Thought for the Day – Tradition

~Mark 7:8-9, 13 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (13) Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

When I think of “tradition,” I think of Fiddler on the Roof. 🙂 Tevye and his family sing about the Jewish traditions for the home. Some traditions are wonderful! I think of family gatherings and how I’ve incorporated many of my parents’ family traditions into my own family. But what about religious traditions? Today’s Scriptures do not speak highly of some of them.

I was raised and rooted in religious tradition. Some were very good. However, I did not care if those traditions were based on the Bible or not because the Bible was not read in our home. It was a book that sat on the bookshelf and, on occasion, I would open it to look at the pictures.  After salvation I noticed that some of these traditions were not according to what was written in the Bible. I had been taught all my life that whatever our church taught was equal to the Scriptures.

I’m sure every church is guilty of adding something to their traditions which they believe is as important as what is written in the Scriptures. I am not well versed in all the various religions out there but I can speak about one. An example of this lies with the Catholic church. The Vatican II council stated that “the living teaching office of the Church” (the latin term for this is magisterium) has the authority to interpret historical documents and make them equal with the Word of God. “It is clear therefore, that sacred tradition, sacred Scripture, and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others.” (“Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation” (Dei Verbum), Documents of Vatican II, par. 10, p. 118)

They have elevated sacred tradition to be equal with Scripture and, as a result, taken away from the authority of the Scripture.   Scripture would no longer be the only source man would turn to when trying to find truth. Instead, it would be easier to ask a church leader about what to do than to pick up the Bible and read it for themselves.

When one wants to know about repairing a Chevrolet Malibu, one must go to the Chevrolet Malibu manual, not the Toyota Corolla manual. So it stands to reason that if we want to know if something is “scriptural,” we must go to the Scriptures to verify it. One can turn to historical documents but are they in line with Scriptures?  Following after tradition is not recorded in God’s Word as being equal to the Word of God. In fact, at times when tradition is mentioned in the New Testament, it correlates it with God’s Word and to what Christ taught!  Other times, as in today’s text, it proves otherwise. The verses that referred to the traditions of men were penned with disdain – and warning was given to stay away from those traditions.

~Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

The Apostles did not have all the New Testament at the time they walked this earth and were spreading the Gospel. It was important, therefore, that believers were taught to follow in their footsteps after their testimony in Christ Jesus! They had an overwhelming responsibility to make sure that they taught others what Christ had taught them. They had an overwhelming responsibility to walk blamelessly so that new Christians would be taught correctly – according to what Christ taught them. They were given power from the Holy Spirit to pen the word of God exactly how the Holy Spirit wanted them to write.

~2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

Once the Apostles began to penn the Scriptures through epistles and Gospels, they continued to teach that new Christians should hold fast to those “traditions” that they were taught by the Apostles (in word and through their letters).  These were traditions that were in line with Christ’s words. These were traditions that today are clearly in God’s Word and were taught by Christ!  That is why they were encouraged to follow after them – but only as long as they followed after Christ and His Word.  If there were any contradiction, God’s Word was truth and they were to follow that truth!

~2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

Some churches speak of tradition and try to combine it with their church’s authority with an end result of man-made traditions accepted as Gospel truth. Unless you have a ruler to draw a straight line, it is impossible to draw a perfectly straight line by hand. Unless you have the true ruler, Jesus Christ and His word, it is impossible for you to have truth. (John 17:17) Even in Old Testament times, people recognized the man of God and what was spoken by him was truth.

~1 Kings 17:24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.

Is it any wonder that some churches would make whatever they want as doctrine to be equal to God’s Word? God says that HIS Word is truth. Jesus prayed this prayer to His Heavenly Father on behalf of His disciples.

~John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Jesus Christ brought us God’s word, therefore, if we want the truth then turn to the Scriptures, not tradition! Christ is God’s spoken word to us!

~John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Do not follow after tradition UNLESS it follows in line with God’s Word. After all, we will be judged according to what is written in the Scriptures. (John 12:48) If there’s ANY question, believe God’s word for it is tried and proven and is for all eternity. Peter, himself, said:

~1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Our church fathers preached the word of God – they penned the word of God so that we may have it as our ruler – to set us straight in our pilgrim path. Don’t be deceived by church traditions – back up what you believe with God’s word. Paul said it best:

~Galatians 1:9-12 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

No one, nothing, can supercede or even make anything equal to what Christ taught. Christ’s words are final. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end!

Thought for the Day – Work


Working to gain salvation is much like snowfall in Northern Maine. The picture above is of a dear friend who was steadily working to remove the snow from his driveway. With record-breaking snowfall that winter, he was simply maintaining. More snow will just keep falling and replacing the snow he has blown away.

It is the same with man’s sinful nature. We can work and work at confessing it to the parish priest, but those sins just keep coming back. The Scripture says that we cannot get to Heaven because we are sinners. God is Holy and will not receive anyone who is not holy as He is holy. (1 Pet. 1:16)

Many religions interpret this to mean that one must work at his religion so he may gain entrance to heaven, or even use this to promote the dogma of purgatory. However, no matter how hard one works at being holy, one can never be holy. (Isaiah 64:6)

We are all sinners and we will continue to sin until the day we die. (Romans 3:23) Our “good” deeds, like this snow removal, will never make up for our sinfulness. The snow removal is only temporary. Purgatory enforces this belief because it means that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was not sufficient and, therefore, there has to be more – there has to be something added to the plan of salvation! Every religion of the world has added works and good deeds to their salvation message. This includes Judaism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, etc.

This is quite different from what God’s word teaches. The Scripture teaches that you can be forgiven of your sins, once and for all. To do so, you need to come to Christ (Matt. 11:28). You need to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior (John 1:12; Rom. 10:13). You need to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins (John 14:14), and trust in Him alone because there is nothing that you can personally do. You must repent and sin no more (John 8:11). Many “claim” salvation but there has been no repentance and they continue to sin just like before.

Remember, your good deeds do not earn you a special place before God (Isa. 64:6). Furthermore, if you have faith, it is because that faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29). If you believe, it is because God has granted that you believe (Phil. 1:29). It is not because you were baptized, or have been good, or belonged to a certain church, or have been sincere. It is all of God. The Lord must receive all the glory for salvation because it completely and totally rests in Him. It does not rest on a church – it does not rest on the pope – it does not rest on you! Salvation rests in Christ alone and it is received by faith apart from works.

Please read the following scriptures carefully:

1. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ~Rom. 3:23

2. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord ~Rom. 6:23

3. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. ~1 Pet. 2:24

4. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. ~2 Cor. 5:21

5. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. ~John 14:14

6. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls ~Matt. 11:28-29

7. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: ~John 1:12

8. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. ~Gal. 2:21

9. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. ~Rom. 3:28

10. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. ~Rom. 4:3

11. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. ~Rom. 4:5

12. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Now, after reading these verses, can you seriously believe that God would change the plan of salvation to include purgatory? God does not change – His plan of salvation in the Scriptures will never be superceded by anyone. Don’t believe a lie. Use that brain that God gave you and read His word. He will not lie to you, but man will! Let God’s Holy word speak to your hearts and allow His Holy Spirit to draw you to salvation!

Thought for the Day – Owner’s Manual

Oh the smell of a new car! There’s nothing like it! What is it about a new car? I love to look at it – I love to drive it. But one thing is for sure, I do not like the repairs and costs associated with it! My husband likes to tinker with our vehicles. He always makes sure that he purchases the manual for each of our vehicles so he can work on them. Whenever something goes wrong, out comes the manual and he looks up the “symptoms” and diagnoses the problem. Once he knows what the problem is, he can get to work to fix it.

We own a Nissan Titan and, as you can guess, he owns the manual for that as well 🙂 However, he would not take the Nissan manual out to fix our Ford Focus, nor would he take the Ford manual out to fix the Titan. The Ford manufacturer has complete guidelines and instructions for their vehicles (as do all other manufacturers) and if anyone knows how to repair our Focus, they would. They would not relinquish the responsibility of documenting their repair instructions to another manufacturer – that would be absurd! So the car buyer knows that he can trust Ford’s documentation because it is written by those who manufactured the car. No one else knows a Ford better than those who build it, right? With that thought in mind, you wouldn’t turn to a Ford manual to work on your Toyota would you? Of course not.

It is the same with “religion.” To those who are searching for God and wanting to know how to get to heaven, they must turn to the only source that has the truth. (John 17:17) They may turn to a specific “church” or organization for the answers, but why not go to the Source who documented the truth? (John 14:26) If anyone knows about heaven and how to get there, it is God and He recorded the way in the Bible. Some think they know the way because they go to a specific church or they were “christian” all their lives. However, the Bible says,

(Pro 14:12) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Is it possible that the way you think is the right way could be the wrong way? Don’t you want to know? (Matthew 7:13-14) Don’t you want to make sure???

Do you let people deceive you in your finances? Do you fall for gimmicks on television? Are you a sucker for every good deal that crosses your path? If you’re like me, you like to research and investigate before you spend your hard-earned money. I don’t throw away my money frivolously. I make sure that I am getting my money’s worth. Nothing is too good for my family so I watch out for the best deals and make my dollar stretch. I can’t put a price on their health and well being.

But what is the price of their soul? What is the price on where they will spend eternity? That, my friend, is priceless! It is my duty (Deut. 11:18-20) to show my children the way to heaven. God did not leave us without direction. The Bible offers the instructions on how to repair our souls, just as my husband’s Nissan manual offers him the instructions on repairing his truck!

(Joh 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Act 4:12) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

No matter how many men tell my husband he can put a Dodge part into his Nissan, he knows that it just won’t work. Why? Because he has read the manual and he has learned from the master mechanics at Nissan how to repair his vehicle. He doesn’t travel from manufacturer to manufacturer trying to find another way or a work around solution. He knows that the truth about fixing his vehicle is found in its manual.

Salvation is no different! No matter how many religious people tell us that their way is the only way, we must compare what they say with what God says in His word. Will you take the words of men or will you take the words of God? Does your religion tell you that the church “fathers” and church traditions are also God’s words? What if the two contradict each other?

Who is the authority on the subject but the author? The Author, God, has penned His instructions – His directions – His map, if you will – and we find those words in our Bible.

(Heb 5:9) And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (Heb 12:2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus is the Rock and foundation of our faith.

(Deu 32:4) He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (1 Cor 10:4) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

When we follow a church’s teachings blindly, we will fall as they fall (Luk 6:39). Don’t be guilty of placing your eternal destination in the hands of another. It is your responsibility to seek out the truth and decide for yourself. Your church will not be standing next to you on Judgment Day. You will be alone when it comes to giving an account before God why you chose to accept instructions which were not contained in His word. God has left you His manual in the Bible!

Are Catholics Christians by Former Catholic Priest

Are Catholics Christians?

By Richard Bennett

The Catholic Church presupposes itself to be Christian. Nothing could be further from the truth; yet, the Catholic Church has been ardently promoting that image, particularly since the close of Vatican Council II in 1965. A primary, non-negotiable goal of Vatican Council II was to lay the groundwork and to establish the rules and parameters for a multifaceted, ecumenical outreach. Evangelical Christians, now called “separated brethren,” rather than “heretics,”1 are the primary target of Catholic ecumenism. The goal is to draw them into the Roman Catholic fold.2 Thus, in the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the word “Christian” occurs more than 100 times in these official teachings. Buzzwords such as “dialogue,” “ecumenism,” and “social justice” are being used under the guise of promoting Christianity to advance the Roman Catholic agenda.

