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Faith & Works

Faith & Works by St Shenouda The Archimandrite - Pimonakhos Articles

For as the Lord said. “Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord, to me will go Into the kingdom. but the one who will do the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Mat 7:21) Likewise, it is not the one who reads or says or hears Him who will enter life but those who will do the works of the word that they say or that they hear. “Faith is empty without works, as it is written knowledge or hearing is empty without good works and as the body dies without the spirit, also knowledge or hearing dies when absent of good works.(Jas 2:26)

Hearing the Lord saying “My Father works until now and I also work.” What is the work that He does? Is it to make new heavens or new earth? Is it not to work for our salvation? What then are the works of our salvation? He for His part knows them and we for our part desire that we might know them. What does a physician do for the wounded man? Does he not first pierce him with the knife healing him afterwards? The Lord for his part then works for our salvation and the healing of our lawlessness through illness and pain, through poverty and every trouble that he seasonably brings upon us, in order to teach us, not with his wrath but with his love so that we might repent.

And after the troubles that He brings upon us He also sends us His blessing and mercy and every relief through His mercies so that we might worship Him in their midst. Now on the earth by praying, by fasting, by having mercy on the poor, by doing justice for the afflicted, by being lovers of strangers, by visiting the sick, by being especially concerned for those who are alone, by purifying ourselves from every evil, by struggling In every good work so that we might forever take our rest in the kingdom of heaven.

The fool is the one who curses the physician when he opens the wound with the knife. The wise man, however, not only thanks him but resolves to give him money or gold or other valuables. So also the fool is the one who curses God in the trouble of the tribulation that befalls him.

The wise man however not only thanks God when the Lord sends trouble upon him or when we are in sickness or trials but he like little child runs to his father.

The fool on the other hand, in the season of trouble, when their poverty or their sickness befalls them or some other trial they leave God behind them running to the feet of magicians or oracles or further they turn themselves to other works of deceit. As I myself saw the head of the snake bound to someone’s hand, another with the crocodiles tooth bound to his arms, another with the paw of foxes tied to his feet

Why did the prophet Elijah rebuke Israel in that time saying. “How long will you limp on your two feet? If the Lord is God then follow Him, if Baal is the one who is, then follow him.” So also with those who do these things or who are confident in them, until when will you limp on you two feet? If the oracles of the demons, magicians and enchanters and all the other things of that sort that work lawlessness suit you, then go to their feet so that you might receive a curse upon the earth and eternal chastisement on the day of judgment. If the house of God – the church – suits you, then go there.