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In many areas in our lives we trust others who know more than we do. We trust the architect who builds our home, the pharmacist who gives us medicine for healing, the lawyer who defends us in court. We also need someone trustworthy and knowledgeable where God is concerned. Jesus, the Son of God, is the one who makes God known to us cf. Jn Saint John brings out the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus for our faith by using various forms of the verb "to believe".
In addition to "believing that" what Jesus tells us is true, John also speaks of "believing" Jesus and "believing in" Jesus.
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We "believe" Jesus when we accept his word, his testimony, because he is truthful. We "believe in" Jesus when we personally welcome him into our lives and journey towards him, clinging to him in love and following in his footsteps along the way. To enable us to know, accept and follow him, the Son of God took on our flesh. In this way he also saw the Father humanly, within the setting of a journey unfolding in time.
Christian faith is faith in the incarnation of the Word and his bodily resurrection; it is faith in a God who is so close to us that he entered our human history. This leads us, as Christians, to live our lives in this world with ever greater commitment and intensity.
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The life of faith, as a filial existence, is the acknowledgment of a primordial and radical gift which upholds our lives. Paul rejects the attitude of those who would consider themselves justified before God on the basis of their own works. Such people, even when they obey the commandments and do good works, are centred on themselves; they fail to realize that goodness comes from God. Those who live this way, who want to be the source of their own righteousness, find that the latter is soon depleted and that they are unable even to keep the law.
They become closed in on themselves and isolated from the Lord and from others; their lives become futile and their works barren, like a tree far from water. Saint Augustine tells us in his usual concise and striking way: " Ab eo qui fecit te, noli deficere nec ad te ", "Do not turn away from the one who made you, even to turn towards yourself". Lk The beginning of salvation is openness to something prior to ourselves, to a primordial gift that affirms life and sustains it in being.
Only by being open to and acknowledging this gift can we be transformed, experience salvation and bear good fruit. As Saint Paul puts it: "By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God" Eph Faith in Christ brings salvation because in him our lives become radically open to a love that precedes us, a love that transforms us from within, acting in us and through us. There is no need to say: "Who will go up for us to heaven and bring it to us?
Christ came down to earth and rose from the dead; by his incarnation and resurrection, the Son of God embraced the whole of human life and history, and now dwells in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Faith knows that God has drawn close to us, that Christ has been given to us as a great gift which inwardly transforms us, dwells within us and thus bestows on us the light that illumines the origin and the end of life. We come to see the difference, then, which faith makes for us. Those who believe are transformed by the love to which they have opened their hearts in faith.
By their openness to this offer of primordial love, their lives are enlarged and expanded. The self-awareness of the believer now expands because of the presence of another; it now lives in this other and thus, in love, life takes on a whole new breadth. Here we see the Holy Spirit at work. The Christian can see with the eyes of Jesus and share in his mind, his filial disposition, because he or she shares in his love, which is the Spirit. In the love of Jesus, we receive in a certain way his vision. Without being conformed to him in love, without the presence of the Spirit, it is impossible to confess him as Lord cf.
In this way, the life of the believer becomes an ecclesial existence, a life lived in the Church. When Saint Paul tells the Christians of Rome that all who believe in Christ make up one body, he urges them not to boast of this; rather, each must think of himself "according to the measure of faith that God has assigned" Rom Those who believe come to see themselves in the light of the faith which they profess: Christ is the mirror in which they find their own image fully realized. And just as Christ gathers to himself all those who believe and makes them his body, so the Christian comes to see himself as a member of this body, in an essential relationship with all other believers.
The image of a body does not imply that the believer is simply one part of an anonymous whole, a mere cog in a great machine; rather, it brings out the vital union of Christ with believers and of believers among themselves cf. Christians are "one" cf. Gal , yet in a way which does not make them lose their individuality; in service to others, they come into their own in the highest degree. This explains why, apart from this body, outside this unity of the Church in Christ, outside this Church which — in the words of Romano Guardini — "is the bearer within history of the plenary gaze of Christ on the world"  — faith loses its "measure"; it no longer finds its equilibrium, the space needed to sustain itself.
Faith is necessarily ecclesial; it is professed from within the body of Christ as a concrete communion of believers.
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It is against this ecclesial backdrop that faith opens the individual Christian towards all others. As Saint Paul puts it: "one believes with the heart Faith is not a private matter, a completely individualistic notion or a personal opinion: it comes from hearing, and it is meant to find expression in words and to be proclaimed. For "how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?
And how are they to hear without a preacher? Faith becomes operative in the Christian on the basis of the gift received, the love which attracts our hearts to Christ cf. For those who have been transformed in this way, a new way of seeing opens up, faith becomes light for their eyes.tisutuacu.tk
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Is Unless you believe, you will not understand cf. The Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint translation produced in Alexandria, gives the above rendering of the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah to King Ahaz. In this way, the issue of the knowledge of truth became central to faith. The Hebrew text, though, reads differently; the prophet says to the king: "If you will not believe, you shall not be established". Terrified by the might of his enemies, the king seeks the security that an alliance with the great Assyrian empire can offer.
The prophet tells him instead to trust completely in the solid and steadfast rock which is the God of Israel.
Because God is trustworthy, it is reasonable to have faith in him, to stand fast on his word. He is the same God that Isaiah will later call, twice in one verse, the God who is Amen, "the God of truth" cf. Is , the enduring foundation of covenant fidelity. It might seem that the Greek version of the Bible, by translating "be established" as "understand", profoundly altered the meaning of the text by moving away from the biblical notion of trust in God towards a Greek notion of intellectual understanding.
Yet this translation, while certainly reflecting a dialogue with Hellenistic culture, is not alien to the underlying spirit of the Hebrew text. Saint Augustine took up this synthesis of the ideas of "understanding" and "being established" in his Confessions when he spoke of the truth on which one may rely in order to stand fast: "Then I shall be cast and set firm in the mould of your truth". Read in this light, the prophetic text leads to one conclusion: we need knowledge, we need truth, because without these we cannot stand firm, we cannot move forward.
Faith without truth does not save, it does not provide a sure footing. It remains a beautiful story, the projection of our deep yearning for happiness, something capable of satisfying us to the extent that we are willing to deceive ourselves. Either that, or it is reduced to a lofty sentiment which brings consolation and cheer, yet remains prey to the vagaries of our spirit and the changing seasons, incapable of sustaining a steady journey through life. If such were faith, King Ahaz would be right not to stake his life and the security of his kingdom on a feeling.
Today more than ever, we need to be reminded of this bond between faith and truth, given the crisis of truth in our age. In contemporary culture, we often tend to consider the only real truth to be that of technology: truth is what we succeed in building and measuring by our scientific know-how, truth is what works and what makes life easier and more comfortable.
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