Catholic Teaching and the Holy Scripture
Death vs Life, Works vs Trust
I slowly began to recognize exactly what the Holy Scripture was telling me, so eloquently and so succinctly. We all know that wages are payment for work, and a gift is freely given regardless of what we do. So in order to fully appreciate the incredible significance of this one small bit of Scripture we must pay strict attention to how the supreme authority, the Word of God, tells us how these two ends — life and death — are achieved.
Death (spending eternity apart from God) is a wage (payment) for something that we have earned (achieved through works) while life (eternal salvation with God) is a gift (freely given, regardless of our actions) that we receive through Jesus Christ. Works don’t enter the picture when it comes to the gift of Eternal Life:
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
– Romans 4:5
In plain language, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. Again, the Scripture is completely clear: Our works don’t enter the picture when it comes to the gift of Eternal Life.
Death is something we can work for, while life is something we can only receive as a gift through faith.
Only then did I truly begin to understand the plan that God had for my Salvation, and though I was beginning to see it, even then I still did not fully appreciate the simplicity of His amazing plan. One thing I did know once I began to truly understand the Holy Scripture, is that my actions could not save me. They never, ever could, despite what I may have been taught.
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