By Quin Hillyer at PJ Media;

At Trinity Episcopal School in New Orleans, about which I have written here several times, the key sentence in the daily school prayer asks God to “make us gentle, generous, truthful, kind, and brave.” (Being a boy, and a competitive one, I had particular trouble with the “gentle” part.) Good words to live by.

But this week’s reading from Philippians provides a fuller and perhaps even more eloquent exposition of some of the same desired character traits. If one wants to strive for any ways of living that are more specific than, but fully in line with, the Two Great Commandments to love the Lord and love our neighbors, St. Paul’s words to Philippians are a great place to start, and maybe both to start and end:

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

With this advice, Paul reminds us that our relationship with God does not end when we accept His grace through our faith.

This is important. Some people seem to misunderstand a key tenet of Paul’s teaching. Again and again he rightly stresses that we, as sinners, can never “earn” salvation on our own, but nevertheless are granted salvation if we believe in Christ. But some people act as if this promise is like a “get out of jail free” card that absolves us of any further responsibility to be worthy of God’s heaven.

It’s as if they say: “I haven’t earned it, but, lucky me, I believe, so therefore I’m saved anyway, so now I can go do what I want – knowing that I again will be forgiven, and still will be saved.”

This, of course, is nonsense. In fact, specifically because we have not earned redemption and salvation, we therefore have an obligation to receive those gifts as if they are a solemn commission for us to go do good things. That’s why the two options in the Episcopal Church for the closing prayer of a communion service contain similar language….

[The rest of this faith reflection is here.]

 

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