I was Blind, Yet I Prayed for the Man Who Could See
And then I realized just how badly I was going wrong, how I was allowing tradition and actions that were seemingly sanctioned by my so-called “religion” to allow me to rationalize my actions into gray areas of Scripture — when in fact no such gray areas exist in Scripture, they were all my own doing or what I had been taught — and I became very troubled.
Out of my troubled faith came very important revelations.
My brother asked me about my Salvation. He asked if I knew what I had to do to in order to ensure that after my physical death I would ensure my place in Heaven. I told him I was doing what my church had told me to do: I believed in God, I believed in Jesus Christ, I went to mass, I tried to live a good life, I did my best to observe His commandments, and I confessed my sins in confession and received communion. Outside of church, I tried to do good deeds. I tried to act “right” and avoid sin. I tried to help others and behave in a “Christian” way so that my sins could be offset by good works.
In short, I was trying to earn my salvation, just as my church had told me I was supposed to.
I was trying to participate in my own Salvation. But the Holy Scripture told me that it isn’t my works that provide me with Eternal Life, it is by God’s Grace alone that I am Saved. Salvation is a free gift that was paid for in full by Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
– Ephesians 2:8-9
Here was I, a man who was literally blind to the Truth of God’s Word, yet I had been praying for my brother, a man who actually could SEE.
The Holy Scripture was completely and abundantly clear, as stated unequivocally in Ephesians: my Salvation comes from God’s grace through my faith, Salvation is a gift — we can never, ever “earn” a gift, it is something that is given and received without regard to our own behavior. If we tried to “earn” a gift, then it would no longer be a gift, but rather a wage that was paid to those who “deserved” it through their actions, through their works.
And if we need even further clarification of this point, we can turn back to Holy Scriptures where the difference between Salvation through Faith and payment deserved due to actions is made crystal clear…
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
– Romans 6:23
This is a very important distinction that those of us who were raised in the Catholic Church must understand and come to grips with. The Scripture makes it as plain as possible. We earn “wages” from sin, but Eternal Life is a gift, something that we cannot earn. The punishment for sin is EARNED, while Salvation is freely given to us.
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