Monday, October 06, 2014

Role of Faith

Christians often take the opportunity to reflect on Christ on the cross and the cost of our sins. This sacrifice paid our debt, removing the guilt of sin, and bringing the promise of Eternal Life to humanity. This blessing is facilitated by faith given by God, and usually the example of a gift is used. There might be another way of looking at it that helps clarify what’s going on.

Christ talked about His yoke being "easy" (Matt 11:25-30). The yoke, being a tool to enable hard labor to be performed, is rarely light itself. We are all born with the heavy yoke of original sin. The guilt of sin and the burden it causes weighs down the sinner, creating progressively harder yoke. Some grow to love the sin and the burden it causes, loving the impossible task and enslaved by their sin. Others find the Gospel, and faith flourishes. They find it lightens their load, and the world is no longer hopeless. Christ carried our burden to the cross, paid the debt we owed, and laid the yoke of sin's guilt to the side, replacing it with His yoke. Forgiveness is always available from Christ, although we continually sin. We put the sinful yoke on, add the guilt, and wonder why things are so difficult. When we receive forgiveness through the Sacraments, Faith takes replaces the yoke with Christ’s yoke, relieving us of the burden. Granted, we eagerly pick the sinful yoke back up at the first opportunity, but God is patient with us. Faith pulls the sinful yoke back off, sometimes after we have experienced the painful burden to remind us. When one rejects the Faith, they usually grab ahold of some sin over time, burden themselves with it, and add to it as often as they can. They push God's "hand" away, preventing God from removing the burden they grew to love. They no longer seek the Sacraments, or forgiveness. They feel the weight of their guilt, and hold on to it. Over time, Faith no longer removes the burden and leaves the sinner alone. The devil, world and flesh gleefully add to it, knowing the yoke will remain even though it bites into the shoulder and breaks the soul.

Only the Faith generated by the Holy Spirit can lighten the yoke. We cannot reach the bindings to free ourselves, only the places to grasp more firmly to the yoke. We can only add to our burden and never able to loosen it. That God-given Faith loosens the straps, lifts the yoke off our shoulders, and bids us rest with Christ’s yoke. When we do so, our yoke is light because Christ has carried the burden. There is no more debt to repay. No more of the yoke that destroys but the light yoke that builds up and saves. Faith removes that which damns and destroys and replaces it with bondage to Him who has risen from the dead. You must be bound to a master- the one who craves your death, or the one who did it all for your life.