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Introduction to the Catholic Epistles

December 04, 2009 Length: 33:47

Fr. James begins his class with an introduction to the “Catholic Epistles.” This will be a helpful preparation for his upcoming verse-by-verse study of the Epistle of James.

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We know that in any language, words and phrases are often incorrectly used, aren’t they? Sometimes, a particular incorrect usage occurs so frequently that over time, the incorrect usage begins to be accepted as valid.

For example, I’ll give you one word that I read about a while back: the English word butterfly. Have you ever wondered how the butterfly received its name? There’s nothing particularly buttery about a butterfly, is there?

Well, the original English word, in old English, for butterfly was actually flutterby. And that makes total sense, doesn’t it? Because if you think about how it flies, it tends to flutter by. But over time, people tended to mix up the two letters, the F and the B. And instead of saying flutterby, they said butterfly.

And that began to happen so often that butterfly became an accepted alternative for flutterby. And then over more time, nobody said flutterby anymore. Butterfly became the actual standard, accepted word for that animal.

I’ll give you another example. There’s two phrases. Have you heard the phrase? We’ve all heard this, I’m sure. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” which of course means you don’t know something is good or not, until you actually try it. Whether you’re referring to an actual food or something else more metaphorical, it doesn’t matter.

Now in recent years, I’ve started to hear this more and more. People say, “The proof is in the pudding.” Have you heard anybody say that? “The proof is in the pudding.” Well, that’s a misquotation. That makes no sense. Well, I guess it can make sense, but that has happened so much. That mistake has happened so many times that people are now accepting that as an alternative way to say it. In other words, either one is okay.

Here’s another one. This one drives me crazy. See what you think about this. Have you ever heard somebody instead of saying “I couldn’t care less,” what do they say? “They say, “I could care less.” Think about that. “I could care less.”

But you don’t? What are you saying? It doesn’t make any sense. Why don’t you? That means the exact opposite of the original phrase. “I couldn’t care less,” make sense. I could not care less about what you think, for example. But, “I could care less,” makes no sense. Although, now it’s used so much that it’s almost become an alternative definition or an alternative way of using that.

You may be wondering why I’m going into linguistics. Think about the word catholic. I’m not talking about the Roman Catholic Church. When the average educated person sees the word catholic, what meaning do they assign to it?

Well, probably if you surveyed 9 out of 10 people, they would say catholic means universal, right? But that’s not actually the true and original meaning of the word. The English word catholic is just a transliteration of the Greek word katholikos. And that word is a compound word.

It comes from kata, which means according to, and holos, which means whole. So kata holos, according to the whole. It means whole. It means complete. It means lacking nothing. That’s really what catholic means. It means complete, whole.

But in a similar way to the other words and phrases that I’ve mentioned, people started using the word catholic to mean universal. And that misuse of the word became so widespread that universal has actually become an accepted secondary definition of the word. And so, yes, if you look up the word catholic in a dictionary, you’ll see universal. And that’s become an accepted definition.

So it’s in that sense of the word that we are using when we talk about the Catholic Epistles. So when we say the Catholic Epistles, we’re not talking about some mysterious Epistles that only appear in the Roman Catholic Church or the Roman Catholic Bible. That’s not what we mean.

Those of us who converted into Orthodoxy from a Protestant background, you never heard that word—at least you probably didn’t very much, especially Evangelical Protestants. They’re not going to say the Catholic Epistles because that would, in their mind, associate with the Roman Catholic Church. We couldn’t have that. That would just be awful. I’m kidding, of course, but that’s the way they think sometimes. They say the Universal Epistles.

When a Reader comes up and reads in the Liturgy and they read from one of these Epistles, they will say for example, “A reading is from the First Catholic Epistle of St. Peter.” So we do use the word catholic, but we’re using it in the sense universal or general.

So enough linguistics. Let’s get to some Bible study. Which ones are the Catholic Epistles? Well, the New Testament contains twenty-seven books. So if you take out the four Gospels, and you take out the Acts of the Apostles, and you take out Revelation, that’s six out. So that leaves twenty-one other books. All twenty-one of those are Epistles. And all twenty-one of them, they’re not really books per se.

The Gospel of Matthew was written down as a book. It was intended to be a book to be circulated, not a book in the sense that we know. It was a scroll and everything, but it was intended to be a complete work.

