UNDERSTANDING YOUR FAITH
By Vic Scaravilli
Have you ever wondered why we go to church each week to worship God by giving him praise, honor, and thanks? Sometimes we forget exactly why people have been doing this for the past 2000 years since Jesus.
In order to get a better understanding, we need to go back and study the history of Godís plan to save His people that is called salvation history. By studying the Bible, we can learn about Godís plan of salvation throughout the history of man.
In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we learn that man did live in perfect fellowship with God and did not need any other intervention. But, by the third chapter, man lost his intimate relationship by sinning against God. As a result, now man and woman, were permanently separated from God and no longer could enjoy life without the consequences of sin that are pain, suffering, and death.
Since God is loving and merciful toward his children, He gave us a second chance to be reconciled with Him. Only God could save the human race and draw it back into a right relationship with Him. His plan in restoring us back to Him would take place over thousands of years and consisted of three steps.
The first was that God would form a specific people who would learn to know God and live according to His Will. Second, through his people, others and eventually the whole human race would come to know God. And lastly, the ultimate act would be to send a Savior to fully bring salvation to the whole human race.
God did this by establishing covenants with his people in all of the stages of the salvation process. The meaning of a covenant is essential in understanding Godís plan in saving the human race. A covenant is a family relationship of love and trust that God established between He and his children out of love. It is a solemn agreement between God and his children that can be called a love bond. Basically, God gives a gift out of love and asks us to be faithful to Him. By being faithful to God, we obey out of love and obedience to another for the wonderful gifts that are given to us by our God.
Some examples of covenants that God established are familiar to us. The first is that given to Noah when God offered him to be saved from the destruction of mankind. This covenant started the process of establishing Godís family. Second, Abram, who was later called Abraham by God, became the father of the multitudes and started the chosen people of God or the Hebrew nation. The covenant with Moses allowed the Hebrew nation to be freed from slavery and was then given the Ten Commandments or the written laws of God.
Other Old Covenants were made with various kings of Israel and later to prophets whose mission was to call people to repent, change their evil ways, and to turn back to being faithful to Godís covenant. God spoke through many prophets to point to and to prepare the way for the coming of the fulfillment of Godís greatest covenant, the savior Jesus Christ.
The New Covenant is the most important covenant that God made with his people. By sending Jesus, His Son, to us, God made the last covenant with his people regarding salvation. By the death and resurrection of Jesus, our relationship back to God is now restored and everyone has the opportunity to reconciled back to the Father. Jesus Christ died to prove Godís love for us and to free us from the bondage of our sin that is eternal death.
John 3:16-17 says ďFor God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.Ē
This passage sums up the New Covenant. Godís gift of love to all of us is the promise of salvation by the blood of Christ. We must fulfill our part of the covenant by being faithful to what God taught us through Jesus, His Son. So we come to mass each week to thank God for the wonderful gift that he gave us by giving us His Son who allows us to be reunited with the Father.