  I would say it comes from see the Bible passage in red above become our reality.  To love God with everything we are.   To desire His presence the way a couple desires to be In each others presence.   To adore, to be devoted to God, as He reveals Himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, even as St Josemaria advises us.

It is from this love, that treasuring the words of God begins.  As we revel in His love, in His sharing His life and our lives, that good works can blossom and grow.   Good works don’t come from our own strength, they can only come from being in the presence of God, of knowing His love so well that it becomes our nature as well. The kind of closeness to God that makes us uncomfortable, that causes us to be distant at first….even as it did to those in the past. z

yet it is His intimate presence that changes everything, His love that creates in us the ability to love, and the desire to love beyond our ability.

Knowing this, it is no wonder that St. Paul prays,

16  I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT)

May it be so in all our lives today…..

Even in the lives of our enemies.

 

(1) [1] Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (pp. 31–32). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.  (Augsburg Confession Art. VI

(2)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1201-1206). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on November 10, 2014, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions, The Forge and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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