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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Summary of our Faith - In the Bible


In the past we have looked at summarizing the faith so as to see the big picture. We as Catholics should be able to present the faith to someone if asked, especially if we have children we need to be constantly living the faith but explicitly teaching the faith to them as well.  We can summarize our faith for someone but then back that up with the Bible as well.

I would say this - we are made for a relationship with God, but because we offend him with sin this relationship is severely damaged. So God the Father sent his Son to repair that relationship through His suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, from where he gives us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is received by those who believe in the work of the Son of God and are baptized. Now that we have received the Holy Spirit through baptism, we can now live a new life in fellowship with the Father which is maintained by the sacraments and prayer. 

How does the Bible present all of this?

If we know our Bible History, we know that on Ascension Thursday right before Jesus was taken from the apostles it says this:
Acts 1:4-5   And while staying with them he [Jesus] charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me,   for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

So the apostles are to wait for the promised Holy Spirit by whom they will be baptized.

Acts 2 says this (and I am paraphrasing) - Nine days later the Holy Spirit arrives and transforms these frightened fishermen into fearless witnesses for Christ. Those who hear them preaching think they are drunk but Peter says - We are not drunk but have received that promised Holy Spirit, spoken of by the prophets. Jesus was the Christ which was proven over and over by miracles and you all had him killed. But God has risen him up and he now sits at the right hand of the Father from where he has poured out on us the Spirit which was promised.

This part that you just told us corresponds to the Creed. We say this is what God has done in the past. Now how do we get in touch with that thing that happened in the past today?

The first step is to believe the message. Do I believe that what Jesus did back then was for my benefit? Now some people say – Yes I do believe, and they think right there and then they are saved. This is not the case. If an emergency worker knocked on your door and said there is a tornado headed this way and I can take you to safety, and I said – I believe you can take me to safety. I still have to follow the emergency worker to actually be saved. The same thing is true with Jesus, and we see it happen in the church in Acts 2.

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

Now that they believe in the work and person of Christ, it is then applied through Baptism, just as Jesus said:
Acts 2:38, 39 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him

So I believe in the work of Christ which corresponds to the Creed in the Catechism, and I now receive the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments…this is so we can walk in newness of life, or as the Catechism calls it – Life in Christ.

Amen to that, listen to St. Paul

Romans 6:3-4   Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

So the reason we receive the sacraments which communicate God’s very life to us, (such as baptism) is so that we might walk in a new life, a life in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:1, 2, 16-25 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  …But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.


Finally this new relationship with God is maintained by prayer.
Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit;
1 Thessalonians 5:17   Pray without ceasing
Philippians 4:6-8   Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, … will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

So we see that even in the Bible, this outline which the Catechism presents to us is present, and is summarized in
Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

1 comment:

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