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The Word on the Week

Faith is a yes to a yes

Of all the definitions of faith I have heard this one is the latest! It is hard to comment on the one-liner which was used last week in the address to the annual gathering of the Legion of Mary at Knock except to say it was positive. It certainly beats the schoolboy’s “Faith is what you need to believe something that ain’t true”. Perhaps the most often heard injunction regarding faith is the phrase “Keep the faith”. Most who use it would be surprised to learn that it was first used by St Paul, in his final letter to Timothy. St Paul used it in the past tense “I have kept the faith”. The question is, what was this faith St Paul kept, all about? As the Apostle to the Gentiles he was well aware of the faith placed in the idols of his day. They abounded in every city he visited. He accused the people of “worshipping created things rather than the Creator”. He would probably say the same thing if he visited Ireland today! For St Paul his faith was in Christ. For him to live was Christ. He was sold out on Christ. His birth, life, death, resurrection and coming again resonated in him and in every Christian ever since. St Paul’s great boast was in death of Christ for him personally. He could stand before crowds and kings and explain with total conviction that “Christ died for me”. Now virtually everyone believes in the death of Christ but it is what one believes about the death of Christ that transforms lives from historians to believers. This is God given gift of faith which enables the sinner to see that his sins were laid on Christ who indeed died for him. Like learning to swim there comes a moment when you have to take your feet off the bottom, this faith turns into trusting totally in the work of Christ on your behalf. Saying yes to yes carries the merit of positive thinking and can make you feel good about yourself but Christian conviction comes when the truth of these four words “He died for me” break through the barrier of unbelief and fill the believer with wonder, love and praise. Further reading; Romans chapter 5 verses 6-11.