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Religion is a concept that has been frequently used to denote the spiritual dominance and practices of Christians. It sets itself apart from the portrayal of worldly perceptions and knowledge. In fact, it is doubted whether those who do not embrace and worship ghost, divinity, or other spirits, and those who have the essential and natural vision on humanity should search for divine knowledge.
It is always difficult to understand Christian teachings because understanding how God exists is also not easy. Based on biblical teachings, there are supernatural and natural beings. Understanding these characters is essential for spiritual nurturing. According to White and Cessario (2001), good religious studies and personal convictions are thus very necessary in nurturing spiritual faith.
Considering these two concepts in our everyday undertakings is important in advancing the faith of an individual and groups. It is not possible to please the Almighty where there is no faith and gracious actions. In the bible, Enoch justified the act of faith and delighted God.
Faith imparts life to the spirit of individuals and any spiritual task that is accomplished without faith generates transgression. Therefore, the Lord considers those who lack the faith to be lifeless in everything they do. In the bible, any faithless individual is compared to the adorned picture that is dull but depicts that object.
Conversely, the spiritual believes that lack affection appears to be wonderful and is not absurd before man. Although the faithless responsibilities might be sparkling before human sights, they hardly pervade the everlasting life according to God.
Such responsibilities are perceptive and obscure because they are of good quality and spirited effects, but are not predetermined according to biblical teachings. It is, therefore, imperative to base our knowledge on St Augustine’s teachings that there can be no virtue without faith.
Being Righteous, Sinless and Gracious
Faith is hardly acknowledged where there are no righteous virtues since it may not be instilled without gracious acts. Faith and grace are normally linked up to create real virtue. For one to be righteous, it is important to embrace and live a sinless life because this will lead to faith nourishment. In fact, gracious acts facilitate the faith we possess in Christ and help us to be accepted by God.
For instance, in the bible, a robber who endured pain alongside Jesus had strong faith in Christ and believed in God. The gracious God later forgave the thug and cleansed him of his sins because he had faith (White and Cessario, 2001).
Hence, the Bible teaches that spiritual nourishment cannot lack life, but life can be without the nourishment of self-righteousness. Nobody who sins before God and fails to repent is righteous. As the Bible asserts, the Almighty may not be gracious or have mercy on such a sinful person.
Being Virtuous and Having Faith in God
According to the biblical teachings, man is obligated to have faith to nurture the good virtue in him. It is true that people who excel by executing their desired virtues have no everlasting life. Like the biblical burglar, he had no desirable qualities but repented before God and was granted time to live.
Furthermore, the Bible teaches that God will not hear excuses and objections from any man who sins and waits to be forgiven after the time for repenting have elapsed. The Bible affirms that it is the only faith that will save everyone from the bondage of sin (Zschokke, 1830).
However, salvation is going astray when we fail to acknowledge faith and dispense our lives to the virtues relating to bad qualities. The Bible claims that no good feature in man can be available to an endless life that lacks faith. Thus, our work cannot justify our actions, but rather our faith may help us to acquire the desired and prospective virtues.
The tendencies that are present in the course of good personal acts are human virtue. Faith represents the devotion itself, therefore we have fashioned and indistinct faith. A fashioned faith entails two things namely perfecting it and believing it. All these are the proceeds from intelligence confirmed by the authority of our will.
However, indistinct faith is not a virtue and does not necessitate precision on the part of man’s willpower. Besides, the Bible teaches that temperament would not be a virtue if cautions were not there to coherently control and determine the power of man. Hence, all practices that possess values of excellent human accomplishments are virtues.
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This implies that any spiritual object pertaining to faith is beyond human explanations (Zschokke, 1830). God reveals these spiritual objects since they are outside the deliberation of God’s creatures. Not unless, you have sturdy faith to envy good virtues then God can reveal them to humanity. It is clear that God inculcates convention in people whose achievements are higher than their temperaments (St Thomas Aquinas, 2000).
St Augustine Teachings on Faith
According to St Augustine, there can be no good care held where faith is not present. One must not imagine that a man will possibly do some finer action without faith. Thus, we ought not to lay down the first-class mechanism before affection. Although men take these occupations as admirable honor, to God they are of no value and not acceptable.
