The New Testament authors emphasize unremittingly that the key to genuine human flourishing is faith in Jesus Christ as the revealed and revealing Word of God, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). In the Gospels Jesus speaks and acts with a hitherto unknown authority that confounds his enemies but induces many others to seek him out and put him at the center of their lives. The latter he praises for their faith; the former he reproaches in the strongest terms, threatening that on the day of reckoning they will fare even worse than the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. Similarly, in his Epistles St. Paul insists that it is faith in Jesus Christ, rather than observance of the moral, judicial, and ritual precepts of the Mosaic Law, that effects our liberation from the slavery of sin and the dawn of a new life as the adopted sons and daughters of our Father God. And even though Paul cautions that faith in Christ is worthless without the filial love of God and concomitant fraternal love of neighbor that Christ has made possible for us, it is clear that faith is prior to charity at least insofar as it gives us our initial cognitive and affective access to the object of our supernatural love.
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