But the Epistles are not really books in that same sense. They’re not stories about the life of Jesus. They’re not stories about the works of the Apostles. They are personal letters written to either particular churches or particular people or sometimes to the Church in general, and we’ll get to that in a second.

And they address specific situations in specific, concrete time periods. Now, think about the twenty-one Epistles. Out of the twenty-one Epistles, two-thirds of them or fourteen total, were written by St. Paul or somebody very close to him. And that leaves seven Epistles. And these are the Epistles, these seven are the ones that the Church has collectively named the Catholic Epistles.

The reason that they’re called the Catholic Epistles or the Universal Epistles is because none of these is addressed to one person or one particular church. By contrast, most of St. Paul’s Epistles are written to one church, e.g., the Church in Rome, the Church in Corinth, the Church in Ephesus, the Church in Philippi. Or some of St. Paul’s Epistles are written to one person, like the First Epistle to Timothy or the Second Epistle to Timothy or Titus.

The one exception would be the Hebrews, and we don’t know whether St. Paul actually wrote that or not. Most scholars would say he did not write it, but maybe somebody really close to him, one of his disciples like Apollos or Timothy, wrote that. But it certainly has the thinking of St. Paul, there’s no doubt. It’s Pauline, Hebrews is, in the sense that it continues the thought and the ideas of St. Paul.

But the Catholic Epistles are written, not to one person, not to one church, but they’re just written to the Church as a whole. And these would be, the Epistle of St. James. He only had one that we still have, at least that made it into the Bible. We have the First Epistle of St. Peter; the Second Epistle of St. Peter; then we have three of St. John, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John they’re called, and the Epistle of St. Jude.

St. Jude was one of the so-called “brothers” of the Lord. He was a brother of James who wrote James. We’ll talk about that more later. Now I think, the Catholic Epistles tend to get overlooked sometimes. When you think of the Epistles, what you usually, probably think about is Paul, right?

If I said, “Name one Epistle,” and I just went down the line, assuming you weren’t influenced by the person next to you. Because you’re going to say, “Well, I’m going to come up with one nobody else has thought of.” But if I had you one-on-one and said, “Hey, quick, give me one Epistle.” You’d probably say Romans or First Corinthians or Hebrews. The odds are likely, you might not say James or John or Peter.

Now liturgically, over the course of the year, at Pascha we start reading the Acts of the Apostles. That is the Epistle reading. And even though, technically, it’s not an Epistle, but we read Acts. And then we just go straight through them. We read Romans and then 1st Corinthians, 2nd Corinthians, and so on. Not the entire book of course, selections.

We do read a little bit of the Catholic Epistles but not a whole lot. So I think that we, as Orthodox Christians no matter what our background, we may not really know those as well as we know the other Epistles. Most of our knowledge of the Epistles would come out of St. Paul’s Epistles, not so much the Catholic Epistles.

So that’s why I selected that as our topic this year. And not only that, I just love the Epistle of St. James—not just because he’s my patron saint. But it’s really practical, so I wanted to sneak in James somehow. But St. John’s First Epistle is just fantastic. It’s out of this world. It’s very similar to the Gospel of John, though not as deep, but good stuff. And St. Peter’s are just terrific as well, so that’s why I wanted to do this.

Now why is it important to study the Catholic Epistles? That’s my next topic. What contributions did they make to the Church’s theology and practice? And what do they have to tell us about how to live the Christian life? Why is it important to study the Catholic Epistles? Why did I go up on that stage and beg and plead for you to come into this class? Because I want you to understand them.

But why is it important that we study them? Well, the first reason is obvious. We study the Catholic Epistles because they’re part of the Holy Scriptures. And as I was talking to you earlier, you read Father, after Father, after Father says that ignorance of the Holy Scriptures is the source of all heresy and the source of all problems.

A lot of the times when we sin, it’s because we don’t know the teachings of the Scriptures, or we may know them but we don’t put them into practice. And that’s going to be one of the themes we’re going to see throughout the Catholic Epistles. As St. James says, “Be a doer of the word.” Don’t just hear the word, but be a doer of the word.

