What is Charity?
According to the charity dictionary it is: Love for God and our neighbor: charity is one of the three theological virtues.
Willingness to help others; natural tendency to help someone who is in an unfavorable situation; benevolence, piety. What is offered to; alms, favor, benefit: doing charity. The word charity means love, has its origin in the Greek “agapē”, describes a love without gaps and unconditionally. It is therefore a synonym for love, in some translations of the Bible.
How can I develop the virtue of charity?
In 1 Timothy 1: 5 we see that love comes from a pure heart and an unfeigned faith. Developing this virtue is essential for a full life with Christ and our fellow men.
But we do not always know whether or not we are on the right track. Therefore, we can follow some simple steps that will help us to develop and practice charity daily:
- Study the life of Jesus: He was our greatest example of love! His attitudes and words teach us how to act in different situations with our neighbors.
- Pray and ask for discernment from God: whatever it is, ask God for guidance before making any decisions. He directs us in any circumstance, including how to act to help our fellow man.
- Love God above all things and our neighbor: in Matthew 22:36-39 Jesus recalls the great commandment, divided into two levels: vertical, loving God above all and
- Horizontal, which is to love others as we love ourselves. This exemplifies the importance of having God first and abandoning selfish attitudes, also thinking of helping others with love.
Can I be saved through charity?
Below I will expose some texts that clearly show that salvation is by the grace of God through faith. That is, it does not depend on any work of man. It is an action of God in our lives that is received by faith.
And he [Jeusu] said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned". (Mark 16. 15-16). As can be seen clearly, Jesus says that the saved person will be the one who "believes". We do not have the mention that “doing charity” is the element that makes someone saved.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Here again we see that salvation is received by faith. He who believes in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, has eternal life.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God-- not because of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9). This text is one of the clearest and most conclusive. Salvation is by grace, through faith. Paul clearly adds here that works are NOT part of the process of salvation so that "no one can boast". In the next verses it is clarified that works have their role, not to save, but they are due to faith (they are fruits): "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph 2. 10). Good works must be part of the life of the saved, but they are not the agent of salvation.
"For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." (Rm 3:20). In this text we see it clear that even obedience to the Law of God cannot save us.
I believe it is clear that the Bible shows that salvation is a grace from God that is received by faith, free of charge. This salvation is received when we recognize that we are sinners and that Jesus Christ, in our place, took our sins on the cross of Calvary and, by His blood, shed in our place, we are saved. Recognizing this, we commit our whole life to the lordship of Christ. That is how we are saved and not by performing charities!
God bless you!
Text Charity in the Bible
"When you reap your harvest in your field, and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow; that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.
But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."
What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
1 John 3:17-18
But if any one has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.