October 2009 letter
Through our study of St. Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, we have learnt an important fact of faith: that every man who deserves death as a result of sin can receive righteousness through believing in Jesus Christ the Savior: “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3: 24).
In this epistle and also in the epistle to the Romans St. Paul stood against the acts of the law, e.g. circumcision, animal sacrifices, rituals of cleansings, … etc and all actions that the Jews practiced and thought that these could give them righteousness. He declared that all these rituals were mere symbols of the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” Gal 3: 24).
On the other side, we the accepters of this atonement have a great responsibility in using the freedom given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ and live a life worthy of God’s children, for “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5: 24), for our Christianity is a way of life not just dogmas to believe.
Therefore the Bible teaches us to focus on having the good deeds, by which we will be judged in the last day, for example:
v “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Mat 16: 27).
v “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each one according to his deeds” (Rom 2: 5-6).
v “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2Cor 5: 10).
v “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Rev 20: 12).
May our Lord make us listeners and doers of His words, so that our knowledge be a way for our salvation not judgment, and fulfilling His commandments to be light of the world and salt of the earth.
Asking you to keep the church, its priest, servants and all services, in your prayers. May the blessing of Saint Mary, and St. Mercurius Abou Sefein and all the saints be with us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, October 1, 2009