Assurances to Evangelicals Negated

Evangelicals are assured that Catholics who believe in the incarnation, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are true Christians, even though they misunderstand some of the “technicalities” regarding salvation. Such reasoning is negated by the fact that Catholicism differs from biblical faith—not only on minor details, but more importantly on what is essential to salvation. The most dangerous aspect of Catholic Church doctrine is that it appears to be based on the great, indispensable truths of God’s revelation.3 In reality, however, the blatant fact is that Catholic doctrine denies essential, biblical doctrines by what it affixes to biblical truths. For example, while Catholic doctrine holds that in the Godhead there are three distinct Persons worthy of the same worship, it adds divine adoration for Mary by addressing her in prayer as “the All Holy One.” The exact words of the official statement are, “By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All Holy One.”4 Another example is the fact that the Catholic Church demands that the worship, which is due to the true God, is to be given also to their Communion element. Thus, she officially declares,

1 The anathemas or curses against Evangelicals as heretics still remain in Roman Catholic law for the Council of Trent (1545 – 1563) has never been revoked. Since the demise of the Holy Roman Empire, the Papacy has had no military and civil power by which to enforce these anathemas as it did during the 600 plus years of the Inquisition. Thus the Papacy has turned to ecumenism, “dialogue” and promoting “social justice” as current methods for drawing Evangelical Christians.

2 Vatican Council II Documents, “Reflections and Suggestions Concerning Ecumenical Dialogue,” Vol. I, Sect. II This crucial Vatican document states, “…ecumenical dialogue is not limited to an academic or purely conceptual level, but striving for a more complete communion between the Christian communities…it serves to transform modes of thought and behavior and the daily life of those communities. In this way, it aims at preparing the way for their unity of faith in the bosom of a Church one and visible: thus ‘little by little’, as the obstacles to perfect ecclesial communion are overcome, all Christians will be gathered, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, into that unity of the one and only Church which Christ bestowed on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, dwells in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose…” 3 For example she holds to the existence of a self-existent and eternal God, the Creator of the universe, of man, and of all things. She teaches the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. She teaches Adam’s sin resulting in the shared guilt and consequences of his sin. She accepts the doctrine of man’s redemption by Jesus Christ, teaching that He became incarnate and endured the death of the cross; that He arose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and will return again. 4 Catechism of the Catholic Church, Liguori Publications, 1994 Paragraph 2677 Hereafter referred to as Catechism.

“There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind ‘that all the faithful ought to show to this most holy sacrament the worship which is due to the true God, as has always been the custom of the Catholic Church. Nor is it to be adored any the less because it was instituted by Christ to be eaten.’”5

These two official teachings of the Church of Rome show that the divine worship due to God alone is being given to Mary and to the communion element.

The essential doctrine of man’s redemption by Jesus Christ is totally different in Papal Rome from what it is in the Bible. The Scripture declares that sinners dead in trespasses and sins are “by grace” “saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”6 This Scripture shows that God directly saves sinners by His grace alone through faith alone. However, the Catholic Church introduces the necessity of her sacraments and consequently states,

“The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation. ‘Sacramental grace’ is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament.”7

The sacraments that are declared to be indispensable negate the biblical doctrine of man’s redemption. With these explicit examples of the Catholic Church’s negation of essential biblical truths, the Papacy’s official doctrine and teaching on all the major topics of biblical truth needs to be carefully examined.

The Basis of Truth

The first topic to address is, “What is the basis of truth?” In other words, what is the norm by which we can know truth? The absolute standard set by the Lord Jesus Christ is the fact that “the scripture cannot be broken.”8 The Lord also declared the truth of God’s Word by saying, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”9 From this statement we understand that God’s Word not only contains the truth, but rather, it is truth itself. The Holy Scripture is the source of the believer’s standard of truth. Since Scripture alone is inspired, it alone is the ultimate authority, and it alone is the final judge of all human tradition and reasoning. Accordingly, the commandment of the Lord states, “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”10 Thus, in His written Word, the absolute authority of the Lord God is totally sufficient for all the believer’s needs, as outlined by the Apostle Paul when he wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”11 The Lord rebuked the Pharisees because they placed their human tradition on the same level as the written Word of God. Thus, the Pharisees corrupted the people’s understanding by confusing them in regards to God’s Word as the very basis of truth. Jesus declared to them, “[You are] making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered.”12

5 Vatican Council II Documents, “Eucharisticum Mysterium,” Vol. I, Para 3 (Emphasis not in original.) 6 Ephesians 2:8, 9 7 Catechism Paragraph 1129 8 John 10:35

9 John 17:17 10 Proverbs 30:6 11 II Timothy 3:16-17 12 Mark 7:13

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In spite of this clear standard of truth, the Catholic Church declares her own standard of truth. She begins her reasoning with the following words,

“Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other” “And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God, which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.”13

The fact is that no “tradition” transmits in its entirety the Word of God. This task is solely that of the Holy Spirit. First, in an exclusive sense, the Scriptures are the composition of the Holy Spirit; as stated by the Apostle Peter, “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”14 The Holy Spirit is fully fitted for this work because He is “the Spirit of truth.”15 He has perfect knowledge of the truth because He is God, one with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit reveals the truth of the written Word to believers. For this reason the Lord Christ Jesus said, “He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”16 Thus, the Holy Spirit perfectly transmits the Word of God in its proper fullness.

Having equated her “Sacred Tradition” with Sacred Scripture, and stating that her tradition transmits the Word of God in its entirety, the Catholic Church reaches its conclusion with the following words,

“As a result the [Catholic] Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, ‘does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”17

This statement is a formal denial of the sufficiency of Scripture and a repudiation of its unique authority. For a church, claiming to be Christian, to affirm her equal love for tradition as she does Scripture is to make Scripture of no unique value. It is like a husband who declares that he loves his wife and at the same time states that he also loves equally the woman across the street. Such love would be adulterous; so also are Papal Rome’s “equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” Such a declaration is tantamount to a rejection of Scripture and unfaithfulness to the God of Scripture.

Catholicism, however, does have a standard for truth that is taken to be absolute. It is not the unqualified authority of God in His written Word; rather, it is the authority of a man, the Pope of Rome. For Catholics, the ultimate authority lies in the decisions and decrees of the reigning Pope. This is seen in their official teaching which states,

“The Supreme Pontiff, in virtue of his office, possesses infallible teaching authority when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful…he proclaims with a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held as such.”18

Thus, in practice, the Catholic Church’s basis for doctrine is her Pope and what he states to be truth. In other words, this is claimed truth by decree. How ludicrous the claim is when we realize that some popes were declared to be heretics and thus condemned by Church councils.19

13 Catechism Paragraphs 80, 81 14 II Peter 1:20, 21 15 John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” 16 John 16:15 17 Catechism Paragraph 82 18 Catechism Paragraph 891

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Salvation by Grace Alone Denied by Catholic Sacramental System

That salvation is by grace alone must be clearly understood. Unredeemed sinners, of whom all are “dead in trespasses and sins,”20 can only be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, because salvation is “the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”21 It is God who graciously saves by His unmerited free gift. In total contrast to this, salvation in the Catholic Church is said to come about by “grace” that is merely a “help” with the intention that people will respond. Thus, the Catholic Church officially states, “Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons. It introduces us into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life.”22 In this view, human beings are presumed to be good enough to respond to the help that God gives to them. According to the Catholic Church, grace is not a manifestation of God’s sovereign action in salvation but merely a “help” given to humans that they may respond, should they decide to believe. The Catholic teaching contradicts the very concept of grace. As the Scripture states, “and if by grace, then is it [salvation] no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.”23 God’s sovereign action is what is at stake and not uncertain, human response.

The Catholic concept of “grace” denies God’s sovereign grace. Therefore, the Papacy needed to construct a mechanism by which Catholics can profess that they have received grace. The primary tools of their invention are called the sacraments. Accordingly, the Catholic Church states,

“The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation. ‘Sacramental grace’ is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament.”24

This teaching is appalling. In the Bible, salvation is given to an individual by the absolute power of God’s grace alone – because in God alone is the power to deliver a man spiritually “dead in trespasses and sins” to being spiritually alive in Christ. However, the Catholic Church adamantly disagrees with the Bible on this primary issue, for it officially claims “man has only been wounded by sin.”25 Thus, her Catechism describes God’s grace as a “help” accessible through her sacraments. These sacraments are in turn totally under the control of the Catholic priesthood.

We absolutely praise the Lord God that from Scripture we know His grace is totally His free gift, “wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”26 In salvation, we are accepted not in any institution, or by partaking of any sacrament, but in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

19 For example Pope Honorious was condemned as a heretic by the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680-681 A.D.). He was also condemned as a heretic by Pope Leo II, as well as by every other pope until the eleventh century. It was not until 1870 at Vatican Council I that the Catholic Church for the first time declared that the Pope is infallible. 20 Ephesians 2:1, “and you… who were dead in trespasses and sins..”

21 Ephesians 2:9 22 Catechism, Paragraph 2021 23 Romans 11:6 24 Catechism Paragraph 1129 25 Vatican Council II Documents, No. 64, “Gaudium et Spes,” 1965, Vol. I, Sect. 14 26 Ephesians 1:6

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Papal Substitute for Christ Alone as Object of Faith

The object of faith is clearly seen in Scripture as the person of Christ Jesus Himself. Consequently, it is stated, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”27 This faith is God-given faith, as declared by the Apostle Peter, “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”28 This God-given faith comes by hearing the Word of God as is stated, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”29 The topic of faith is so clear in Scripture that one would doubt that it could be twisted by any church. The Catholic Church, nonetheless, completely changes the concept of faith. Regarding faith, she focuses attention on herself as “the Church,” as the one that first believes. Thus she teaches, “It is the Church that believes first, and so bears, nourishes and sustains my faith.”30 Then she has the audacity to declare that faith comes through the Church because the Church is our Mother. As a result she officially teaches, “Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother…”31 In the Catholic Church the result is that a person believes in Mother Church and not on the Lord Jesus Christ. Her official words stating this are the following,

“‘Believing’ is an ecclesial act. The Church’s faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith. The Church is the mother of all believers. ‘No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother.’”32

Therefore, the position for Catholics is that they are compelled to submit to holy Mother Church and accept what she teaches. The Catholic Church basically attempts to replace Jesus Christ as the object of saving faith with a substitute: faith in Mother Church. What this change does is to enslave an individual to the Roman Catholic Church rather than to make him free in Jesus Christ. To maintain the Catholic Church as the object of faith, the Papacy curses all who believe on Christ by faith alone. Their official words are, “If anyone says that by the sacraments of the New Law grace is not conferred ex opere operato [from the work worked], but that faith alone in the divine promise is sufficient to obtain grace, let him be anathema [cursed].”33

Christ’s Sufficient Finished Sacrifice

The unique oneness of Christ’s sacrifice is the fact that it was one offering—once made. The concept “once” is deemed so important that it is asserted seven times by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. The perfection of Christ’s sacrifice is contrasted with the repeated daily sacrifices of the Old Testament. The truth of the excellence of Christ’s sacrifice is highlighted by the word “once.” For example, the Apostle Paul teaches, “for in that he died, he died unto sin

27 Acts 16:31 28 II Peter 1:1 29 Romans 10:17 30 Catechism Paragraph 168 31 Catechism Paragraph 169 32 Catechism Paragraph 181 33 The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, 7th Session, March, 1547 (Rockford, IL: Tan Publishers, Inc., 1978) This curse against those who believe that Christ alone is the object of their saving faith has never been lifted. For centuries, the horrendous tortures of the Papacy’s Inquisition were used throughout Europe and Britain to wipe out all believers whose faith was in Christ alone. By the end of the eighteenth century, the Papacy no longer had the military and civil power to enforce her sinister doctrine. But by the mid-twentieth century, the Papacy’s new tools had been formed against those whose faith is in Christ alone: Ecumenism, dialogue and “social justice” were formally unveiled at Vatican Council II. The method has changed; but goal has not.

