The Gift of Faith

John 3: 16-21
Acts 5:17-26 / Ps 34

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16)

The truth can never be denied,
In this do men of faith delight:
While evil deeds in darkness hide,
Good deeds performed shall come to light.

Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:16-21)

Reflection

John 3:16 must be one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, and is a favorite passage cited by our “Born Again” brethren in their argument that faith is enough to guarantee our salvation. However, merely believing that Jesus Christ became man and died for our sins, or even accepting all His teachings in the Bible, will not ensure passage to eternal life unless such a transforming belief moves us to perform good deeds that are “plainly seen have been done through God.” (Jn. 3:21) Our faith is active when we are motivated by God’s love to spread His Gospel message so that others who are still in darkness may be brought into His light. Therefore, it is not enough that we believe; we must also put our faith into action for the sake of others whom God also loves and desires to be saved.

Our faith in Jesus Christ ensures our salvation, but our works in witnessing for His Gospel are done in obedience to His mandate as His disciples. In today’s First Reading, St. Peter and his companions displayed this kind of faith-in-action when they taught the Good News of Jesus Christ in the temple courts in spite of the threat by the religious authorities of imprisonment and persecution (Acts 5:21). Like the apostles, we must therefore be witnesses for Christ, if we claim to believe in Him.

Both our faith and good works are gifts from God, since everything belongs to Him. So let us never forget, lest we become proud, that there is nothing in our power that can give us merit to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is by God’s grace, in His gift of love – His only Son, Jesus Christ that we are saved. No amount of good works, prayers, masses, tithes, or sacrifices, even in a hundred lifetimes can ever measure up to the glorious, eternal kingdom that our Lord Jesus has promised as our inheritance if we remain steadfast in our love and faith in Him.

Father God, may our faith be matched by good deeds, inspired by Your Holy Spirit, in consonance with the teachings of Your Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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