Mission Is Ministry, You Can Work Miracles: Corporal Works of Mercy – Premium Content

Is “faith alone” enough for salvation, or faith + works of mercy? Jesus is clear. The Bible is clear, and no mental or theological gymnastics are necessary: “Nothing counts but faith working in mercy” (Gal 5:6).

Corporal works of mercy, those material needs, are:

  • To feed the hungry;
  • To give drink to the thirsty;
  • To clothe the naked;
  • To shelter the homeless;
  • To visit the sick;
  • To ransom the captive;
  • To bury the dead.

If you have or are part of a family, you have done this. No need to go to Africa.

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” Mother Teresa

Not great things, small things with great love.

Legalism – works?

The word alms is a variation of the Greek eleemosyne (mercy).

Almsgiving atones for sin: Daniel 4:27

(DRB)  (4:24) Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to thee, and redeem thou thy sins with alms, and thy iniquities with works of mercy to the poor: perhaps he will forgive thy offences.

(KJV)  Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

How can almsgiving/mercy atone for sin? Legal terms when should be using terms of love. “Perfect love casts out all fear, fear has to do with punishment…”

Faith alone or faith + works?

In Romans 4:1-4 St. Paul quotes Genesis 15:6, For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but as his due. And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.

My version reads accounted. The word that goes in this blank will vary a lot from Bible version to version, and is usually translated as some sort of accounting or crediting term. But the exact word doesn’t matter. The meaning is what matters.

Accounted: Transliteration: châshab Phonetic pronunciation: khaw-shab’ : To plait or interpenetrate, to weave or to fabricate; figuratively to plot, devise or contrive.

Genesis 15:6 and Romans 4:1-3 reveal to us that God worked every act of obedience and every difficulty into Abram’s continued belief in and eventual possession of the Promise. He wove Abram’s trust – He braided that faith – into a full, strong, and complete saving rope of purification and righteousness. Nothing – nothing, Dear One – is wasted when we obey God in faith.

This is St. Paul’s point in Romans 4:1-4. It was Abraham’s continuing faith that pleased God, just as it is our continuing faith that pleases God. But it was never Abraham’s simple belief in God that made him righteous and got him to the promise. It was always his obedience! His faith was an action, in fact a long series and an entire life of actions!

The “works” Paul said could never save us are the works of the Torah, the Old Testament Law, not the New Testament works of grace, which we must offer God as our loving obedience and duty and thanksgiving. Rom 13:8-10

The Divine command is set forth in the most stringent terms by Christ, and the failure to comply with it is visited with the supreme penalty of eternal damnation (Matthew 25:41): “Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, in everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in; naked, and you covered me not; sick and in prison, and you did not visit me”, etc. Here it is true there is mention directly and explicitly of only the corporal works of mercy.

Although God “dwells in unapproachable light,” He speaks to man by means of the whole of the universe: “ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.” This indirect and imperfect knowledge, achieved by the intellect seeking God by means of creatures through the visible world, falls short of “vision of the Father.” “No one has ever seen God,” writes St. John, in order to stress the truth that “the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.”

This “making known” reveals God in the most profound mystery of His being, one and three, surrounded by “unapproachable light.” Nevertheless, through this “making known” by Christ we know God above all in His relationship of love for man: in His “philanthropy.” It is precisely here that “His invisible nature” becomes in a special way “visible,” incomparably more visible than through all the other “things that have been made”: it becomes visible in Christ and through Christ, through His actions and His words, and finally through His death on the cross and His resurrection.

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