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once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.”34 The Apostle Peter likewise declares, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.”35 The same truth is taught five times in the book of Hebrews with the conclusion, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”36 The majestic truth is found in the Lord’s declaration from the cross, “It is finished.”37

In total contrast, the Catholic Church declares that Christ’s sacrifice, which was offered on the cross, is contained and offered in her Mass. Her official words are the following, “In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.”38 Quite unbelievably she states an even worse conclusion. She declares that the sacrifice of Christ is also a sacrifice of the Church offering herself with Him. The official words are, “The Church, which is the Body of Christ, participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire.”39 It is utterly blasphemous for a church to teach its members to offer themselves with Christ’s sacrifice. The doctrine of participating in Christ’s sacrifice is entirely perverse and immoral. This proposition is an utter lie as it denies the repeated statements of God’s truth in Scripture. The work of redemption is “by Himself,”40 “without the deeds of the law,”41 “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.”42 To teach people such a proposition is a dreadful abomination before the Lord God!

The Nature of God as the Only All Holy One

The Bible clearly teaches that God alone is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His Being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. Most important is the fact that He is the All Holy One. His holiness is the divine attribute that covers all attributes so that His righteousness is holy, His truth is holy, and His justice is holy. He is each of His attributes, and the overall attribute of holiness is that which separates Him from all beings. His holiness is distinctive and matchless. This is the reason why we need to be saved by Him, the All Holy God. Thus, we read in Scripture, “there is none holy as the Lord.”43 Again, the Word of the Lord proclaims, “who shall not fear thee O Lord and glorify Thy name for thou only art holy and all nations shall come and worship before thee.”44 The Lord God is utterly holy in the words of Scripture, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.”45 In addition to declaring the holiness of God, the official teaching of the Catholic Church declares Mary to be “the All Holy One.” The capital letters are there in print, and there is no disclaimer or footnote to explain differently what is said. The following is stated, “By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of

34 Romans 6:10 35 I Peter 3:18 36 Hebrews 9:28 37 John 19:30

38 Catechism Paragraph 1367 (Emphasis not in original) 39 Catechism Paragraph 1368 40 Hebrews 1:3 41 Romans 3:28

42 Titus 3:5 43 I Samuel 2:2 44 Revelation 15:4 45 Isaiah 6:3

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Mercy,’ the All Holy One.”46 Furthermore, Catholic teaching also officially states, “From the Church he [the Catholic] learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary…”47 This blasphemous teaching is an attempted theft of the very essence of the divine glory reserved unto God alone. It comes as a shock to see that in this doctrine alone the Papacy has shown its total disregard for the Godhead. We know that Lord God alone is the All Holy One and that He is protective of His glory, opposing all that are hostile to it, “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another.”48

Idolatry

The Scriptures are absolutely clear in declaring that we are neither to make a graven image nor show any veneration to such images, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything…Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.”49 Then Scripture explains how this is to be understood, “and he [God] declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even Ten Commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake…Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure….”50 Hence, there is to be no similitude (or likeness) of God made by mankind. That which is forbidden in Scripture is the making of any likeness of Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church, however, rationalizes that one can indeed practice idolatry. Paragraph 2132 of the 1994 Catechism states, “The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype, and whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.” The reason given is that one venerates the person portrayed by the image and not the image itself. Yet, this is exactly what the Bible forbids and why God’s second commandment had forbidden Aaron from making the golden calf.51 Nor is the second reason given by Papal Rome for justifying the practice of idolatry any more biblical. Rather, they cite an 8th century council,

“Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified…the veneration of icons—of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new ‘economy’ of images.”52

When the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea decided that the incarnation of Jesus Christ introduced a new “economy” of images, the unstated logic of their decision required them to maintain that God changed His mind regarding the Second Commandment. This reasoning is blasphemous. God does not change His mind. Jesus Christ and the Apostles were equally forceful in condemning idolatry, as were the commandments in the Old Testament. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church claims that a “tradition comes from the Holy Spirit” which justifies the making of graven images and these are to be publicly displayed. In its Catechism, Paragraph 1161 states,

“Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in

46 Catechism Paragraph 2677 47 Catechism Paragraph 2030 48 Isaiah 42:8 49 Exodus 20:4-5

50 Deuteronomy 4:13, 15-16 51 Exodus 32:4-9 52 Catechism Paragraph 2131

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her) we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets.”

This is idolatry⎯plain, simple, and condemned by the Lord God. The Holy Spirit is forthrightly blasphemed in their claim that He established tradition to

justify the use of images. Rather, the Bible makes abundantly clear that God hates idolatry and forbids a representation in art of what is divine (Exodus. 20:4-6). Making images to represent God corrupts those who use them (Deuteronomy 4:13, 15-16). Images teach lies about God (Habakkuk. 2:18-20). God cannot be represented in art and all who practice idolatry are commanded to repent (Acts 17:29-30). The Holy Spirit orders in the New Testament as He did the Old, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen” (I John. 5:21). Some of the evil fruits of bringing into the worship of Holy God the idolatry that He hates are the many pagan superstitions and traditions of Roman Catholicism. But the worst fruit of the idolatry that Roman Catholicism offers under the guise of being Christian is its false gospel.

The topic of idolatry is of utmost importance as many Bible-believing churches in the present day attempt to justify pictures and videos of Christ. They argue that both we, and those who cannot read, can come to a fuller understanding of the person of Christ from these images. Yet, the Bible clearly states that such images lie. Jesus Christ is the only one with two distinct natures – both divine and human – in one body. Therefore, to attempt to make any kind of an image of Jesus Christ, graven or two dimensional or moving, still falls under the Second Commandment. No image can portray Christ’s divinity, for He “is the brightness of his [God’s] glory and the express image of his person,”53 “in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”54

If we are to be biblical, we do not have any pictorial representation or video showing the persons of Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. The punishment for idolatry is severe, as both the Old Testament and New Testament make clear.55 The temptation to visualize Christ, the Father, or the Holy Spirit must be repented of, for God is Holy and the truth of Bible is sufficient for all our knowledge of things divine.

Conclusion

As has been shown above, the Roman Catholic Church most certainly is not Christian. Rather, it is an apostate church. The Bible is the great battering ram against the apostasy of the Catholic Church and against her false gospel. The Bible states that by nature, we are all born “dead in trespasses and sins,”56 and in practice, we rebel against the All Holy God. Therefore, we justly fall under the curse of the Law. Yet, the love of the heavenly Father, through the Gospel of grace, rescues His own from His fiery wrath. By means of the conviction of sin, placed on the human heart by the Holy Spirit, He by His grace alone turns us to Himself in faith alone for the

53 Hebrews 1:3 54 Colossians 2:9 55 Exodus 20:4-6, Deuteronomy 4:13, 15-16, Habakkuk. 2:18-20, Acts 17:29-30. Thus the Holy Spirit commands in both Old and New Testaments, “little children, keep yourselves from idols” I John 5:21 56 Ephesians 2:1

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salvation that He alone gives. This salvation is based on Christ’s death and resurrection for His own. As a result we believe on Jesus Christ the Lord alone, “for by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”57 Such grace and love engages our hearts in an ever deepening gratitude so that we proclaim with our whole heart, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”58♦

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57 Ephesians 2:8, 9 58 Romans 11:36

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Once a Jesuit, Now a Child of God by Bob Bush

I began my Catholic journey in a little country town in northern California in the U.S.A. The town was so small that we did not have Mass every Sunday, but a priest used to come once a month if he possibly could to hold Mass in a big public hall.

I have both an older and a younger brother. My father had been trained at the University of Santa Clara. As a result, my parents thought it would be a good idea for us to attend a Catholic boarding school. The Jesuits ran the school and I was a student there for four years. Academically it was a very good school, but the only type of religion to which we were exposed was Catholic theology and tradition with no emphasis on the Bible.

Desire to Serve God and Mankind

As graduation approached I considered what I should do with my life. I thought that becoming a Jesuit priest could be a good way to honor and serve God and help mankind; that was all I knew. At that time, even when I left high school, I had a longing and a hunger in my heart to meet God and to know Him. In fact, once when I was a senior (fourth and final year) in high school, I remember going out to the football field and just kneeling there in the dark with my arms up to the sky. I cried out saying, ”God, God, where are You?” I really had a hunger for God.

Jesuit Seminary

I entered the Jesuit Order in 1953 after graduation from high school. When I entered the Order, the first thing that happened was that I was told I had to keep all the rules and regulations, that to do so would be pleasing to God, and that is what He wanted for me. We were taught the motto, ”Keep the rule and the rule will keep you.”
We read a lot about the lives of the saints, and right from the beginning I was trained to look at them as models to follow, not realizing that they had become saints because they had served the Catholic Church. I did seminary studies for a total of 13 years, taking course after course and studying one thing after another. It finally ended in a study of theology culminating in ordination in 1966.

Hunger for God But No Peace

I still had a hunger in my heart for God. I hadn’t met the Lord yet and still didn’t have peace. In fact, at that time I used to smoke and I was very nervous. I would pace back and forth in my room puffing one cigarette after another because of my inner unrest.
I entered a post graduate program in Rome thinking I would be on top of the mountain, but the hunger in my heart persisted. I even spoke to a priest who was in charge of missionaries to Africa, since I wanted to go there as a missionary. I was aware that if I went to Africa, however, the only thing I could do was to tell people about what I had learned about the Catholic doctrines and what the Catholic Church had to offer, even though it had not satisfied me. I did not see how it could satisfy them either.
I studied during the years of Vatican Council II (1962-1965) and was ordained a year after it ended. The documents from Vatican Council II were coming out from Rome and I thought everything would change. It was a time of discovery. I thought I would get to the rock bottom truth, and this would change the world. This idea was the force that drove me. But I was not aware of any changes, as the same Catholic doctrines from the Council of Trent were still in place. So I did not go to Africa but returned to California, where God had a surprise in store for me.

Leading a Prayer Group

While at a retreat house where I said Mass, a lady asked me if I would lead a home prayer group in her home. I had never led a prayer meeting in my life and did not know how it worked, but I thought that as I had been trained for all those years, I should be qualified to do it and assented. It was held every Thursday from 10 a.m. until noon. A group of people would gather and read only the Bible, sing praises to the Lord, and pray for one another’s needs. I was still smoking at that time. Early on the morning when the prayer meeting was due to take place, I paced back and forth and thought, ”Oh, why did I say I was going to go there?” I had not been at all enthusiastic about going, but when noon came, I did not want to leave. The power of the Biblical Word was beginning to touch my heart and life.

Surprised by God’s Grace

The great surprise that the Lord had in store for me happened in this way. One night we went to a retreat house with a group of people from the home prayer meeting. The speaker asked at the end of his address, ”Now if there is anyone here who is hungry for God and has not been touched by God and wants God to touch his life, then come forward and we will pray for you.” It happened that a lady called Sonia came up to me and asked, ”Would you please ask my husband Joe to go forward and get prayed for?” I told her, ”Sonia, I can’t do that. That wouldn’t really be honest because I haven’t been prayed for myself, so how can I ask him to go forward?” Now I am about six feet four inches tall and she was a very short lady. I will never forget it; she looked me in the face and put her finger up to me and said, ”I think you need to get prayed for yourself.” I laughed and said, ”Yes, I do.” What she did not realize was that there was great hunger in my heart. After all the years of studying I had not met God. I read my Bible at the prayer meetings, but I still did not know the sovereign God of the Bible or myself as a lost sinner before Him.
This was the moment I prayed that God would change me, so I went forward and they laid hands on me and prayed over me. It was not because of any works that either they or I did, but it was truly by God’s grace that I was born again. Jesus became real, the Bible became real. I just became a fire in the love of God. He changed my life. To those who read this, He is real and life changing. JESUS CHANGED MY LIFE. ”Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5).

