Redemption is the work of God, not of human beings, so be careful and do not listen to “fundamentalists” who claim holiness comes through following certain laws, Pope Francis said during his weekly general audience.
The belief that holiness comes by observing particular laws “leads us to a rigid religiosity, a rigidity that eliminates that freedom of the Spirit which Christ’s redemption gives us. Beware of this rigidity that they propose,” he said Sept. 1 to those gathered in the Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican.
God’s saving grace is received through faith in the Gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection, and God invites people to rejoice in the righteousness received through that faith in Christ, he said.
The Pope continued his series of talks on St Paul’s Letter to the Galatians by looking at the apostle’s explanation of justification by faith and of graces flowing from the Spirit, not from works of the law.
However, before beginning his cate-chesis, the Pope spoke off-the-cuff to explain the context and purpose of the weekly audience talks, which are usually in-depth reflections on many aspects of church teaching. The Pope said the teachings in St. Paul’s letter were not anything new or “my own thing.”
“What we are studying is what St. Paul says during a very serious conflict” in Galatia. “They are not things that someone invented. No. It is something that happened at the time and that can repeat itself,” he said, referring to the apostle’s attempts to correct those who were tempted to believe a person is justified through works of the law, not faith in Christ’s redemptive action.
The Pope said, “This is simply a catechesis on the Word of God expressed in the letter of St. Paul to the Galatians. It is not something else. Always keep this in mind.”