Beware of those who say: All you need do is accept Jesus into your heart and you this once being saved, will always be saved. It simply isn’t so. They will quote scripture out of context. What is the context? The context is the Good News of Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ. They will point to passages by Paul (who was not, is not, and will never be the Christ) and say see! see!, but read on and you will find Paul tirelessly acted, worked, preached, and performed great deeds and wonders to live the Will of God, and what is more, demands the same from all Christians. Paul condemns those who have fallen away from the faith, or mislead others into false worship or sin by presuming to interpret the Good News in a manner that suits them, their lifestyle, or economy. I will say this, even if Paul allowed for such things (and he did not) saying, “once saved, always saved!” Don’t listen to him, Jesus is Lord and no other. Jesus commands we live the Will of the Father each and every day.
Taking scripture out of context is a dangerous thing. Suppose I were to quote to you:
Mark 3:21-22 – Speaking of Jesus they said, “He is out of His mind. . . He is possessed of Beelzebul. . .By the prince of demons He drives out demons.”
Luke 11: 15 Some of them said (of Jesus), “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.”
Matthew 26: 65-66 The high priest speaking of Jesus, “He has blasphemed! What further need have we of witnesses? You have now heard the blasphemy; what is your opinion? They said in reply, “He deserves to die!”
John 8:48 Speaking to Jesus, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and are possessed?”
What conclusion might one draw about Jesus if this was all one had to go on? So it is with those that think they can follow Jesus and be redeemed without good works. True we are redeemed by Grace alone, but we must accept that Grace and when we accept God’s Grace then, like Mary whose “fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum” (let it be done to me according to thy Word) brought the Living God in the person of Jesus the Messiah into the world, we surrender our entire bodies in service to the Lord and the following of His Will thus, forsaking our own wills, we bring Jesus into the world.
How does one do this? Read the words of Jesus in the Gospel, but read all of them! Do not read phrases and passages that conveniently correspond with the way in which you are already living and say to yourself, “I am on the right road. I am doing this and that right, and not doing that other thing.” This attitude is one and the same with that of many of the Pharisees and Scribes who adhered to the “Stone Tablets of the Law.” They have their reward. But you (and of course I mean “me” as well), you do not adhere to stone tablets, but you live and breathe a living law written on a heart of flesh.
When you read the Gospel as a whole and cease to fiddle with little words and their possible interpretations and begin to feel the One Word, you, like Peter, at Jesus’ beckon cast out into the deep, and when you pay out your nets for a catch, you, like Peter, confronted with the overwhelming abundance of God’s Grace should, and most likely will, feel yourself whole-heartedly convicted and fall before the Christ and say, “depart from me Lord for I am a sinful man.” Jesus knows you are a sinner, yet He has come to call the sinner, not those who believe themselves righteous. Jesus has no time for such sentiment and demands you leave behind who you are and come to be that which He will make you. He will make you a “fisher of men,” and like when He first entered your boat, told you to cast off into the deep, to pay your nets into the sea, and to labor–calling friends to help–to reap the abundant harvest you will be called upon to work harder than you have ever before worked in your life. You must become a servant and a servant does not, can not sit upon his duff and claim a birthright to no labor.
Jesus calls us to friendship, to kinship with Him. Do we not have responsibility to our friends? Obligation to our kin? Are we not to love and care for our neighbor? Are we not our brothers’ keeper? Read the Beatitudes! Read Matthew 25! Read the Gospels and cannot you not see the labor to which you are called? Jesus denies even knowing those who have failed to do the works of God on earth. Say, “Lord! Lord!” until you turn blue, but lest you lift a finger, moreover, sell all you have and give to the poor, and show no less love than to give your life for your friends, you have not entered the Kingdom of Heaven and have not come to know the Lord.
God help me! How I have failed you each and every moment! Seventy times seven? I need you, Father, to forgive me seventy million times seven-hundred billion–and that is just the last half-hour! Who then can be saved? With God all things are possible, but we must make every word, every breath, every action, every deed, every thought, every moment a prayer crying out: Abba! Abba! I am all Thine! Use me as Thou wilt! I will, like my Brother Jesus, drink the cup you put before me. I will, like my Mother Mary, give you my “fiat!,” and I will, humble creature of ash and dust, like my fellow sinner Paul, be transformed and made slave to Jesus Christ having no will of my own, but Thine! Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed.
Let us pray:
O Lord, I beg you, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, cleanse me of my sin, renew within me a steadfast spirit, and restore me to the gladness of Your Salvation. Let me know Your Will for me, O Lord, and grant me the grace, the strength, the wisdom, the courage, the faith, the hope, the love, the prudence, the perseverance, the humility, the joy and the will to carry it out all the days of my life. I ask this through Christ Our Lord.
May Almighty God bless you; the Father the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
(C) Copyright 10 February 2019