daily biblical sermons

To be ultimately saved we must not only hear the word of God, but also do it
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, Th.D.
Homily of Thursday, 12th Week of the Year, June 25, 2020
2 Kings 24:8-17, Psalm 78, Matthew 7:21-29

Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted




“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers’” (Matthew 7:21-23).



This is a key reading for the Catholic Church today, for some of our highest Church leaders are preaching the exact opposite of what Jesus is teaching in this reading. Jesus says today, “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).



Yet today some of our highest Church leaders are telling us just the opposite. They are telling us that God is merciful; in fact, they say, he is so merciful that in some cases he does not require certain people to actually do his biblically revealed will, for in his great mercy he sees that it would be too hard for some people in difficult life circumstances to do his will as he has revealed it in the Scriptures. Therefore these Church leaders tell us that such a person in difficult circumstances should be accompanied in a process of discernment in order to discover God’s personalized, tailor-made lower and easier moral law, custom-made just for him, and when he is convinced in his heart and is at peace in his conscience with what he thinks he “hears” in his heart from what he thinks is the “voice of God,” telling him that in his case he can live a life of constant objective mortal sin, this, then, is what he should do in good faith and with a clean conscience.



These Church leaders then go on to say that God is so merciful that he won’t consider it to be a mortal sin in this person’s case, but rather to be a virtue, because he is obeying God’s lower, easier, personalized moral law, which God is personally revealing to him in his conscience and which he has discovered by being accompanied in a process of discernment.



So this person in a difficult life situation, after he has been accompanied in this process of discernment, according to this new false teaching of some of our Church leaders, may now freely live a life of objective mortal sin, such as adultery or fornication, and in doing so he should be at peace in his conscience that he is pleasing God by living this way, for this is God’s will for him, and so he is growing in grace, virtue, and holiness by living a life of constant objective  mortal sin.



This new false teaching is what these Church leaders are calling the “new paradigm.” It presents an easier way for some people in difficult life circumstances. Therefore such people can hear the word of God but do not have to actually do it, and yet they will enter the kingdom of heaven.



This is the false teaching that has been inflicted upon Catholics these past four years by some of our highest Church leaders. It is, of course, completely false. Even though it is proclaimed as “authentic magisterium” (official Church teaching) by these same Church leaders, it is nothing of the kind, for it does not possess the qualities of authentic magisterium, namely that it never contradict the New Testament nor the unbroken Tradition of the Catholic Church’s moral and doctrinal teaching, which this new teaching does.



Scripture is very clear that there is a normative biblically revealed moral law that is still in force for all believers today, and if someone disregards it, he is living in an objective state of mortal sin.



What such a person needs to do is genuinely repent (immediately stop sinning mortally), intend to immediately amend his life, and put his trusting faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross to make full and complete reparation and satisfaction for his sins by serving his death penalty for his sins for us.



When we do this, God will acquit us of our sins, because they have already been paid for and their death sentence has already been served for us by Jesus Christ, whom God has sent us as our substitute to suffer our death penalty for our sins for us (Isaiah 53:5-6; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 8:3-4). When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, God counts his suffering and death on the cross as full payment of our debt of suffering and death that we have with God in punishment for our sins, and so God declares us ungodly sinners righteous (he justifies us) and reckons to us his own righteousness (Romans 4:5) so that we now shine with the righteousness of God himself. To be justified, then, we need faith and genuine repentance. Repentance means that we clearly resolve to immediately stop sinning mortally. This, then, results in our justification.



Once justified, we must immediately begin to live a new life as a “new man” in Christ, and the grace of our justification will both enable and require us to now live in accordance with God’s normative biblically revealed moral law, and by doing so we will grow in grace and holiness (sanctification), which will be appropriately and proportionately rewarded on the last day (Matthew 16:27).



So one who calls out, “Lord, Lord,” to Jesus with faith, and not only calls out to him and not only hears his word, but also does his word, will find that the house of his life is built on solid rock, and it will withstand the storms of life. But the one that disregards God’s normative biblically revealed moral law and believes in this new false teaching (this so-called “new paradigm”), namely that God has revealed to him an easier, lower personalized moral law that allows him to live a life of constant objective mortal sin and still be saved – such a person has built his house on sand, and when the storms of life as well as the wrath of God for his sins strikes his house, it will completely collapse, and this man’s life will be ruined, as Jesus says today, “Every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:26-27).



In the face of this new false teaching in the Catholic Church, we must stress the fact that we must do the word of God, as well as hear it. Such a person “does not content himself with listening to exhortations to repent, believe in Christ, and live a holy life. He actually repents. He actually believes. He actually ceases to do evil, learns to do well, abhors that which is sinful, and cleaves to that which is good. He is a doer as well as a hearer (James 1:22) (JC Ryle, 1856, emphasis added).



“The man who hears Christian teaching, and never gets beyond the hearing – is like ‘a foolish man who built his house on sand.’ He satisfies himself with listening and approving – but he goes no further. He flatters himself, perhaps that all is right with his soul – because he has feelings, and convictions, and desires, of a spiritual kind. In these he rests. He never really breaks off from sin, and casts aside the spirit of the world. He never really lays hold of Christ. He never really takes up the cross. He is a hearer of truth – but nothing more” (JC Ryle, some emphasis is in the text and some is added).



“We pretend in vain to build on him [Christ], if we do not obey his doctrine, and make it the rule of our whole conduct” (Joseph Benson, 1749-1821, emphasis added).


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