Believing in Christ as Lord is the beginning of faith
GROW FROM SOME FAITH IN JESUS TO A TRUE SAVING FAITH IN cHRIST
Beginning of Faith–Not a Saving Faith
To obtain a wonderful saving faith from God’s mercy that truly hates every sin–has true sorrow/true love–we need to understand that this beautiful perfect forgiveness is only given to “everyone who believes in Him” (John 3:16).
But let’s not become deceived by the evil one, who wants to own us for all eternity, and not correctly seek God’s helping, healing mercy to save us–to take away our liking for sin–because we think we “believe” in Christ and are forgiven.
We simply must come to know, we don’t have a saving faith–true belief–the instant we recognize Jesus as Lord.
That is the beginning of faith…the infancy of faith…not proof of a mature, saving faith. We need to “grow into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2), and for most that takes much time since so much grace is needed.
“We are not to presume at the beginning of our conversion [we have a saving faith].”
–St. Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church (moral concordances #180)
Please realize, even the devils “believe” Jesus is Lord, “I [the demon] know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:34), the devil professes. Surely, we need a greater belief than the devils, who are damned.
After our baptism, when we matured mentally and gained full knowledge of right from wrong and didn’t truly hate nor sincerely wish to stop our first sin, we lost (rejected) God’s magnificent gift of saving grace that He died to give us from lacking true sorrow for offending God.
Yes, not truly wanting to stop offending God, with a mortal or venial sin, is an abomination of love; it is a mortal sin!
From the consequences of original sin, sadly we desire sin–lack contrition–very greatly. Now, after we have come to know Christ, for the rest of our life, we are supposed to seek God’s unfathomable mercy–follow Him–The Way–and gain grace after grace so to grow into a mature saving faith, that has true sorrow for every sin (true love for God) so HE CAN SAVE US!
This is what our faith is truly supposed to be…having the goal of seeking God’s mercy (grace) so we can learn and grow in our faith into maturity, into truly loving Him so to gain a saving faith and accept the His gift of Eternal Paradise and then go on into seeking Christian perfection–to truly sin no more.
“[Only] those who have grown to maturity [into a saving faith] in the grace of God will find the joy of adopted children in the kingdom of heaven; those who have not grown to maturity [haven’t reached a saving faith] will become God’s enemies and, even though they were once his children [from baptism], they will be punished according to their deeds for all eternity.”
–St. Andrew Kim Taegon (His Final Exhortation Letter).
Jesus only becomes Our Savior (cf. Luke 2:11) when we allow His helping mercy–His actual grace–to transform our hardened hearts of self-love, which still desires sin, into softened hearts of true love for God (cf. Ezekiel 36:26), which now truly hates all sin and all pleasures of the world (cf. 1 John 2:15) and desires God and His will alone so we can embrace God’s saving mercy He died to give us.
Truly, God doesn’t reject us; sadly we reject Him for sin. (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:8)
It is true, “everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord” (Acts 2:21), but only if we call upon Him honestly wanting Him and not any sin. Therefore, we need to learn how to run to God correctly, so we can open our hearts to receive His grace and come to truly love Him by gaining a true hatred for each and every sin.
Please understand, accepting the gift of eternal life isn’t hard, KEEPING IT is.
Wonderfully, God “is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to [true] repentance.” (2 Peter 3:3).
Yet, the horribly reality is, “many are called [to Heaven] but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14)…But we can be with the “few” if we repent and change and then grow in wonderful joy as we “attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:1).
Reject One Word – Reject God
Because “the Word became Flesh” (John 1:14), God is the Word. They are One.
Therefore, if we reject any of the Word–don’t want (aren’t resolved) to obey even one command—we reject God from still having a desire for sin.
This perfect observance of the Word that we must seek (cf. Matthew 5:48) can’t be done just for the sake of obeying either, thinking it is by obedience that we are saved. We are saved by faith, not obedience (cf. Galatians 3:11).
We must have true faith in Christ–the Word–as the Way to Eternal Life (cf. John 14:6) and desire with our whole heart to obey The Word.
As we can see, if we want to be saved, we must strive to perfectly obey the entire Word–the law of love–because we believe God is the Word and understand that by rejecting any of the Word (not working hard to obey) we are rejecting God, whom we should be loving (obeying) with all of our heart.
That is why we seek to perfectly obey, out of great LOVE FOR GOD. Not because it is by obeience we are saved, but because of love.
