Our response to God’s gift

Our response to God’s gift

 In the gospel today, the saving cross of Christ is compared to the image of the serpent in the Exodus story which brought a cure to Moses’ followers who had been bitten snakes. The curative gazing upon this image is comparable to the Christian reliance on the cross.  It is equivalent to the manifestation of trust and faith in God’s gift of salvation.  The crucified Christ is God’s gift to us, a gift that has to be embraced with grateful confidence of faith.

 The grace of God is given to us without our effort.  It is not the consequence of our good deeds.  On the other hand, our good deeds are the consequence of God’s grace.

Our response to God’s gift of salvation is in the realm of human freedom which God absolutely respects.  He allows us to choose between salvation and perdition, between good and evil, between life and death.  In his goodness, he permits us to decide what to do and what not to do.  Heaven and hell, for that matter, is a logical consequence of our human freedom which is the basis of our human dignity.  Our response to God’s gift of faith is a fundamental choice between light and darkness, between life and death.  And judgment is inherent in the choice.

Christian life is a life of choices.  It is a moment to moment choice between good and evil.  The moral war is waged forever in our hearts.

Human freedom is being true to God.  It is acting out the inner principles we share with God.  It is following our conscience where our soul is laid bare before our all-knowing God.  It makes us respond to the promptings of the Spirit.  It is in this context that we assert that obedience is the greatest freedom.

 We, as Christian believers, have to accept an approach to life that takes into consideration God’s absolute power over us as well as His respect for our human freedom.  St. Augustine expresses this balanced approach in these words: “Pray as though everything depends on God.  Work as though everything depends on you.”