Here is the meaning of faith in the New Testament, and in the early history of the Church: the willingness to sacrifice every other value other than the basic value of truth and life in Christ. Christian faith in the full sense of the word, is not just the acceptance of “truths about” Christ. It is not just acquiescence in the story of Christ with its moral and spiritual implications. It is not merely the decision to put into practice, to some extent at least, the teachings of Christ. All these forms of acceptance are compatible with an acquiescence in what is “not Christ.” It is quite possible to “believe in Christ,” in the sense of mentally accepting the truth that he lived on earth, died, and rose from the dead, and yet still live “in the flesh,” according to the standards of a greedy, violent, unjust and corrupt society, without noticing any real contradiction in one’s life.
But the real meaning of faith is the rejection of everything that is not Christ in order that all life, all truth, all hope, all reality may be sought and found “in Christ.”
- Thomas Merton, Life and Holiness, p. 99-100