“Whoever loves me will keep my word” (John 14:23).
“Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day” (John 12:48).
Yet sadly, we reject God in countless ways by:
- thinking any sin is not serious,
- ignoring any of the Word not wanting to obey,
- refusing to see /acknowledge any sin,
- not truly seeking–with all of our heart–to stop any sin,
- desiring anything opposed to the Word,
- lacking sorrow in any way for any sin…
When we do any of the above, we don’t truly love Him. We desire sin…not God.
If we are honest with ourselves, we can see the sad reality is, we reject God—“the Truth” (John 17:17) and His most merciful saving grace for some wretched sin in so many ways. Oh, how many sins do we desire? Still don’t think we desire any…not sure…well I will show you more clearly in this article so we can gain at least some awareness of our great need to change.
Honestly, we greatly need God’s mercy to take away our desire for sin. Now is the time to learn the Way! Eternity is forever!
“There is such a thing as deadly sin” (1 John 5:16-17) and rejecting God (desiring any sin/lacking sorrow)–in any way–is one of them. It’s a mortal sin.
We Need A Horror for Sin
We must have a horror for sin and only seek God’s will, not our own sinful desires (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10). If we only understood the gravity one small sin has against Perfect Goodness we would be absolutely horrified. The consequences of sin against God, others and ourselves, is incredible. If we truly comprehended this, we would run from sin like the plague it really is.
- wounds Our Lord’s Sacred Heart of Love,
- caused His crucifixion,
- separates us from Him,
- rejects grace, weakening us, making it easier to commit additional sins,
- creates much blindness to The Way, and
- produces great suffering on Earth, in Purgatory, and in Hell for eternity for us and others.
Please understand when we reject God for sin, we don’t choose Purgatory either. We choose Hell. Purgatory is only for the saved who are truly sorry for their sins but still need to atone (pay the punishment/purify themselves) for their offences committed after baptism if they didn’t “cover”–atone–for their sins during their time on earth.
We atone for our offences through great love: suffering for the love of God through seeking our neighbor’s salvation (cf. 1 Peter 4:8). This is necessary because we and others can’t enter into Heaven unpurified since “nothing unclean will enter it [Heaven]” (cf. Revelation 21:27).
Desiring Anything at All…Forfeits Salvation
As I said before, we can’t love/desire both God and sin, we “will either hate the one and love the other” (Matthew 6:24).
If we still desire–are attached–to any sin, even ONE–because of the infinite injury one sin causes God, we are guilty of denying of the whole Law (God) because we reject God’s saving mercy for some dreaded worthless sin (cf. James 2:10).
But that isn’t all. If we are attached to anything at all–not even sins, but people, money, sports, things, etc.–that is idolatry! We must be attached to God. Without a doubt we must seek Our Lord to make us happy…not the world. We must “find your [our] delight in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4).
“Everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
But we don’t renounce our possession, we long for our neighbors things and all of the latest technology, save money to get them and buy well more than we need. We love the world and have made it our joy and entertainment.
“How great is the distance between created things and God, and how souls which set their affections thereon are equally distant from Him” –St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church (The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Ch. 5).
Yet, God must be our everything. We must “love the Lord our God” (Mark 12:30) above all and desire nothing but Him if we want to be saved by Him. Oh, obtaining salvation is so much more than we understand. To learn more please read “How to Let Go of The World and Live for Heaven.”
“If anyone is attached to any one thing…everything is…lost…He who follows what is lost, is lost himself; and what greater loss, what greater blindness, what greater calamity, can there be than making much of that which is nothing!”
–St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church (The Life of St. Teresa, Ch. 34, No. 20)
But the devil has stripped away our horror for sin. We don’t hate it; we love it. Most, even among the faithful, don’t even know what is sinful anymore. Sadly, we don’t see where our hearts are being pulled to the world–because of our vast attachment to all of the countless things our hearts long for that isn’t God and His will.
“I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts may be corrupted from a sincere commitment to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
The evil one has us even thinking we don’t “love” sin. “Who would love/desire sin?” we say, but our lack of hatred for sin is shown in our actions–as we stay in our sins from having some liking for that evil which causes us repeat our sins over and over again. Even if we seek God’s help, most reject God’s transforming grace because our desire to amend isn’t sincere which ultimately leads us into rejecting God’s saving mercy at the hour of our death for that sin.
