The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “There are not even 100 people in this country who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they think the Catholic Church to be.” Could it also be true that many Catholics do not fully understand what they believe in as well? This is a major problem facing the Church today as a whole and for individual members, this is really a tragedy. A tragedy on so many levels. Today we are going to look at our personal faith.
Why do so many people seem to have a personal faith crisis today? What does the Bible say about Faith? Why is Faith so important?
Why Faith Is Important
One of the best passages in the Bible about the importance of faith comes in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
What Faith Has Brought Us
23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the Law, locked up to wait for the faith which would eventually be revealed to us.
24 So the Law was serving as a slave to look after us, to lead us to Christ so that we could be justified by faith.
25 But now that faith has come we are no longer under a slave looking after us;
26 for all of you are the children of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus,
27 since every one of you that has been baptized has been clothed in Christ.
28 There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither slave nor freeman, there can be neither male nor female -- for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And simply by being Christ's, you are that progeny of Abraham, the heirs named in the promise.
Here we can clearly see that faith precedes the law. Abraham had faith in God before the Law of Circumcision and in fact, the Law of Circumcision was created to be a symbol of this faith in God.
If living the law perfected man then by whose power would man be perfected?
Brother and sisters, yes, that is correct, man would perfect him or herself and this was not the intent or the desire of God. The Law was created by God for man to follow to help not for man’s perfection. For if we could perfect ourselves why would we need God or Jesus Christ?
When Jesus came to this earth He was on a mission from God to tell the people that law was no longer applicable and a new covenant with God was being made. Jesus brought the New Covenant and with it a new way of life. Jesus brought both a lifestyle and a Church. He brought one lifestyle and one Church- not many lifestyles and many Churches. This lifestyle was based on faith not following a myriad of rules and laws unnecessarily but rather a life based on spreading the Gospel.
The Good News is that Jesus is the Christ. He died for our sins and was resurrected. If we live by the principles he taught us we too can live with him someday. He conquered death so we may live eternal life. Without him, all we would face would be the cold darkness of a desolate grave. Our future depends on our actions not so much on the letter of the law but the spirit of the law.
Brother and sisters if a man could reach heaven by living the law alone what is the use of faith? What is the use of Jesus’ sacrifice? If Jesus did not rise from the dead what is the good news of the Gospel? If we do not believe in the resurrected Jesus, where is our faith?
1 Corinthians 15 42-44
42 It is the same too with the resurrection of the dead: what is sown is perishable, but what is raised is imperishable;
43 what is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; what is sown is weak, but what is raised is powerful;
44 what is sown is a natural body, and what is raised is a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is a spiritual body too.
45 So the first man, Adam, as scripture says, became a living soul; and the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit.
46 But first came the natural body, not the spiritual one; that came only afterwards.
47 The first man, being made of earth, is earthly by nature; the second man is from heaven.
48 The earthly man is the pattern for earthly people, the heavenly man for heavenly ones.
49 And as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so we shall bear the likeness of the heavenly one.
50 What I am saying, brothers, is that mere human nature cannot inherit the kingdom of God: what is perishable cannot inherit what is imperishable.
We are both earthly and heavenly. We have a physical body and soul. We need to feed both. Without food, our bodies will die. Without feeding our souls our spirits will die. While we are on earth we need to do both. We need to do this now and forever. We must develop our faith and nurture it like our life really depended on it because our eternal life does.