A faithless person is like a horse competing out of the system way and undergoing an enormous work without any intention (St Thomas Aquinas, 2007). Consequently, if one had faith in God, he safeguards the virtue he has as an individual. It is for this reason that where there is no faith there is no excellent livelihood.
Augustine saw that faith must control the intention of a man to have good qualities. Jesus Christ said that his entire body was darkness if his eyes were nothing. Here, the eyeball signified the intention as specified by Augustine. In fact, there is no smile if a man does something with godly intention. Such actions leave one without good grace in that there is a lack of affection when we are working in love.
Measuring good virtues should not be by the facts themselves, but by the aim of the results for doing so (Aquinas, 2009). One may think he or she is implementing a proper virtue, yet it is an activity directly relating to a vice. It is not just before God for one to feed the hungry and dress the naked without having faith, respect, and love for Him. Otherwise, this pleasing quality is unproductive, worthless, and dead in the face of the Lord.
St Augustine demands that whether one fades or not, a faithless grace is nothing. The allegation is true in that faith does speak well about the work of God. Whereas we can fell to good virtues in building strong relations, we are hopeless without faith in Christ. Faith works well with charity. Therefore, it is important for an individual to have faith to set a stable foundation in God (St Thomas Aquinas, 2007).
It is in faith where we pass all other virtues like righteousness, self-control, knowledge, and influence as Augustine reveals. Without faith, we only have the shadows and name of these good virtues, but not the commitment itself. Moreover, in the livelihood of those missing true faith, there is sin and waste. It relates to the author of integrity and the dishonest virtue that occurs where there is no faith in God even if the qualities of an individual are the best.
In St Augustine’s statement, the pagans, Jews, and the heretics fed and dressed the poor. However, their work of good care was hopeless because they did it without faith. He compared them to a turtle who had found a nest for keeping her young birds so that they could not be lost. It was clear that if one had faith in God, he could protect the virtue he has individually.
Similarly, the nest signifies the faith that protects the birds (Aquinas, 2009). Thus, we can also safeguard our loyalty through faith so that our rewards remain unbroken.
Justification of Augustine’s Disputes by Other Saints
The spirit of having good virtues where faith is absent was in dispute by St Augustine. St Ambrose justified that by explaining the ordinary strength of the character that survives the vices. One would beautify up the time of faithless life and achieve the impossible virtues. He challenged that without faith no respect to the true God. As a result, any person is inevitable to confuse a virtue for a vice (Saint Thomas Aquinas, n.d).
St Chrysostom John wrote that many of the descendants lacking faith in them are not in the group of Christ. They may prosper in good works of kindness, have fairness, and always come out in care and sympathy, yet their work yield no fruit because they lack faith. He linked this to the story where the Jews asked Jesus concerning what they should do to be righteous.
All he did was to call for faith in the work of the Lord. One should believe, and immediate faith becomes complete in him. Through this, he shall thrive in good virtues in that not anything is excellent without faith. St Chrysostom in the same way insisted that one is lifeless when he excels and shines in good works without God’s faith (St Thomas Aquinas, 2007). It further shows having the valuable and godly burial place whilst attaining nothing from them.
In general, one should have a strong faith to have the pleasing virtues. The moral standards resulting from good features are linked with one another. Moreover, it is not normal for the open principles like grace, love, and faith to come to mind without charity. Compassionate faith cannot keep on living without moral virtues.
The inquiry about charity, hopefulness, and sincerity direct us to the conclusion that there can be no charity without hope and faith. If one has faith in God, he preserves the good virtue he has in character. Therefore, without faith, we only have the shades and names of these good virtues, but not the commitment.
It is the only faith that will save everyone from the oppression of sin. Salvation is going lost when we take no notice of faith and give out our lives to the virtues relating to bad qualities. Thus, faith is essential for true virtue in all spiritual aspects.
Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica: Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Alabama: Mobile Reference Press, 2009.
St. Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica Complete. Cairo: Library of Alexandria, n.d.
St. Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica: Second Section. New York: Cosimo, Inc., 2007.
St. Thomas Aquinas. The Summa Theologica. Raleigh: Hayes Barton Press, 2000.
White, Kevin, and Romanus Cessario. On the Virtues. Washington: CUA Press, 2001.
Zschokke, Johann. Hours of Devotion for the Promotion of True Christianity and Family Worship. London: Oxford University, 1830.