We Try to be Bible Based

It was August 1970 when God’s grace truly touched me. I began working in the charismatic movement, which was a fresh movement in the Catholic Church. While there were all kinds of decrees and dogmas coming out of Rome, the movement at the beginning tried to have just one manual – the Bible.

We started a prayer group in a high school and it grew so large we had to move to a gymnasium. Before long we had 800 to 1,000 people coming every Friday night. We were stressing praise and worshiping and glorifying God. Based in the gymnasium where there were no statues or any other such thing, we tried to stay in the Bible.

I had a lot to learn. It took me many years to realize that I was compromising by staying in the Roman Catholic Church. Throughout all of those years I continued to stress that salvation is only in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and not in infant baptism; that there is only one source of authority which is the Bible, the Word of God; and that there is no purgatory but rather that when we die we either go to heaven or hell, etc.

Here is where the conflict came. Seeing people depend upon such false and deceiving beliefs for their salvation was heart wrenching to me. I felt that maybe God could use me to change things in the Catholic Church. I even had prayer sessions with people who felt the same way. We prayed that God would change the Roman Catholic Church so that we could remain Catholics. But to remain Catholic, I now see, is to be living a compromised life.

Conviction By the Holy Spirit

I finally realized after much conviction of the Holy Spirit that not giving myself totally to Him, one hundred percent, was grieving my Lord, as I was sinning a sin of compromise. I also came to realize that the Roman Catholic Church cannot change. If it did change, there would be no Pope, no rosary, no purgatory, no priests, no mass, etc. After 17 years of brainwashing, I got my brain washed and cleansed by the Holy Spirit. In a word, what was happening to me over this period is explained in Romans 12:1-2.

”I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2)

Research In India

By this time I had met another priest who has since left the Church of Rome. He was preaching the same kind of thing, spending half of the year in India and half in the United States. Victor Affonso was also a Jesuit, and I told him I thought it would be wonderful to go to India and to do some missionary work there. We could research the dogma and doctrines of the Catholic Church.

I went to India in 1986 and spent six months there doing missionary work. We were also able to spend a month with a group of people researching Catholic dogma in the light of the Scriptures. We were determined to follow what the Bible said; if Catholic doctrines contradicted that, we would reject them.

We saw that Jesus said, ”Come unto Me,” and that in the Gospels we are told to pray to our Father in Jesus’ name, never to a saint or to Mary. The disciples did not pray to Stephen, who died very early in the Acts of the Apostles, or to James, who was killed very early. Why would they do that when they had the resurrected Jesus with them? He said, ”For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) They prayed to Jesus; they prayed to the Father; they had the guidance of the Holy Spirit and obeyed the commandments of God.

In India we discovered that the Catholic catechism had changed the Ten Commandments from the way they were in the Bible. In the Roman Catholic catechism, the first commandment is as it is in Scripture. The second commandment in the catechism is, ”You shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” This is a complete change from the Bible. The third commandment of the Bible has been moved up to the second. The original second commandment as is found in Scripture has been dropped. Virtually all of the catechisms drop the second commandment of the Bible. For example, the New
Baltimore Catechism, Question 195, answers, ”The commandments of God are these ten: (1) I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before; (2) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” etc.

In the Bible, the second commandment declares,

”Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandment.” (Exodus 20:4-6). God forbids us to bow down before these or to serve them, yet there are pictures of the Pope bowing down and kissing the statues.

We were bothered that this commandment had been dropped out of the catechism. So now we might well ask, ”How do we get ten commandments? What the catechisms do is divide the last commandment (formerly the tenth, now split into the ninth and tenth). ”Do not covet thy neighbor’s wife” is listed as a separate commandment from that of not coveting his goods. This is quite a distortion of the Bible. I was discovering dogmas and doctrines that directly contradicted the Scriptures.

Mary and the Mass

We also investigated the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. This is defined as ”the doctrine that Mary was conceived without sin; at the first moment of conception there was no sin there.” This contradicts Romans3:23 which says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Here we had a doctrine, a tradition that is passed down and solemnly defined as infallibly true, and it contradicts what is in the Bible.

Then we came to one of the biggest areas of conflict. It had to do with the sacrifice of the Mass. The official Catholic position on the sacrifice of the Mass is that it is a continuation of the sacrifice of Calvary. The Council of Trent actually defined it this way:

“And since in this divine sacrifice, which is celebrated in the Mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner, who on the altar of the cross ‘once offered Himself’ in a bloody manner (Hebrews 9:27), the holy Synod teaches that this is truly propitiatory… For it is one and the same victim, the same one now offering by the ministry of the priests as He who then offered Himself on the Cross, the manner of offering alone being different…” (Denzinger 940).

Some people might say the Council of Trent is not valid any more and that things have changed. But Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (which is the old Holy Office), in a book called The Ratzinger Report, said, ”It is likewise impossible to decide in favor of Trent and Vatican I, but against Vatican II. Whoever denies Vatican II denies the authority that upholds the other two councils and thereby detaches them from their foundation.” Catechisms say the same thing, that the Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the cross. For example, the New Baltimore Catechism says,

“The Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross because in the Mass the victim is the same, and the principal priest is the same, Jesus Christ.” Yet in Hebrews 10:18 it says that, ”Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” So Scripture makes it very clear. In fact, eight times in four chapters, beginning in chapter seven of the letter to the Hebrews, it says ”once for all” and there was one offering for sin, once for all!!!

Finished Sacrifice

Anyone who has attended Mass in the Catholic Church will remember the prayer said by the priest, “Pray brethren, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father.” This is a very serious prayer. The people respond saying the same thing, asking that the sacrifice may be acceptable to God.

“But this is contrary to the Word of God because the sacrifice has already been accepted. When Jesus was on the cross, He said “It is finished” (John 19:30) and we know that it was completed because Jesus was accepted by the Father and rose from the dead and is now at the right hand of the Father. The Good News that we preach is that Jesus has risen from the dead, that His sacrifice is completed, and that He has paid for all sin. When by God’s grace we accept it as the finished sacrifice for our sins, we are saved and have everlasting life.

A memorial is a remembrance of something that someone has done for us. Jesus said, “This do in remembrance of Me.” So anyone who is reading this, or any priest who is saying Mass, must seriously consider the error of the prayer “Let us pray, my brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice may be acceptable…” The sacrifice has been accepted and it is done. What we are supposed to do when we have the communion service is to do it in memory of what Jesus has done. We see that the sacrifice that Jesus offered on the cross was sufficient and final. It cannot be added to or re-enacted.

Can the Mass Atone for Sin?

The Catholic Church says that the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice effective to take away the sins of those on earth and those who have died. That is why, to this very day, even though some people will say that the church in some places does not believe in purgatory, still virtually every Mass that is said is for someone who has died. It is believed that the Mass will shorten their time in purgatory. That is why it is said for dead people. When a person dies, judgment immediately follows, ”And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) If they are saved, they go directly to heaven; if they remain in their sins, they go to hell. There is nothing to change one from hell to heaven. Yet the Catholic Church believes that the Mass, being a propitiatory sacrifice, will decrease the time in purgatory. But all the suffering and all the atonement that was ever made for sins was accomplished by Jesus on the cross, and we need to accept this truth. We need to receive everlasting life and to be born again while we are still alive. There is no Biblical evidence to support the idea that after death we can experience any kind of change.

To be Right Before God

We then began to study what the Catholic Church teaches on salvation. It is a doctrine of the Catholic Church that we can be saved by being baptized as infants. Present day canon law says, “Baptism, the gate to the sacraments, necessary for salvation, in fact, or at least in intention, by which men and women are freed from their sins, reborn as children of God, configured to Christ…” (Canon 849) What that means is that the Catholic Church says that when a little baby is baptized, it is saved and has everlasting life by virtue of baptism. But that is not true. Jesus never said anything like that, neither is there a word in the Bible about anything like that happening. There is no limbo! Jesus said, ”Suffer the little children to come unto me…” The Bible always says we are saved when we accept that Christ Jesus totally paid the price of our sin so that His right standing with God becomes ours. ”For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:21).

Christ Work or Works?

The Catholic Church then goes on to say that in order to be saved you must keep its laws, rules and regulations. And if these laws are violated (for example, birth control or fasting or attendance at Mass every Sunday), then you have committed a sin. The Catholic Church says in canon law of the present day that if you commit a serious sin, that sin must be forgiven by confessing that sin to a priest; ”Individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the only ordinary way by which the faithful person who is aware of serious sin can be reconciled with God, and with the Church…” (Canon 9609) The Catholic Church says that this is the way sins are forgiven, the ordinary way that sins are forgiven. The Bible says that if we repent in our heart and believe on His finished sacrifice that we are saved. We are saved by grace, not by our works. The Catholic Church adds works, in that you have to do these specific things in order to be saved, whereas the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 that it is by grace that we are saved, not by works. The Bible makes it very clear that we are saved by grace. It is a free gift given by God, not because of any works we do. ”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). “And if by grace then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:6).

I Leave India and More . . .

We examined these and many other doctrines while we were in India, and as I left, I knew that I could not represent the Catholic Church any longer. I began to see that Roman Catholic dogmas which contradict Scripture are so rooted that they cannot be changed.
The Catholic charismatic movement today has gone back to these fundamental dogmas and doctrines of Rome. It maintains and holds onto these, and so that whole movement has been totally undermined. The Catholic charismatic movement is not a fresh breath of air blowing through the church, changing everything by moving it back to the Bible. Everything cannot get back to the Bible because the Catholic Church will not let it go back that far. The Catholic Church is not going to let go of the Mass and let it be a memorial as Jesus said. It will always insist that the Mass is an ongoing continuation of the sacrifice of Jesus. The Catholic Church will not let go of the dogma that little babies are reborn and receive eternal life at baptism, even though infant baptism was not practised in the early church. It did not begin until the third century, and it was not universally practised until the fifth century. The Catholic Church is not going to let go of or of all the other requirements that are put upon their people.

Now I sincerely do love Catholics and want to help them. I want to help them find the freedom of salvation and the life and blessing that comes from following the Scriptures. And I have nothing against any Catholic or any priest; it is the dogmas and doctrines that keep them bound. God Himself wants to loose them. In Chapter Seven of Mark, Jesus said, ”For laying aside the commandments of God, ye hold the tradition of men….” That is the problem we are facing right here. These traditions destroy the very Word of God because they contradict its truths.

When I left India and came home, I knew that I was facing the biggest change of my life. It was a time of great distress for me because I had really totally believed in the Roman Catholic Church and had served it for so much of my life. I knew when I came back I was going to have to leave the Church of Rome.

I am a free man because His truth has set me free. I no longer walk with one foot in the Bible and one in tradition. I walk based on the absolute authority of His written Word. I follow the Scripture as the sole source of authority for revealed truth. Jesus said, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth” (John 17:17).

My Parents and Providence

At that time, I was experiencing a great deal of suffering. I came home to my parents, both of whom were over eighty, and one night we had a serious conversation. I told them what I was going to do; I told them that I was saved by God’s grace and I was going to leave the Catholic Church for doctrinal reasons. There was a big pause and my father said, speaking very slowly, “Bob, you know, both your mother and I have been thinking the same thing.” They went to one more Mass and came home and said, “Do you know that is an altar in front of the church? An altar is a place of sacrifice.” And he said, “I see clearly now there is no more sacrifice.” Both my mother and father began reading the Bible and following it. In 1989 my mother died reading the Word of God and with the peace and assurance that she had everlasting life and was going to go to be with the Lord forever.
On June 6, 1992, God gave me the greatest gift God can give a person besides salvation, my beautiful wife, Joan. My dad passed away in 1993 with a prayer on his lips for those he left behind. He had written his own testimony to the grace of God, and while quite old had witnessed to others even in the retirement home.

