Skip to comments.Grace of the Spirit
Posted on 02/18/2017 9:16:37 AM PST by Salvation
The key difference in people of the Old and New Testaments is that the Holy Spirit now dwells in us
Msgr. Charles Pope
Question: I was asked the other day how people who lived in Old Testament times were really any different from New Testament Christians. We seem just as sinful and foolish, but also as virtuous as they were. I did not know how to answer this. What is the basic difference?— Stewart Johnson, via email
Answer: The essential difference is grace. The Prophet Ezekiel records God’s promise to ancient Israel: “I will sprinkle clean water over you to make you clean; from all your impurities and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. ... I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them” (Ez 36:25-27).
This power that “causes” us to keep God’s law is a gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. This is, after our salvation from sin, the chief difference between those who lived before and after Jesus.
Your observation that many people seem largely unchanged is a reminder however that grace is not a magic spell or something that forces our will. It makes possible great sanctity, but it does not force this upon us. We must be willing to cooperate with the indwelling Holy Spirit. The lives of the saints show what grace can do in us when we do not impede or refuse the Spirit’s graces.
It is a sad truth that many do not expect a great deal from their faith and their relationship with Jesus Christ. The normal Christian life is to be in a life-changing, transformative relationship with the Lord. It is to see sins put to death and virtues come alive, sorrow give way to joy, fears give way to confidence and so forth. But most people do not expect much; they do not seek much, and they thus experience very little, because they do not seek it. The Book of James says, “You do not possess because you do not ask” (4:2).
But as St. Paul reminds us, “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ” (2 Cor 5:17-18). And this describes the normal Christian life.
Yet, sadly, many do not seek it or even know to ask for it. The blame for this is manifold, but it must surely lie first with those who have the task of preaching and teaching. It is for us to paint this picture and teach the souls under our care to desire it and ask for it.
If we seem no different than the people of the old covenant, that is on us, not God. The saints also call such a premise to mind and show what God can do with grace.
Ping to Monsignor Pope’s OSV column.
Msgr Pope does it again!
Good article. Thanks, Salvation!
We see the negative more than the positive.
We see the negative in others, and the news is basically negative if not truly false or “fake news”.
There was recent article in alteria.org “Have you ever heard of the “butterfly effect” of Eucharistic adoration?
Spending time with Jesus people find peace. “Adorers find greater peace and serenity to face life, and the wounds of their hearts find healing by going to see Jesus.”
I think this explains the catholic appeal to Mary. There seems to be more trust in her than in Him for many, but not all, catholics.
Or to the hundreds of saints they feel the need to pray to/through.
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