Scripture makes no exceptions when it says that sin is master everywhere. In this way the promise can only be given through faith in Jesus Christ and can only be given to those who have this faith.
Before faith came, we were allowed no freedom by the Law; we were being looked after till faith was revealed. The Law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. Now that that time has come we are no longer under that guardian, and you are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Merely by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was promised.
As Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, ‘Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!’ But he replied, ‘Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!’
“For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus”
When I was in secondary school, someone told me that I was experiencing depression because I had little faith in God, and because of that, I thought that I was unwanted by God and was expected to endure punishment from Him. I was confused by that statement and it made me feel more isolated and alone than I already was. I started to question whether God allowed me to experience depression because I was weak in my faith, and I felt that I was fighting a losing battle with regards to the perception of others and thus left the Church.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul wrote that faith is a gift from God, and because faith is a gift, it cannot be taken back. Despite leaving the church, I knew that I still had faith in God, but I could not bring myself to return to a community where I would be judged for my faith. I met a friend who knew the hurts I experienced from my previous community and she reminded me of the book of James. In the book of James, we are encouraged to be joyful when we experience trials in our lives because trials encourage perseverance and increases our maturity. They also help us to strengthen our faith in and reliance on God. She also directed me towards today’s first reading, and reminded me that because I have faith, I am a child of God and no matter where I go, I will always remain a child of God. This conversation made me reflect on my life and my faith, and it brought me one step closer to returning to the Church. Shortly after that conversation, I was convicted to return to the Church, and to embrace the trials that come my way, and to find that sliver of hope and learning point in each trial. I am also reminded on a daily basis that my faith is a gift from God, and I will always be a child of God because of my faith.
Brothers and sisters, let us remember that we are all children of God, bounded by the gift of faith from God.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Hannah Huang)
Prayer: Dearest loving Father, we pray for the desire to increase our faith in you and to embrace the trials in our lives. We pray that through our trials, we will continue to grow in maturity and perseverance.
Thanksgiving: Dearest Father, thank you for your gift of faith to us. Thank you for giving us trials in our lives and reassuring us that you will not give us more than we can handle.