The Bible — The Authority of Truth

In 1987 I left the Catholic Church formally by writing a letter of resignation and then corresponding back and forth with my former superiors because I wanted to witness to all of them. I ended up writing to Rome before I left. I did it in that manner because I wanted to witness to all of them and give them reasons why I was leaving. I wanted to follow the Bible. The Pope, who is held up as a leader in Christendom, holds onto things that contradict the Bible. It is very important to everyone to know that in the Code of Canon Law Canon 333 says, ”There is neither appeal or recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff.” That means that the Pope has absolute power and absolute authority. It is summarized in Canon 749, ”The Supreme Pontiff, in virtue of his office, possesses infallible teaching authority when as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful…he proclaims with a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held as such.”

Unfortunately, the Pope is standing for things that contradict the Bible and is now speaking very strongly against the evangelicals of South America as if they were enemies of the Bible. He complains about them and he says they are undermining the church, but the reason he is opposed to them is that they are standing for the ultimate authority of the Scriptures and they do not want to be under his authority.

The whole position of the Pope basically comes from a misunderstanding of Scripture itself in the book of Matthew. Jesus said, ”That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” We need to look carefully at this. What rock is He talking about? Just before that, Jesus had asked His disciples, ”Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” And Peter spoke up and said, ”Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said, ”Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” And then He said these words, ”…thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” The church of Jesus Christ is built upon the Rock Who is Jesus Christ. Peter had received that revelation from God, and every true believer who is born again receives a revelation of who Jesus Christ is. His shed blood on the cross took away our sins, and when we repent and trust in Him alone, we have everlasting life in Him and will live and reign with Jesus forever and ever: Christ is the foundation, the cornerstone, the Rock. The Rock is not the first Peter whom Jesus chose as His disciple with all his failings and so forth, nor is it the Pope of today. The Rock is Jesus Christ. As Peter himself said, ”…Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded” (I Peter 2:6). By His grace God has revealed that to me and I stand and build my whole faith on that rock, Jesus, tha t He died to take away my sin and to give me everlasting life.

Present Day

I am now an ordained minister, in fellowship with others of the Biblical faith. Do not follow the crowd; seek rather to enter by the narrow way. Do not be offended by the proclamation of the Gospel of God’s grace. There is no other way to be saved. Without God’s grace each one of us is lost and without hope. Of ourselves we have nothing to offer God. As one hymn says, ”In my hand no price I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.”
Repent of trying to do anything to merit heaven. Trust on Christ’s shed blood and that alone. Grace is God’s favor that gives us what we do not deserve. As God justifies you with Christ’s justification, praise Him, and do all things ”To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).

The Good News

This is the Good News I want to share with every reader. When you repent and accept that Jesus died for your sin personally on the cross, His life is yours by faith. ”…to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5). Before God, pray that you do not compromise. Ask the Lord to sanctify you in truth. His Biblical word is truth. Pray that you would stand boldly for His written Word and that alone, that you can proclaim as did the psalmist ”Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:105). In an age of compromise pray like the Lord Jesus Himself and the apostles that your final authority would be the written Word of God. Withstand all temptation to compromise, as did the Lord Himself, with three powerful words: “IT IS WRITTEN.”

Bob Bush

Immediately upon leaving the priesthood and the Catholic Church, he began working as an evangelist in the U.S.A. as well as South and Central America. In 1992 he suffered severe paralysis after a back operation. His joyful bearing of this great handicap has been in itself a testimony to the grace of God. Now as a pastor, evangelist and Christian Radio talk show host he continues to give the word of the Gospel.

(209) 847-7123

Reaching the Catholic with the Gospel By Richard Bennett

I had great difficulties as a Catholic priest in listening to evangelists in my fourteen years of searching for the true Gospel. Christian radio programs continually told me the amount of things I had to do to “accept Jesus into my heart.” Christian tracts likewise told me the amount of dedication or commitment I needed in order to make a “decision for Christ.” After an agonizing search in the face of being told what I must do to be saved, I discovered that the first thing that must be understood biblically about the Gospel is that it is “concerning Jesus Christ our Lord,” in the words of Paul in Romans 1:3. While the Gospel is proclaimed to all, it is “not” about Christ being accepted in to our hearts, it is centered on Jesus Christ the Lord, His faithfulness, His death and resurrection, and “our being found acceptable in Him” by His grace.

The Apostle Paul loudly proclaimed the Gospel as the righteousness of God manifested! He declared, “but now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.” (Romans 3:21) The righteousness of God is that perfect faithfulness to the law of God in heart and life, which the holiness of God requires. This, the Apostle enthusiastically announces, is now established—for Christ’s faithfulness (to keeping the law) is revealed! Before God’s all holy nature, sin had to be punished and true righteousness established. This has been accomplished in the faithful obedience of the Lord Christ Jesus to live perfectly under the law, which includes His perfect sacrifice on the cross. The Apostle continues, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.” (Romans 3:22) The great news is that this absolute faithfulness of Christ Jesus under the Law now rests upon the believer. He actually possesses it, wearing it as a robe, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD…for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:10) Romans 3:21-22 is showing in legal terms how exactly the true believer is identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. God has provided Christ’s righteousness to sinners who believe. Thus, when one understands that the faithfulness of Christ is vicariously applied to the sinner by a one time gracious act of God alone, (Ephesians 2:8-9) he realizes that Christ satisfied the law on his behalf. The Scriptures teach that Christ was, in a strict and exact sense, the representative Substitute for His people. By divine appointment and of His own free will, Christ assumed all His peoples’ liabilities and bestowed on them all of His perfection. In the wonderful words of the Apostle John, “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. ” (John 1:16)

How Not to Evangelize

The greatest obstacle to the Gospel is silence. By remaining silent and hoping that our Christian life will testify for itself we fail to keep the Lord’s commandment. The commandment, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature,” means to go and speak the Word also to the Catholic! The majority of Nuns and Priests and former Catholics that I know who have been saved out of Catholicism all testify to the fact that no Bible believer ever approached them about their salvation. Christ’s commandment to give the good news is a commandment, not a request!

In evangelizing a Catholic, one must be absolutely aware not to give any “process message.” This means telling him “what he must do.” The Catholic has been continually told how to do things to be pleasing to God. The first Fridays, first Saturdays, the Blue Scapular, “The little way of St Teresa,” likewise, the apparitions are filled with messages on what to do; the Catholic’s life is full of what to do. When one approaches a Catholic, it must be regarding what Christ has done, and the simple commandment to trust and believe. Using expressions such as “Accept Jesus into your heart” and “Give your life to Christ” are quite similar to what the Roman Catholics hear inside Catholicism, sometime those exact words. These messages must be completely left aside if one is to truly evangelize. It is necessary therefore that we discuss some of the wrong ways of evangelizing that are absolutely detrimental to the true Gospel.

Accept Jesus into your heart (to be saved)” is one of the most used sentences in modern Evangelical circles. This humanistic concept is not biblical. (It puts man in control of his salvation, when all along salvation is “entirely” the work of God. Salvation is not a decision of man; it is a decision of God in the eternal council of the Godhead.) The biblical concept of salvation is that by grace the believer is accepted in Christ. We do not accept Him, He accepts us. The whole theme of Ephesians Chapter 1 is summarized in verse 6, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” He is active; we are passive, i.e., He is the Potter; we are the clay. The terminology, “accept Jesus into your heart” is backwards and dishonest. It assumes wrongly that salvation (originates, starts) in the human heart. Consistently in Scripture, salvation is shown to be in Christ and in Him alone. It is not about man and what he should do, it is about Him and what He has already done. “Accepting Jesus” places emphasis on something that man needs to do. When properly reasoned out one sees that this is work’s salvation, but believing or trusting Him for what He has done is “through faith” salvation. In Him alone is that perfect righteousness that is sufficient before the Holy God to justify unholy sinners. (Romans 4:5-8, II Corinthians 5:19-21, Romans 3:22-28, Titus 3:5-7, Ephesians 1:7, Jeremiah 23:6, I Corinthians 1:30-31, Romans 5:17-19)

It is unscriptural to think that salvation begins by Christ first coming into the sinful heart of a man. It is essential to understand that natural man is totally deficient in and of himself. It is not that he is merely weak and needs stimulation; spiritually he is dead. In the words of the Apostle, “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) [The spiritually dead and ungodly person can be made acceptable to God only as he is “in Christ,” as all the teachings of the Apostles Paul, John and Peter testify.] Then, and only then, does Christ come into the human heart to sanctify the one already saved. Christ does come into our hearts as believers, thus, His Word says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” (John. 15:4) This is the whole process of sanctification in us that is not to be confused with initial salvation that is to be found in Him.

The verses below are often wrongly used to evangelize. Rather, these words are addressed to believers in the Church of the Laodiceans, “and unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write… ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne….’” (Revelation 3:14, Revelation 3:20-21) This misuse of Revelation 3:20-21, a sanctification message, not meant to teach justification, is inexcusable. Sanctification differs from justification. Sanctification is internal and experimental, while justification is objective and legal. Sanctification is gradual and progressive (mutable) whereas justification is instantaneous and immutable. Many who misuse this passage know better, yet for the sake of what they call success in witnessing they persist. Since this abuse of Scripture is so serious and soul damning its important to give examples. Very often one hears the following,

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) Jesus Christ wants to have a personal relationship with you. Picture, if you will, Jesus Christ standing at the door of your heart (the door of your emotions, intellect and will). Invite Him in; He is waiting for you to receive Him into your heart and life.”

The Lord Christ Jesus does not stand waiting to come into any sinful man’s heart, He commands all men everywhere to believe in Him. Faith in Christ alone saves, not faith in some inner process that has been subtly given in its place. The sanctification text, Revelation 3:20, spoken by the Lord to those in the Church, is totally misused. (It is no wonder that some ministries that use this message also endorse “Conversion as a process” as in Evangelicals and Catholics Together: [“Conversion is a passing from one way of life to another new one, marked with the newness of Christ. It is a continuing process so that the whole life of a Christian should be a passage from death to life, from error to truth, from sin to grace. Our life in Christ demands continual growth in God’s grace.” Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium (ECT) 1994, and other similar false Ecumenical documents]. Many are deceived upon this vital matter, sincerely believing that they have received Christ as their personal Savior while in fact they have believed in a ritual.

Catholics can be deceived upon this vital matter, i.e., sincerely believing that they have received Jesus into their hearts. These people still remain in the Roman Catholic Church believing themselves now to have done the Evangelical thing to add to their many rituals in Catholicism. It is unspeakably serious to give a deceiving salvation message.

Give Jesus control of your life (to be saved)” is another well known unbiblical approach (to evangelism). It is also man centered and involves work’s salvation. This teaching is in error because the Sovereign God of the universe controls His creation. He is the One In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Ephesians 1:11) Then there is nothing any person might think of to give God in exchange for salvation. In the words of the Apostle, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us….” (Titus 3:5) Christ Jesus Himself was the only sacrifice for sin acceptable to the Holy God, and that sin offering was accomplished completely at the cross. The sacrifice for sin is finished. A person is made right with God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by a promise (or commitment) of “controlled behavior.” Controlled behavior is a process following salvation rather than the initiating cause of salvation.