But of course, if you’re going to be a doer of the word, you’ve got to first hear the word. You’ve got to read the word and study it. The Holy Spirit guided the early Church to include each one of these Epistles in what would become the New Testament. And it’s for this very reason alone, we should read them and study them and apply them to our lives.

But there’s more reasons than that. It’s kind of like that commercial, “But wait! There’s more!” We tend to neglect them. Like I said earlier, when we do read and study the Epistles, we normally turn to St. Paul’s writings. And rightly so. I’m not knocking St. Paul’s Epistles. I love them.

But we have a tendency to run out of steam. Sometimes we do the “straight through the Bible” plan. And we read. And we read. And we read the Gospels. And we get to Romans, and we start getting bogged down. Some parts of Romans are pretty tough. Finally you just, “Ugh, I give up.” So we never even get to James or Peter or John. So we tend to neglect them.

I’ve got to tell you right now; I know a lot more about St. Paul’s Epistles than I do about the Catholic Epistles. So that’s one reason I wanted to do it too, so I would learn more about them. You could probably quote or at least paraphrase a verse or a passage from James or 1st John or 1st and 2nd Peter. Alright, somebody quote me one verse from 1st John.

Student 1: 1st John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Father Early: Alright did y’all hear that? Very good. That’s, maybe, one of the most powerful verses in the entire thing. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That’s 1st John 1:9. Alright, somebody quote something from 1st Peter.

Student 2: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people,” and then I’m out.

Father Early: You’re out? Haha, that’s pretty good. We are a very peculiar people. Alright that’s good. 2nd Peter? Geez, I’m not even sure if I can do one from 2nd Peter. I know some verses that are either in 1st or 2nd Peter. Alright Clint, bail us out.

Student 3: 2nd Peter 3, when you get to the end of the world stuff. I can’t quote it.

Father Early: Thousands of listeners are waiting on you eagerly to come up with it. That’s alright. Some of you may have been thinking of some stuff. If I said, quote something from one of St. Paul’s Epistles; I can even narrow it down. Quote something from Romans. Quote something from Philippians. Most of us could do that. We just don’t know these Epistles as well.

I can’t even come up with something from 2nd Peter, to be sure. I could probably guess, or I could paraphrase it. That’s why we need to study. We need to reacquaint ourselves with these books. And no matter how many times we’ve read them; even if you could quote me the whole book from memory, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to study it again.

How many of us can really say, “Yeah, I’ve read that one enough. I don’t think I need to study it anymore. I’ve got it down.” Or, “I’m going to actually speak to Peter, when I get to Heaven,” and say “I think you could have said this better.” No. So we need to keep studying. We need to keep learning.

They have a lot to teach us about Christ and the Christian life. Beside their great doctrinal, moral, and inspirational content, the Catholic Epistles are also helpful because of their historical content. A lot of us have come into Orthodoxy, who converted in, because we love history, and we made the mistake of reading the history of the Early Church. Who was it? It was Cardinal Newman that said to study history is to cease to be Protestant. Of course, he became a Catholic.

It just seems, if you’re real serious about studying history, you will end up either being Roman Catholic or Orthodox. It doesn’t always work that way, but usually. Now, there’s a book I’m going to quote from a few times. It’s called The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. How many of you have heard of this book? It’s a series of volumes.

The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, what they do is they go through a book, and they select teachings or writings of different Fathers on different verses—commentaries, if you will. Now, Chrysostom did not write a whole lot on these Epistles. I was very frustrated. I thought, “Well, I’m just going to go to Chrysostom.”

And I went in my collection of his writings, and it was all Paul and the Gospels. I couldn’t find anything on these Epistles. I don’t know if he just never preached on them or if they got lost or what. But I don’t have Chrysostom on the Catholic Epistles, so that’s why I went to this one.

The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture contains teachings by later Fathers, like the Venerable Bede and some other people who were 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th century. And I’m going to use that occasionally, when I actually go through the text itself. But the introduction to that book is priceless. It’s worth the price of the book. The author of the introduction to this work is Gerald Bray. He’s an evangelical Anglican priest, and he says this:

The importance of the Catholic Epistles lies primarily in the fact that they offer a non-Pauline witness to the beliefs and practices of the first Christian communities. It is true that they are not the only non-Pauline voice in the New Testament, but they are the only group of letters that has never been associated in any way with the great apostle to the Gentiles. Letters, by their very nature, have an immediacy that is lacking in more formal documents, and it has long been held that in them we get a truer picture of early church life than is available to us in the Gospels or in the Acts of the Apostles. Whoever the writers were, they were responding to real needs in the early Christian communities, and by examining these problems we can reconstruct the intellectual and spiritual atmosphere that shaped the first generations of the church.

