I am finding so many Catholic adults who are attending Mass regularly, who have no real understanding of heaven or a relationship with God. In their minds, they are using “good works” as a means of attaining God. They are good people who often feel unworthy of God and, therefore, never aspire to live with him. They hope that their good works will earn them the access to God after they die.
Are We Living Christianity or Judaism?
Paul is clear that no one can attain Salvation by good works. He makes this quite clear in Roman’s 3:20. “… nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” (NAB)
Judaism is a religion of strict adherence to a set of rule (the Law). If our Catholics are still just trying to be good to get to heaven they will fail because they can’t be perfect. The Law shows us that we need God to help us become perfect. Through His grace, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we find the truth, power, and motivation to become holy. The good works should be in response to our relationship with the Holy Spirit, not the replacement of it.
Many good people are so busy trying to attain the Summit – God – by doing these good works that they don’t realize we can receive him now through faith. How many Catholics have been baptized and still don’t know the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit?
The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah (31:34) foretold that we would no longer need someone to teach us to know God. We would each have the Spirit (the Summit) who will make himself known in each heart that opens to Him. Ezekiel also foretold, in verse 11:19, that God would put a “new Spirit” within each man’s heart.
Apart From We Can’t Accomplish Much! But with Him… (Phil. 4:13)
Within the saving plan of God, we are in the time of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has ascended to the right hand of the Father, and the Father has sent us the Advocate to live within our hearts, guide us in all truth, heal us of our wounds, and empower us with the motivation and strength to overcome sin.
For many people who have been walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, I believe the Lord is calling to deeper waters of faith. He is calling us to place Him as Lord of our time and our gifts, to be used, as He wills not on our schedule or terms. It is a time of greater sacrifice and trust. The world needs to see saints who entrust everything to God (faith), even their family’s well being.
Let us rise up, Church, and head to the Summit of Life, who is already dwelling within us!
Deacon Ralph Poyo will be speaking at the 2016 Power and Purpose Conference this summer. Hope to see you there!