Give your life to Jesus (to be saved.)” This teaching is error for several reasons. First, it is the exact opposite that is true. “Our Lord Jesus Christ…gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” (Galatians 1:4) There is no Bible verse that says or teaches that a lost, spiritually dead person “gives” anything, not even his life, in order to be saved. Again, this humanistic concept is not biblical. Eternal life is a free gift from God. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) A person does not “give” anything for a free gift. The Lord God Almighty gives the free gift of eternal life. In the words of the Apostle John, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (I John 5:11)

Such a phrase as “Give your life to Jesus” wrongly presumes that a person has something worthy to give God. Because man is spiritually dead in sin he cannot give anything that will save him from his sins. [You cannot give what you do not control. Man, rather, is under the control of sin. And why would God want to receive a sinful man or a sinful man’s offering? Note the requirement on God’s priests in the Old Testament when they were ready to offer a sacrifice. A bloody sacrifice had to be offered for all their sins “before” they could approach a Holy God. This sacrifice was a picture of the bloody sacrifice of the Savior in atoning for sins. It is no different today. Therefore, a sinful man cannot “give” his sin-controlled life to God. He must first be reconciled to God by “trusting” fully in Christ’s atoning work on the Cross.] If the Catholic is taught to “give his life to Jesus” to be saved, he may think that he has to give his service, time, works, money, etc. and then he will be right with God. This can lead the lost person into a works Gospelthat which can never save. A person is made right with God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ aloneand nothing else. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

These are some of the humanistic ways in which modern Evangelicals give a so-called evangelistic gospel. The examples given here are to illustrate the departure from the true Gospel, which is taking place in the modern world, and to alert the Lord’s people to give the true message.

Presenting the Gospel the way the Bible does

First, all men are commanded to believe on the Lord Jesus. The Lord put the command to believe in a nutshell when He said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” (John 6:29) Likewise the Apostle Paul and Silas declared, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31) The central importance of faith was given by the Lord in the words, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (John 6:47) In a word, the Lord summarizes the situation, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.(John 3:36) The Lord Jesus Christ states clearly the reason for this, “He that believeth on Him [Christ] is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:18-19)

Having seen the command to believe, we must then realize that without God’s grace, no person can believe. The highest expression of the loving kindness of God is grace. The term denotes the very nature of the graciousness of God. (John 3:16) Therefore, the Scriptures insist, “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7) Salvation does not proceed from anything in the one witnessed to, but rather it issues forth from the kindness and mercy of God.

The Biblical tension between these two pointsthat every person is commanded to believe, but without God’s grace, a person cannot believemust be clearly evident in our witnessing to Catholics. This tension is expressed in some Scripture texts, for example, John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Both aspects are also given in the preaching of the Apostle Paul, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38) Likewise, the Apostle Peter teaches that true saving faith by which we believe is acquired through God, “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 1:1) The design of the Lord in these and other verses is to show that a person must “believe on Jesus Christ” for salvation, yet to do so he needs grace. In witnessing, we (should) show a person that to believe he must look to the Lord for (His) grace. All those that come to rest in faith on Christ Jesus are not only convinced of the evil of sin, but of the fact that the very power to believe is His gift. This is a crucial understanding in the statement, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’” A man must deny his worthless works, his egocentric efforts, his rancid righteousness, his rejected religion, and believe only in what God has done through Christ. The graciousness of the gift is highlighted by the Apostle Paul, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24) Grace is a free, undeserved gift, unmerited, and stands opposed to what is obtained by one’s own efforts or as a matter of claim.

Repentance

Believing on Christ, trusting on Him, or coming to Him, has an essentially difficult side that is often not mentioned in present day tracts and witnessing. In the Bible, however, this essential aspect of faith is often first. The Lord Jesus Christ’s message is, “…repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) He came to “call sinners to repentance,” (Luke 5:32) and He insisted that, “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”28 The risen Lord teaches in His word, “…that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations.” (Luke 24:47) The Apostle Peter proclaimed, “Repent ye therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out!” (Acts 3:19) Paul went he preached, “…repent and turn to God and do works meet for repentance,” (Acts 26:20) “…testifying to both Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21)

Repentance is so essential to saving faith that if repentance is missing a person does not have saving faith. Conviction of sin is the first work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the lost. (John 16:8) Conviction is the confirming belief that what God’s Spirit shows man about his sins is true and he deserves to be punished for them. If God is drawing that man to Himself, that conviction will force him to seek God’s forgiveness. John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Without conviction of sin, a person does not have salvation. The Scripture says, “…He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) Repentance is always part of trusting on Christ because Christ came not to save a person in his sins but from his sins. “[God] now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30)

For religious and devout Catholics the most difficult sin to repent of is that of trusting that their religion gives salvation. [This mindset is officially taught in the RC Church, “‘Believing’ is an ecclesial act. The Church’s faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith. The Church is the mother of all believers. ‘No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother’” Catechism, Para. 181.] The Lord’s strong word to the Pharisees, who likewise trusted in their religion, is most appropriate in this regard, “if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24) Since Catholics believe that their Church has all the resources of salvation they likewise, in practice, are denying His Person. To such religious Catholics the effective word of repentance can be, “If you remain in your traditions you will die in your sins. Trust on Christ and Him alone, not in any Church, and know eternal life that He alone gives.”

The Biblical Method

Biblical methodology is an important part of the Lord’s truth. The Lord’s own method of evangelising was essentially by asking questions, and by proclaiming the need to repent and believe as we have seen. The biblical method is to ask questions, as did the Lord Himself.

Some sample questions in witnessing

1. How can we sinners stand before the All Holy God?

2. What is your purpose in life? Then following their response, Before the All Holy God what is your purpose?

3. What is the central message of the Bible?

4. How can you and I have eternal life?

5. Why did the sinless Christ die on the cross?

6. God is all holy; we are all sinners. How can anyone have a relationship with Him?

7. Why did Christ say to Pharisees, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”? (John 8:24)

8. Have you read your Bible today?

Salvation is in Christ Jesus

In the Scriptures, salvation is seen clearly to be “in” Christ. For example, in Ephesians, chapters one and two, such phrases as in Christ, in Whom, in Him, in the Beloved, are spoken of 18 times. This is the same in all of the letters of Paul, the Apostle; salvation is always expressed as being in Christ. For example, the Apostle Paul’s own testimony said, “…that I may win Christ and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” (Philippians 3:8-9) In a similar way in the Apostle John’s writing, eternal life is in Christ and it is by believing on Him. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life(I John 5:20) Believing in Jesus Christ is the same as having eternal life, i.e., Jesus Christ is eternal life.)

The commandment in Scripture is to, “believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved” or in the words of Jesus Himself, “he who believes and is baptized will be saved”. Salvation being in Christ and not in the believer is of utmost importance when witnessing to a Catholic. [When we have the word “receive” as in I John 1:12, the word is explained as those who believe on Him, so that the receiving is the knowledge of Him, whereby we believe on Him. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.] Any terminology in witnessing that focuses on the human heart rather than on Christ is not effective because it is not in line with the written Word. (It causes sinful man to focus upon himself rather than the One who can deliver him from sin.) The biblical principle of salvation is that of believing on Christ Jesus the Lord alone!

Coming to Christ is initiated by the Father who draws each individual to Christ. (“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44) Salvation is accomplished by God’s grace alone. It is His free gift through faith alone. Coming to Christ (trusting in Him) is having eternal life now, and the life of the redeemed will be fully glorified in heaven. In witnessing, talking about “getting to heaven” not only changes the focus from who God is to man’s fulfillment, but it also fails to make clear that through the precious faith that is ours now as believers, we already have eternal life. Rather than talking about getting to heaven, we should say to the lost, “and this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) The actual words of Scripture should be proclaimed to Catholics, whether in the supermarket, at the hairdresser, or on the telephone; “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

The Apostle Paul’s summary of the Gospel is an example of the exact meaning of salvation.

“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Corinthians 5:21) Christ Jesus was not “made sin for us” by the infusion of vice or sin, nor is the believer “made righteous” by the infusion of holiness. The Lord Jesus was personally All Holy; yet as the substitute for the believer’s sin, He rendered Himself legally responsible to the wrath of God. The purpose of Christ’s faithfulness in all that He did, culminating in His death on the cross, was that His righteousness might be credited to the believer. God legally constituted Christ to be “sin for us.” In this sense, He was “made sin” because the sins of all of His people were transferred to Him. In like manner, God reckons to the believer Christ’s righteousness. Quite clearly, salvation is a judicial and gracious act of God whereby a believing sinner has legal right standing in Christ Jesus.

When full credit is given to God and His grace and when His powerful written Word is used in witnessing, He saves the sinner and gives a manifestation of His power, love, and mercy. All is as proclaimed by the Apostle, “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:6)

Richard Bennett of “Berean Beacon” WebPage:

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Permission is given by the author to copy this article if it is done in its entirety without any changes. Permission is also given to post this article in its entirety on Internet WebPages.

For the PDF version, go directly to Bro. Bennett’s site:

http://www.bereanbeacon.org/articles/sorted/02_Good_News_for_Catholics/Reaching_the_Catholic_with_the_Gospel.pdf

 

Thought for the Day – God’s Word

I hope you can see this photo clearly.  I took this of the beautiful California Redwoods.  Can you see the two vertical trees that have grown from the horizontal branches of this Redwood?  Isn’t that magnificent?  They are all part of the same tree!  I was simply amazed and in awe of the Lord’s handiwork.  In all of creation, there is an object lesson.  This particular picture brought today’s post to mind.

~1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

~Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

~1 Thessalonians 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

~1 Thessalonians 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

Who does one follow when it comes to the things of God?  Does one follow church leaders?  Does one follow the Bible?  What if the Bible says one thing and the church leaders say another? What does one do?

Some churches say that their church’s traditions and church fathers’ writings are additions to the word of God and more recent. Therefore, they must follow these traditions. Some believe that God’s word is the foundation only and traditions and church fathers’ writings are building blocks which must be obeyed. Hmmmm! That ought to be a red flag! (Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18)

Paul wrote several times in today’s text that we should follow God – and if we follow a church leader, that church leader must be following God and what His word commands.  In other words, we should not be following after a leader who goes against the scriptures.  The scriptures are our measuring stick.  If our church leaders say one thing and the Bible says another, we are to follow the scriptures.  Paul had the opportunity here to tell us to follow leadership even when they are wrong or even when they make up doctrine that goes against Scriptures.  However, Paul emphatically stated that we are to follow after leaders who follow after God – and God reveals His will in His word! Many churches are extremely against following the scriptures only. (Jeremiah 23:32, Matthew 22:29, Hebrews 3:10)

Read these verses and ask yourself if the church you attend falls under these guidelines.  There are fundamental beliefs in Scriptures that cannot be compromised – salvation is one of them.  What does your church leader teach about salvation?  Read your Bible – compare the two.  If there is any difference, your church leaders are not heeding Paul’s exhortation.

Thought for the Day – Day 30 – Read!!

~Galatians 2:7-8 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

It doesn’t take but a few minutes in Galatians to see that Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles and not Peter. I was raised Roman Catholic and was taught that Peter was the first pope. When one reads the Scriptures, one sees in today’s text that Peter was called to be the apostle to the Jews, not the Gentiles.  There are three more verses where Paul confirms who he was:

~Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

~1 Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

~2 Timothy 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

Just one doubt should cause a catholic to wonder what else is in the Scriptures that is contrary to what they’ve been taught!  Sadly, like the Jews, catholics would rather trust the traditions of the catholic church, the words of their church fathers and current church doctrine over what the Bible teaches.  🙁

This is just a gentle prod to whomever is reading today and has been searching!  It doesn’t matter whether one is a catholic, protestant, mormon, Jew, etc. Isn’t it better to believe God rather than a person? Forget denominations right now … it is God who will judge in the end, not being part of a certain religion. I’m not asking anyone to change religions, in case you’re wondering. I simply desire that you search the Scriptures whether these things be so (John 5:39)! On judgment day, no one will be there to hold your hand when you stand before Jesus Christ and He asks you why He should let you into His Heaven.

