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44

Part One

The freedom of faith

160

To be human, “man’s response to God by faith must be

free, and . . . therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith

against his will. The act of faith is of its very nature a free act.”

39

“God calls men to serve him in spirit and in truth. Consequently

they are bound to him in conscience, but not coerced. . . . This fact

received its fullest manifestation in Christ Jesus.”

40

Indeed, Christ

invited people to faith and conversion, but never coerced them.

“For he bore witness to the truth but refused to use force to impose

it on those who spoke against it. His kingdom . . . grows by the love

with which Christ, lifted up on the cross, draws men to himself.”

41

The necessity of faith

161

Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for

our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.

42

“Since

‘without faith it is impossible to please [God]’ and to attain to the

fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever

attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘but he

who endures to the end.’”

43

Perseverance in faith

162

Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can

lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: “Wage

the goodwarfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting

conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith.”

44

To live, grow, and persevere in the faith until the end we must

nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase

our faith;

45

it must be “working through charity,” abounding in

hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.

46

39

DH

10; cf. CIC, can. 748 § 2.

40

DH

11.

41

DH

11; cf.

Jn

18:37; 12:32.

42 Cf.

Mk

16:16;

Jn

3:36; 6:40 et al.

43

Dei Filius

3: DS 3012; cf.

Mt

10:22; 24:13 and

Heb

11:6; Council of Trent: DS

1532.

44

1 Tim

1:18-19.

45 Cf.

Mk

9:24;

Lk

17:5; 22:32.

46

Gal

5:6;

Rom

15:13; cf.

Jas

2:14-26.

1738, 2106

616

432, 1257

846

2089

1037, 2016

2573, 2849