We live deceived.
But, we are supposed to be spending our life seeking Christs grace to remove our liking for sin.
If we are blessed to gain some fear of punishment, which is meant to move us to seek to change, some poor misguided soul, who thinks they are loving us (does’t want to see us in fear) will quickly steer us right away from God’s gift (servile fear-fear of punishment). Yet, “servile fear is a gift of the Holy Ghost” –St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, (Summa Theologica II q.19, art.6). Then, from their misguidance, we will go back to living our blind, concern free, lukewarm lives all over again.
the gift of fear of the Lord [which] is definitely the basis [of the Holy Spirit]. It is the FEAR OF SIN.” (St. Pope John Paul II (Spiritual Diary, Sept. 23, 1976).
To learn about the marvels of true fear of the Lord, and not the deceptions which have spread today, please read the article “Fear of the Lord” so we can gain true fear of the Lord and remove our desire for sin.
“The souls in hell having been found at the moment of death with a will [desire] to sin [any sin], have with them an infinite degree of guilt; and the punishment they suffer, though less than they deserve [because of the infinite degree of guilt from one sin], is yet, so far as it exists, endless.”
–St. Catherine of Genoa, (Treatise on Purgatory, Ch. 4)
Please don’t allow the devil to convince us that we don’t desire sin. In this article, I will show several ways, we clearly do. The evil one wants to darken us to our misery (sinfulness) and The Way to Heaven, so we lack motivation to repent and change (cf. 1 Peter 1:13-16). But we most certainly need to if we want to Live.
“Repent [become truly sorry], therefore, and be converted [stop your sinful ways], that your sins may be wiped away [forgiven]” (Acts 3:19).
The reason we don’t correctly run to God for His unfathomable mercy (helping grace), which is waiting for us, to bring us to a truly contrite (sorrowful) heart to save us, is from our PRIDE. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
God hates our pride. (cf. Proverbs 8:13). Our pride–arrogance, vanities, jealousies, self-serving heart, stubbornness, unwillingness to see our faults–from our hard hearts, blinds us to The Way. It confuses us to what is right from wrong, obscures the truth from a lie, and blinds us to the misery of our sinfulness that lives within us. Then we lack true sorrow for for our trespasses and choose sin over God’s sanctifying grace.
From this blindness, many never gain enough humility to see our true need for Jesus’s mercy (help to obtain a saving faith); then we wind up only seeing Jesus as our help for us on earth and pretty much forget all about salvation. As a result, we guide ourselves and others to our doom (cf. Luke 6:39), all the long thinking we are saved.
Truly, when we have much pride, we will see evil as good and good as evil and wholeheartedly believe we are correct (cf. Isaiah 5:20) in so many aspects of our life and faith. It is a horrifying state to live in and most are clueless such a problem exists.
“They [the proud] are unable to perceive this light [the Way], for their eyes are sick with pride”
–Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden (Revelations, Ch. 30).
Our pride causes us to have little or no wisdom (cf. Proverbs 11:2). Then we believe a lie and from that lie, we lack of true humility (don’t know our sinfulness) and consequently we never grow into having true contrition (true sorrow) for every sin.
The proud, who suffer much blindness, who read that very few Christians are saved as St. Augustine teaches, either:
- don’t believe the saint,
- misinterpret the saint’s words so to remain blind,
- point to a misunderstanding of the Word, hoping to some how justify our sinfulness, refusing to see,
- believe that from our perceived good works and faithful life of prayer and devotions, we are one of the “few” who are saved.
However in contrast, the truly humble or ones who desire true humility–ones who know their great sinfulness–who don’t suffer from the presumption of salvation or not enough presumption to completely blind them–they cry out to God, “Oh, Lord help me to gain a saving faith, ‘I do believe, [but] help my unbelief!‘ (Mark 9:24)…teach me the Way…give me a truly sorrowful heart for every sin so I may desire you alone and embrace your saving mercy.”
I know it is very hard to know the Way, largely because most have been misguided our entire life, and it is doubly as hard to see our lack of humility, especially if we don’t know how to look, but if we want to grow at all, please at least humble ourselves enough to believe the saints, who have far greater wisdom than we do and cry out to God, “teach us the true ways of true holiness so we too may be saved by Your mercy.”
“Every proud heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured that none will go unpunished” (Proverbs 16:5).