Peter, himself, said to obey God and not man!

~Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Think for yourself, reader, instead of relying on someone else to determine the most important decision of your life! Where you spend eternity is not something that is best left in someone else’s hands! Eternity is a LONG time to mourn a wrong decision!

Sports Time!

~Proverbs 10:23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.

The unsaved world does not think about living righteously. It is the furthest thing from their mind. In fact, and I speak from past experience, they cannot wait until the next moment they can do evil. Of course, at the time, I was not thinking that what I was doing was evil. All I cared about was that I had great pleasure in doing them!

The Word has so much to say on this subject. The wicked are explained with great accuracy in the Book of Proverbs. I did not think of myself as wicked prior to my salvation. In fact, I thought I was a pretty good person. But had I measured my life with the “yardstick of the Ten Commandments,” I would have seen that I did not measure up at all!

~Proverbs 4:16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

I took great pleasure in my sin and loved it when I could partake with others! During the work week, we would be busy planning what we could do on the weekend. Our plans always led to sin!

~Proverbs 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

I am so thankful that one day a dear friend came to visit and told me the wonderful news about salvation. It was not something I had ever heard before. My religious experiences revolved around “being good” and the burden was too great because I could never be good enough! Christ’s salvation is free but we must be willing to repent from the lifestyle we are currently living. To blab a prayer-ette and remain in the same lifestyle does not salvation bring! Jesus said to “repent and believe the Gospel,” (~Mark 1:15). There must be a repentance or there will never be any change!

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Law vs. Grace

I have a friend who has been a born-again Christian for some time. She has been led by another to follow the ways of Messianic Jews. My spirit was not right within me and I felt unrest when I first heard about her “change.” So I began researching the Messianic Jewish beliefs. Having been raised catholic, I discovered many correlations between Judaism and that of Catholicism. Catholicism bases many of its rituals to Jewish Laws. It amazes me that a born-again believer would want to have the yoke of religion’s burden once again placed upon his shoulders!

I was led to Paul’s letter to the Galatians, which is an excellent book covering this very topic. By the time I got to the third chapter, I discovered that one who lives under the Law lives under a curse.

~Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them.

Jesus redeemed us from this curse so why would we want to go back to it? He became a curse so that we no longer had to live under that curse of the Law! The Law taught us that we cannot keep it all because we are sinful, therefore, we are cursed.

~Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

What was the purpose of the Law if it was a curse then? The Law is our schoolmaster, a teacher if you will. It shows people they are sinners! When people realize they are sinners and and cannot keep the whole Law, it then points them to faith in Christ. After salvation by faith, they are not under the Law any longer.

~Galatians 3:24-25 Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

The born again believer receives the Holy Spirit at salvation, He lives within the believer and the believer is led by Him, therefore, he is no longer under the Law.

~Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law.

The Law was not given to produce righteousness. The Law was given to show man he was a sinner in need of salvation. If any righteousness can come from keeping the Law, then Christ died for nothing! Not only Judaism practices this but Catholicism as well. The rituals that are entrenched in religion add a burden that is unbearable and these Laws just cannot be kept without failure! At best, the individual who is attempting to keep the Law realizes how futile an attempt it is.

Gal 3:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain.

We live under the Dispensation of Grace, not the Law. The born-again Jew has been released from the Law to live under grace. This grace given by God helps us to live righteously. Christ brought an end to that Law and brought forth righteousness.

~Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the Law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

~Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Christians are not under the Law but under Grace – but this Grace is in no way a license to sin. This is where confusion sets in for most churches today. There seems to be a lack of understanding concerning what Grace is. Grace is not passing over our sins nor is it merely unmerited favor. Grace is a God-given ability to live righteously.

~Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

This is grace – God’s power within us to stay away from sin! Christians are called to a higher standard under grace than that of the Law. It’s not an open door to sin – it’s not a free ticket to do all things because we have an ability to do so! In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Jesus said that the adulterer was guilty of that sin under the Law but under Grace, you are guilty of adultery if you even look at a woman to lust after her (~Matt. 5:28). The Law says you are guilty of murder if you kill someone. But under Grace, if you even hate your brother you are guilty of murder (~1 Joh. 3:15). The Law says you have sinned if you bow down to an idol. But under Grace, if you are covetous you are guilty of idolatry (~Colossias. 3:5). Does this sound like the Christian has a license to sin? Absolutely not! We are called to a higher standard! Many today have misinterpreted this Grace and say it is freedom and we can do whatever we want! Do you not see how deceived this is? Is it any wonder that some Christians are looking to a more righteous form of living?

God’s people were given Laws that they could not keep because of their sinful nature. They were not given the power to keep the Law, that is, they were not given Grace as Christians have under the New Covenant.

Why would a born again Jew want to go back to the things of the Law? Why would a born-again Christian wish to convert and become a Messianic Jew? Jewish Law had more than 600 Laws they had to follow – these were not just the Ten Commandments. The Word says:

~Galatians 4:9-11 After that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid [for] you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

If we are led by the Holy Spirit are we under the Law? No. “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law” (Gal. 5:18).

Why would one want to follow after the Old Covenant when it was not faultless?

~Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Jesus Christ brought us a better covenant!

~Hebrews 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

My friend, if you are a born again Christian and have been led by others to follow after the Law, please study your Bible – especially Galatians. Paul, a Pharisee, would have been the perfect example if this were to be the life of a Christian. However, the Hall of Faith in Hebrews says Abraham, etc. lived by faith – these were all before the Law – and they were accounted as righteous. Be careful who you follow! Don’t be deceived. Christ saved us from the works of the Law to be born again under grace. We are called to higher standards than the Law and are given grace to live by those standards! Be careful!

Obedience

~1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

The religion of my youth was filled with “try too’s” and failures. As much as I tried to be good and not to sin, I failed daily. The guilt was unbearable! Granted, I found myself in the confessional trying to appease my guilt but I always turned around afterwards and repeatedly sinned. Obedience to my “faith” and its teachings was impossible! Why? Because I had not received my new nature. My inner man was not sincerely interested in walking with God or living for Him. I was not willing to repent. I merely wanted to have religion but did not want to practice it with sincerity nor did I desire true repentance. This was no different than the sacrifices offered in Samuel’s day for sin. I was no better than those that the Word is referring to in today’s text! I did my religious duties but was not obedient to the point of salvation nor was I willing to let go of my sinful ways.

This soul is no different than Cain of old whose sacrifice was of his own creation. He chose to disobey God – and the Word tells us that he never repented, even after God confronted him with his sin. God gave him the opportunity to repent, but Cain chose not to do so! Choice – do I obey God or not? Do I repent or not? It’s left up to the individual as God does not force His will on us! So how do you know whether you are practicing religion or not? The Word says that you must repent and believe:

~Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Simply believing does not do it. The devil’s believe but that does not make them Christians!

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Repentance is the key! Repenting means a turning away from the former sinful life and living for God! This is true conversion! Without repentance one will be no better than Cain with his own idea of religion and no obedience! That is why the devils will never enter Heaven! Rebellion thrives when there is no obedience!

Once we desire to repent from our wicked ways and are truly born again of the Spirit of God, our desire will be to obey God and His Word. We will not always be successful and we will be filled with remorse when we do sin. But we will not stay in that sin and will be quick to get back on the path. This daily renewal of the mind, this obedience to God’s Word, is what God wants from us.

~2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

~Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

~Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

God does not want sacrifice – He wants obedience! Putting obedience to practice daily will change that inner man. He will grow from a tiny mustard seed to a strong tree in his faith! Let your obedience speak for your actions and not the sacrifice of Cain. It is this obedience to repent and believe the Gospel that converts the soul and renews the spirit!

~Mark 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

One cannot put this verse into practice without true conversion. Without obedience, there is no repentance. Without obedience, there is no salvation. Without obedience, one is offering the sacrifices of Cain.

Keep on Keepin’ On!

~Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

Why is it so hard to find a “seasoned” Christian anymore? They are truly far and few apart. Many Christians start out well and are on fire for the Lord. But when the trials and tribulations of the Christian life set in, they are easily discouraged and give up. Some don’t give up until many years later. Why is that?

It is tribulation that seasons a Christian. As we experience each trial, we lean on the everlasting arms of Christ and we are able to see His hand in all of the details. We rest in His care and rely on Him to carry us through each one. We know that one day our trials will be over and our faith will be made sight when we see Jesus face-to-face!

~Romans 5:3-5 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

When someone gives up and stops following Christ altogether (without ever coming back), one must question whether or not his profession of salvation was true. God does not treat His children differently – He gives them all the same care and helps them all through their trials. What makes this person who has given up different from the believer? Paul states in Galatians 5:7 that they were side tracked by false teachers and, therefore, did not obey the truth. Just what is the truth? Jesus said,

~John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

God’s Word is truth and the believer needs to feed himself daily with it! When one finds himself struggling spiritually, it is because he has not delved into the Word of God and fed himself. The average Christian would not miss a meal for fear of starvation. Why then would the average Christian consider going a day without God’s Word? Is not spiritual starvation worse?

It is God’s Word that fills the believer. It is God’s Word that guides us in all truth and reveals those deceivers to us! When wrong doctrine comes along, the Christian who is daily in the Word of God will spot it immediately. He will recognize wrong teaching as counterfeit and will steer clear from it.

~Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Don’t dismay, Christian! Keep running the race and don’t give up! Don’t let daily life get the best of you. These distractions are a ploy of Satan to discourage you! There are a lot of false teachers out there. Learn to recognize counterfeit religion by comparing it to the Truth!

One Sacrifice Forever!

~Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

When something is considered perfect and that perfection is to last forever, why is there a need to find something else that will top it?  There is no need because that which is perfect cannot be perfected any further!  Is that not correct?  Then why must some religions have an offering of daily sacrifices? Let’s look to the Scriptures because the Bible has all the answers to every question! Is it any wonder that religions who depend on their own works for salvation try to turn you away from reading the Scriptures? They want you to depend on the leaders of the church to “interpret” what God’s Word says so that they can have an upper hand over your spirituality.  But the Bible totally explains what man must do to be saved.  God does not leave our eternal life in the hands of another human being, my friend.

Today’s text clearly talks about the sanctified people. These are the set apart (definition of the word sanctified) born-again, saved children of God who accepted the Blood of Jesus Christ as their one and only sacrifice and the ONLY way to Heaven. The Apostle Paul made it clear that Jesus’ blood was offered one time and that one time was perfect! How long does perfect last? According to our text, forever. Furthermore, Paul explains that despite the priest’s attempt to offer a daily sacrifice, it would never take away sins as Jesus’ sacrifice did.

~Hebrews 10:11-12 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

So tell me then, how can someone lose their salvation? If a person truly believes on the Lord Jesus and is saved according to the following verse, how then can they lose when a perfect sacrifice (which lasts forever) was offered – how can that be negated?

~Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

When one is truly born-again, his life changes.  Paul preached “our life will change” to the most carnal church in history, the Corinthian church.  If any church represents today’s church age, it is that one.  People claimed salvation but they continued in their sin.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Therefore, he does not continue to steal if he was a thief. He does not continue to live in adultery if he was an adulterer. Look at the woman at the well! (~John 4:5-26) Jesus confronted her about her sin and offered her the living water of salvation. He told her to go and sin no more. One cannot do this unless one is truly born again!

After we are born again, we no longer need sacrifices because, again, Christ’s sacrifice was perfect and forever!

~Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

Christ’s blood is sufficient. Nothing else needs to be added to His sacrifice to make it any more perfect. His sacrifice is everlasting! Nothing else is sufficient. Only God can provide a sufficient gift (Jesus Christ) which will be perfect and forever!