We can learn, what were some of the heresies that were popping up in the very 1st century. What are the things that they were dealing with, and how do those compare to the things we’re dealing with today? A lot of the battles and the spiritual problems that were popping up in the 1st century are still present with us today. Some of them went away but have come back. So, there’s a relevance there that you can’t imagine.

Now, the Early Church Fathers found the Catholic Epistles particularly useful in fighting heresies. St. John and St. Peter, in particular, devote much of their time to arguing against early heresies that threatened to divide the Church.

One heresy the authors of the Catholic Epistles battled was a type of dualistic Christianity-Pagan hybrid, perhaps the progenitor of the later Christian Gnosticism that would be taught by writers like Valentinus and documents such as The Gospel of Thomas.

So some of these later heresies, like Gnosticism and all kinds of isms that should have been “was-ims” were already emerging. The Gospel of Thomas wasn’t going to appear for 200 years more, but the thought that went into that was already starting to pop up. People still do it today. They say, “Well, I want to pick this from this religion and this from this religion, and I want to make my own religion that has the best of the best.”

That’s not a new thing. That’s been happening since the very beginning of the Church. And so, Peter and John and James were fighting against those kind of things. The specifics of the heresies, that the later Fathers battled, were a little bit different. They weren’t exactly the same, but the Fathers were successful in borrowing the lines of reasoning and argument used by the Apostles, in fighting the heresies of their day.

So we can learn about the history of the Early Church, and we can learn about the heresies and use that in our own battles against heresy today. But another reason to study them is the way in which they drive home a very important point. And that point is this, Christian faith is a matter of practice as well as formal belief.

So in other words, they strive this over and over and over. It’s not just enough to believe this in your head. It’s not just enough to read the word of God, but we need to practice it and do it. St. John, St. James, St. Peter all agreed on this very important point. Now let me read you another passage from Dr. Bray, the introduction to The Ancient Christian Commentary. This is really good. It’s long, so indulge me on this. But I think you’ll enjoy it.

Peter, James and John are all agreed on the assumption that faith without works is dead. They do not mean and none of the Fathers took them to mean that it is possible to earn one’s way to heaven by doing good works; indeed, such a notion was firmly resisted by almost all the ancient commentators. The works spoken of in these letters are not those of the Mosaic law but those that spring naturally from faith in Jesus Christ. The Catholic Epistles insist that actions speak louder than words and that the latter must always be backed up by deeds that correspond to them and give them meaning.

Okay, so far so good? It’s all about actions. Faith, true faith, issues forth in actions.

What the epistles and the Fathers who interpreted them understood by “works” can be summarized in three words: self-sacrifice, generosity and humility. The former meant that Christians must be prepared to give their lives, if necessary, for their faith. The patient endurance of suffering here and now is a preparation for this supreme sacrifice, as the example of Jesus’ earthly life bears witness.

So I’ll just say, you will see the theme of persecution and suffering and being willing to give up your life for Christ. That goes all throughout the Epistles. You see it in Peter, John, and James. The second thing is generosity. I’ll continue the quote.

Generosity is seen primarily in almsgiving and in hospitality, both of which were regarded as essential marks of the true believer. In an age in which there was no form of Social Security or even a reliable network of inns for passing strangers, generosity of this kind was immediately noticed by everyone, and where it was practiced it became one of the most impressive things about the Christian community.

So generosity is another theme that we see throughout there. I’m breaking into the quote because it’s really, really long. You remember that one of the things that so impressed the early non-Christians; you read writings of people who were not Christians, was the self-sacrifice and generosity of early Christians. And how they took care of everybody, not only the other Christians, but they tried to take care of other people who were not even Christians.

People who were sick with disease, Christians would minister to them and try to heal them; try to get them better, even at the risk of getting the disease themselves. And a lot of times they did, and they died themselves. The third thing was humility. I’ll continue the quote here.

