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Friday, February 10, 2006

"Salvation by Faith Alone" Says Papal Preacher

True conversion is not just giving up the bad. It means also giving up the good, in a sense. Giving up the notion that we bring our good works to God to win His favor. Good works are the natural, spontaneous and unavoidable result or fruit of being in God's favor, not the means of gaining it.

On December 16, 2005, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa preached before the pope the preeminence of faith. I don't know that he quite preached that justification is Christ's righteousness imputed or credited to unworthy sinners, but this illustration is a keeper.

Father Cantalamessa told a familiar Italian story about the shepherds near Bethlehem going to visit the newborn Jesus, each of them trying to outdo the others with the beauty of the gifts they offered.

One poor shepherd had nothing and was ashamed.

"Mary could not figure out how to accept all the gifts, since she was holding the baby in her arms," he said. "So, seeing the poor shepherd with his hands free, she handed Jesus to him."

"Having his hands free was his fortune and it should be ours as well," Father Cantalamessa said.
See the story here.

HT: Watersblogged

coverFor further reading, see C.F.W. Walther The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel and

cover Robert Preus Justification and Rome

Sphere: Related Content


Darrell said...

I'm always interested to see your suggested reading, and I've read several of the same books you have. I'm currently reading Paul: The Mind Of An Apostle by A.N. Wilson. It was given to me by someone who was not aware, I'm sure, that the book has a secular viewpoint. Wilson preaches that Paul "invented" Christianity and that Jesus was a quiet, unassuming Jew who never envisioned a world religion based on his teachings. This viewpoint is tangible throughout, and it detracts from my enjoyment of the historical information about Tarsus, philological information, etc. Pastor Scott, if you think about it sometime, how about recommending a good book on Paul?

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Hi Darrell, thanks for the comment. I share your frustration with the far left end of biblical scholarship. I'll have to think about what to recommend as far as a good book on Paul.

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