~2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

Would You Stay in Your Church If…

I grew up catholic and lived the “good and moral catholic life.”  However, I never had peace in my heart.  I did not feel “close” to God at all – no matter how many rosaries I said or masses I attended.  I can remember attending mass every day during Lent thinking that this would help absolve me.  But I never received any peace in the end.

When my dearest friend told me about salvation according to the Scriptures, the veil was removed from my eyes and they were opened!  I understood the Scriptures and immediately realized that I was a sinner deserving of Hell!  I knew about Jesus Christ’s death and suffering because that is taught in the catholic church.  However, I was also taught that salvation came from the church.  The catholic catechism stated this:

“The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: ‘For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.'” Pg. 215, #816

Even the 1994 catechism leaves no doubt that the Catholic church is necessary for salvation:

“…all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation…” Pg. 224, #846

Once I was born again, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was saved from eternal damnation and was on my way to Heaven.  This is not something that a catholic can know.  The catholic can only have a “hope so assurance” that he will get to Heaven.  So if the catholic church was wrong about salvation, what else was I taught that was not according to Scripture?  Over the next several posts, I will be dealing with some “doctrines” or “dogmas” where I will compare with what the Scriptures say.

If you found out that your church was preaching a doctrine that was not supported by the Scriptures, would you continue to stay? I think the biggest “doctrine” that separates catholicism from any other “Christian label” is the topic of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Why is that?  I want my readers to know that I am not catholic bashing here.  I just want to get people to think on their own instead of having someone else think for them.  So again I ask, why is that?  Why is such an important “doctrine” as Mary (according to catholicism) not even considered – not even a smidgen – in other Christian circles?  Yes, she is mentioned, but the Bible does not make her an object of worship or holy recognition.  Luke 1:41 states that she is blessed among women.  However, Proverbs 31:10-31 says that any virtuous woman can be called blessed.  Someone in Luke 11:27 tried to say that Mary was blessed and Jesus responded in verse 28 “blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”  I find that ironic, don’t you? Rather than epitomize Mary, Christ said God’s Word was what should be epitomized.

Furthermore, the Book of Acts speaks of the Bereans (Acts 17:11) who tested everything they heard by comparing it to the Scriptures.  The Apostle Paul told Timothy that all Scripture was to be studied for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).  When I was first saved, I spent countless hours reading God’s Word and was very studious – a virtual sponge thirsting after knowledge!  This is necessary for growth and understanding what God has to say to His creation.  He does not want us ignorant, my friend!

All I am trying to say here today is that if God wanted Mary to play such an important role in the church today, why is she not mentioned one bit in the Book of Acts when the church was being formed?  Why is her role as intercessor not mentioned along with Jesus in 1 Timothy?  Why is her assumption not mentioned when that of Enoch and Elijah were?  They do not play any part in church doctrine yet their ascension was documented in Scriptures.  If Mary is to have a part in church doctrine, her ascension would have been mentioned like Christ’s, wouldn’t you think?  That’s just me speculating here.

But let’s take a look at this list of the years that certain dogma came into the catholic church.  These are all very important to a doctrine, don’t you think?  Why are none of these found in Scripture?  The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is doctrine and is totally found in Scripture.  His ascension, His Holy Spirit given, the offices of leadership, the instructions on how to run the church can all be found in the Scriptures. Yet not one of those mentioned here can be verified in the Bible:

Circa 120 AD – Mary remained a virgin (perpetual virginity)

431 – Mary Worship began

600 – prayers directed to Mary (Ave Maria added in 1508)

995 – canonization of saints

1854 – immaculate conception of Mary (her sinlessness)

1950 – assumption of Mary (she never died)

1954 – Mary proclaimed Queen of Heaven

1965 – Mary proclaimed Mother of the Church

1980 – Mary proclaimed Spouse of the Holy Spirit

Today’s post will deal with the perpetual virginity of Mary taught by the catholic church. It’s not an exhaustive study – nor is it one that will have historical documents from anyone. I will simply be using God’s Word and let His Word do the convicting as it did for me.

The catholic church teaches that Joseph was a widower with children from his former marriage. God’s Word has nothing to say about Joseph being a widower. Just a thought on my part, if Joseph did have children from a former marriage, why did he not take them with him when he took the pregnant Mary for the census in Bethlehem? The whole family had to be counted. If the children stayed behind due to the exhausting trip, how the much more would Mary have needed to stay behind when she was about ready to deliver a baby! The Bible does speak of the siblings of Jesus. Matthew 13:55 states Christ’s brothers as: James, Joses, Simon, and Judas. Mark 6:3 also mentions Jesus’ sisters. Luke, the doctor, makes a distinction in 16:6 between Judas, the brother of Jesus, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.

Furthermore, Matthew 27:56 clearly says that Mary is also the mother of James and Joses. This is the same Mary as Jesus’ mother! Mark 15:40 and Mark 16:1 also confirm this fact. Mary could not have remained a virgin if she had other children. The catholic church is adamant in stating that these children were “the brethren” in general and not actual blood brothers and sisters. However, read the Scriptures and study it out as the Bereans did. Ask God about these matters. He is faithful and wants to help you understand.

~James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

If you have even one iota of doubt and you question whether you’ve just accepted what you’ve been told through the years, then please ask God for wisdom. Start reading the Gospel of John and read it through three times. Then come post a comment here and let me know what you’ve discovered.

Guidance

~John 16:13-14 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

When I hear people say that they don’t read the Bible because they need someone to interpret it for them, I am reminded of today’s verses. Why would God leave His words in a book if He did not intend for us to read it and understand it? It absolutely makes no sense!

As we instruct our children, so does God. We would not give our children misinformation nor would we keep them in the dark about what our wishes are for them. God is the perfect Father and has provided His own Spirit to live within the born-again believer. My friend, if you open the Word of God and it is dry as day-old bread, then something is wrong. If you don’t understand even the Gospels, then something is wrong.

Notice what happened in the account of the eunuch:

~Acts 8:30-31 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

~Act 8:35-38 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

The eunuch knew that as an unbeliever he needed someone to interpret the Scriptures for him. So what did Philip do? He preached Jesus Christ to the eunuch! As a result, the eunuch was gloriously saved! He no longer needed someone to guide him. He now was able to interpret the Word of God himself.

When we question what is going on around us, let’s remember to turn to the Word of God first so that we may hear from His “mouth” what He wants us to learn. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to teach us the truth – not some man’s opinion or interpretation. I have been approached by some who tell me that when I personally read the Bible, I am interpreting the Bible in my own way and not the way God intended. That is their support for depending on another for interpretation. Again, today’s verses prove those skeptics wrong.

First of all, God carefully chose His words when He called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth. As God’s born-again child, how can I read His words and interpret wrong? Granted there will be verses that I do not understand just yet but in due season, He will reveal to me their meaning. But on the most part, I can open the Bible and read and understand what God intended because I possess the Spirit of Truth!

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit will guide me into all truth and will show to me what I do not understand. James penned it beautifully:

~James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Before you go to someone for guidance, turn to God’s Word. It is the ultimate guide!

Freedom

~John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Only the Son, Jesus Christ, can set us free what the bondage of sin! Only the Son, Jesus Christ, can set us free from eternal damnation in hell. Only the Son, Jesus Christ, has paid the price for our penalty of sin! No one else! There are not many roads to Heaven, my friend. The Word says that Christ is the only way.

~Acts 4:10-12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

There is no salvation in Buddah, none in Allah, none in good works, and none in being a member of any particular church! There is not other way to Heaven but by Jesus Christ. One cannot save himself by doing good works. Your good deeds will NEVER outweigh your sin on justice’s scales? Why? Because even ONE sin will keep you from entering Heaven.

~Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

Death, both spiritual and physical, come to us because of one sin. We ALL have sinned, therefore, we all will go to Hell unless we are born again (John 3:3). It is only Jesus Christ’s blood that cleanses us from sin at the time of salvation – not Buddah’s, not Allah’s, not your own good deeds.

~1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Do not be deceived! Do not let man carry you away with their words. Use the brain that God has given to you and search His Word and learn the truth about salvation!

~John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

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Seek the Lord

~Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

~Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

~Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

~Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

The average “religious” person today believes that whatever he is doing is probably enough to get him into Heaven. However, I can think of no more poignant question to ask one’s self to turn that “probably” into “assurance.”

Do I truly seek after God?

Answering this question with all honesty will reveal whether you are sure of where you will spend eternity. If your answer is that you seek after the things of God, then you still do not have assurance.

~Luke 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

~Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Christ’s precious Holy Spirit stands knocking at your heart’s door so that He may enter in and save you from the wrath to come, which is life everlasting in the Lake of Fire. Don’t be counted with those who will be cast there:

~Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

~Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Only the righteous can enter Heaven. Our own righteousness is filthy before God. Christ alone can provide us with His own righteousness so that we may be found worthy to enter eternal life with the Father.

~Romans 3:22-23 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

~Acts 16:31a And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.

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For the Master’s Use – Day 13

Gleaning Gold

~Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

Nuggets of Truth

Faithfulness – today’s definition of this word is so diluted compared to what Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary states:

1. Fidelity; loyalty; firm adherence to allegiance and duty; as the faithfulness of a subject.

Faithfulness’ definition is dependent on the lifestyle of the person to whom it is directed.  For example, a person may be a faithful employee but be unfaithful to his spouse.  This person cannot apply the true definition of faithfulness to his life.  In my lifetime, I have seen faithfulness dwindling.  People use to be faithful in going to church, in reading their Bibles, in telling others about Christ, etc.

True faithfulness is rare.  However, there are many who will boast of their faithfulness.  Being raised a religious catholic, I was one of those who boasted of my faithfulness.  However, when I was made new in Christ, I discovered that true faithfulness produces humility.  God knows if we are truly faithful or not.  If we are, it is evident in our actions – we do not need to boast of it.

~Proverbs 25:27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

Refining the Gold

Just how faithful are we as children of the King of Kings?  Do we give up easily when the tough situations of life arise?

1 Corinthians 4:2  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

Our faithfulness can be achieved because God is faithful!  Knowing that God is faithful brings peace to the believer.  There is no need for worry, no need for concern, no need to think on things that have yet to happen.  God wishes to fulfill His plan through us.

~Deuteronomy 7:9  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

Knowing God’s faithfulness helps the believer to rest assured that we can proceed in the path that He has set before us without concern.  All we have to do is be found faithful!  We are not to be faithful in our works leaving our relationship with the Lord to suffer.  This is not the same thing.  Works are good but not at the expense of our relationship with God.  I hope that makes sense to you.  As a “faithful catholic,” I did good works believing that this would enhance my relationship with God.  However, I did so at the expense of my relationship with Him.

Now that I am born again, I must be faithful to Him and nurture my relationship with Him, just as any child would nurture his relationship with his parents.  As I seek Him and His will for my life through the Word, through His man, etc., I am nurturing that relationship.  This faithfulness in our relationship will be evident in my actions.  I do not need to boast of it – it will be self evident.

Examine yourself – why are you doing good deeds?  If you are truly born again and are a child of the King, it will be automatic – no need for boasting here.  However, if you are doing good deeds because that is what is commanded of you by your church, then you will not be found faithful by the Judge of all.  You will find yourself lacking when you stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

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Comparison Chart Between Catholic Doctrine and Scriptures

Richard Bennett, former Roman Catholic priest, has put together an excellent chart that compares what the Word of God says and what the Catholic church teaches. You will need Adobe Reader to view it.

Thy Word is Truth

Just because a church has been around for a long time does not make it right. We must be able to compare its teachings with God’s Word. There must be a measuring stick of some kind that tells us whether or not we are being deceived. We cannot act like an ostrich and put our heads in the sand for one day we will all stand before God to give an account.

~Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.