Humility was the spiritual foundation of both self-sacrifice and generosity. Toward God, humility meant recognizing that we have done nothing to save ourselves and even as Christians remain entirely dependent on his grace. Toward other people, humility was to be seen in a kind of behavior that avoided arrogant criticism of the failings of others. Christians were expected to hold their tongues and instead to do all in their power to help each other overcome their weaknesses, on the understanding that everyone has them. Even the elders of the church were to exercise their authority in a humble way, by respecting and encouraging those under their authority. The governing principle of life in the Christian community is love, for God and for one another. The two can be distinguished but never separated, and Christians must learn that their professed love for God in heaven will be judged by their behavior toward their fellow believers here on earth.

Again, that is a beautiful summary of the teaching of the Catholic Epistles. And this is on my blog. If you’d like to go back and read that quote. You can certainly listen to this podcast later, if you’d like. But you can also go to my blog and read that on there.

I want to stress that last thing again. He said, “Christians must learn that their professed love for God in heaven will be judged by their behavior toward their fellow believers here on earth.” In other words, St. John says this in his Epistle; you probably remember this verse, “If we say that we love God, but we hate our brother,” what does he say we are? A liar. A hypocrite definitely, but he says “you are a liar.”

We cannot say, I love God and then turn around and mistreat another person. The Fathers also talk about that, all the way down to St. Silouan the Athonite. St. Silouan the Athonite takes it a step further and he says, the greatest mark of your Christian love for God is do you love your enemies not just do you love those who love you.

Remember Jesus said, everybody loves those who love them, but love your enemies as well. So we have to love our brother, our sister, everybody, not just people that are nice to us, people that are good. These are some themes you will see popping up over and over: humility, self-sacrifice, generosity, love of your brother. Don’t just say you love God. Put it into action. Do it. Do things.

Now, let’s talk about one more theme, and I’ve devoted a whole section to this. This is a major theme in the Catholic Epistles, and that is theme of spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare in popular religious writings has become very popular in the last 10, 15, 20 years. And some really weird, crazy stuff has been written. I’ve read some of it.

People just let their imaginations run wild and don’t really stick to the teachings of the Scriptures, let alone the teachings of the Church. That’s why it’s so nice to have the Church to guide us, because the Church will help us not to go too far out into left field or too far out of bounds.

St. Paul, if I may go back to St. Paul for a minute, who was not one of the writers of the Catholic Epistles as you know now, said this in Ephesians 6. He said:

We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

So we are fighting a spiritual battle. There is a spiritual battle going around us. And there’s one going on within us, and there’s one going around us that we don’t even see. And the authors of the Catholic Epistles would agree with this 100%. They teach us that there is a great spiritual battle going on constantly, a battle that takes place both in Heaven and on Earth.

In Heaven, there exists a hierarchy of forces, both on the side of darkness and the side of light. We’re familiar with the Orthodox teaching about the nine ranks. You have the Cherubim, the Seraphim, the Powers, the Principalities, and all that, the different orders of angels and archangels. And there’s also a hierarchy of demons as well.

In Heaven, of course, God is the commander of the angelic powers. And they’re joined by the departed in Christ, who participate in the battle through their prayers. The forces of good are opposed by Satan and the demons. But God does not fight Satan or the demons directly. That would not be a fair fight, would it?

Instead, the angels and the archangels battle demonic forces. Interestingly enough, as the author of the introduction Dr. Bray, he points this out:

At the level of belief, however, there is complete agreement in the spiritual world, where the demons know God and fear him just as much as the angels do. The struggle is therefore not one of faith but one of works, because in spite of what they know to be true about God, the demons are still in revolt against him.

Now, isn’t that interesting? I agree completely with that statement. St. James says, “You believe that there is one God,” and if this was a modern translation he’d say something like “Well whoopty-doo” or “Well, aren’t you special.” He doesn’t say that, of course, because they probably didn’t use that phrase back in his day.

But he says, “You believe that there is one God. Well good. You do well. Even the demons believe this, and they shudder.” So see, the demons and all the forces of evil agree with the angels that there is a God and that He’s powerful and that He’s good and mighty. But that doesn’t mean that they follow Him.

It’s just like today, in the United States, all these polls come out. 90% of people believe in God, but how many of them are in a church on a given Sunday? Not that many. I’m not saying they’re all horribly evil and wicked, that they’re active followers of Satan. But at the same time, they believe that there is one God, well whoopty-doo. So what? You do well. Even the demons believe this.

That was St. James point in the 1st century. Just because you believe in one God doesn’t mean that really does a lot of good for you. Does it? So again, we have one of the same struggles going on now, as we had in the 1st century.

In the spiritual realm, the division between good and evil is well defined. There’s no ambiguity. You have the forces of good and the forces of evil. But at first appearance, it would seem that humans can be divided into those who belong to God and those who do not. Indeed in some Christian traditions, people are neatly classified in this way. But the situation is not so simple.

First, many peoples final destiny still has not been determined. Some who will be saved, and again as Orthodox we would say who will be saved, not who are saved, have not yet joined the ranks of the people of God. There’s people out there, right now, who don’t give God ten minutes out of the whole week. But they will be saved eventually. They will come to the faith.

There are others who will fall away. There are people sitting in churches right now, even in Orthodox churches, who will fall away—hopefully not very many—but it’s inevitable that some will. Bray writes this. He says:

The devil is a deceiver and has infiltrated the ranks of the elect with his own servants. These people look as if they have been saved, but in reality they are still in the devil’s power and are doing their best to fool the elect into turning away from the new light and life that they have received in Christ.

Remember the parable of the wheat and the tares. That’s really talking about the world, but the same is true in the Church. Within every church, there are some people And you’ve all met people; we’ve all met people who go to church every Sunday. They’re there every time the doors open. They do all the religious acts. They do all the rituals. But within their heart, there’s darkness. We know people like that.

All of us are like that to a certain extent. All of struggle. What I’m trying to say is, on Earth there’s not a clear-cut division. We can’t just say, “Oh, these are the saved, and these are not.” Their final destiny has not been decided. The battle still goes on and will continue until the end of time. In our lives, it will continue to the end of our life.

We would understand the terms “saved” and “elect” differently than Dr. Bray. But as long as we use our own understanding of the terms, we would totally agree with this statement. What is unmistakable, and this is something that’s very important to the Orthodox Church, we cannot determine anybody’s future salvation by observing them today. We don’t know.

That’s why we don’t go around talking about how we’re saved and bragging about that. Or saying, “I know I’m saved.” Well, no. We don’t. We hope that we will continue on the path and be saved one day. And we’re trying the best we can, but we don’t want to say for sure that we are definitely saved.

I’ve just got a couple more things, and then we’ll be done. Here’s another astute comment by Bray. He says:

To complicate matters still further, a number of people belong to the company of the elect but have not yet fully understood the implications of this. These are the people to whom the authors of the Catholic Epistles are primarily writing. They have been born again into God’s family, but they still have a lot of growing up to do.

I would include myself in that group. I still have a lot of growing up to do.

Very often they have not seen the practical implications of their new faith and so do not live up to its demands. Sometimes they have not fully absorbed the right teaching, which makes them prone to fall back into idolatry and other pagan ways…believers who have allowed such things to happen must not imagine that they will escape God’s judgment on their behavior.

So if we keep this framework in mind, we can understand pretty much everything in the Catholic Epistles. The entire content of these Epistles is grounded in the cosmic struggle between darkness and light, good and evil, the servants of God and those of the devil.

As Bray says:

This struggle takes different forms at different times, and its modern representatives may be as superficially different from the heretics of the first-century church as they were from people like Korah and Balaam.

Those were people in the Old Testament who broke away from Israel.

But underneath it is only one battle, which will be fought by God’s people until the end of time, when Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead. That end is never far away but grows nearer with every passing day. In this sense the message…becomes even more urgent, because the battle is reaching its climax and ultimate victory is in sight. This is the hope for which we live and the faith which we practice in that love which is God’s unique blessing to those whom he has chosen, for it is nothing less than his own presence dwelling in the heart of every believer.

So we’re going to start next time, digging into the Epistle of St. James. We’ll actually do an introductory lesson just about the Epistle of James. You’re going to see that the archangels, Michael is named, I think in Jude. And we’re going to see a lot of that spiritual warfare both within our own heart and outside, in the universe in general.


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