Originally appeared on Vine of Life News
If you have not read part one, I highly suggest you do, you can find it here
Next we have the parts of the Catholic penance. I will only cover 2 items here. First is saying Hail Mary’s usually 3 of them, completely unbiblical. Never did Jesus tell us to do this, if this is in truth correct, then why is it not found in the Word?
Next is the giving of Alms. Alms are actually a very good thing to give. It is simply a gift usually money to someone in need. The problem here is that this smacks of purchasing forgiveness. Just as your salvation is a free gift from God, you cannot pay for forgiveness! That is insulting to God in the highest.
Jesus Christ came to this earth to satisfy the debt of sin owed to God by every single human that has ever, or will ever live. Jesus was the only One who could pay that debt, the perfect man, able to be the sacrificial Lamb of God. We HAD to have a man as the sacrifice for sin. The first man Adam, and all others after sinned, therefore the sins of man need to be paid for by a man, that man was and is Jesus.
Why would you seek to pay for what Christ gave His life on the cross to pay for? Why would you cheapen that beautiful gift of God?
How about works? Many Catholics I have spoken to believe or did believe before they read the Word for themselves in works based salvation. If this was not taught, then why do so many believe this? Why do so many (this is not just limited to the Catholic church to be fair) believe that they will be in heaven because they are good people?
There are now many Catholic churches that now say salvation is of God only. Really? Then why is the following referenced concerning works?
- “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9).
- “If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema.” (Canon 14).
Basically this says that to be saved works are needed, along with faith in God. By the way, the meaning of anathema is: If anyone believes otherwise, they are to be excommunicated…thrown out of the church, it can also be interpreted to mean condemned to hell forever. No man has the right to condemn anyone to hell, which is God’s province.
We are saved by faith in Christ alone. The passage in James referenced to prove the Catholic point of view is taken out of context.
James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead
The above verse is pointed to, as the evidence that works are needed to be saved…not true.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
So how do we reconcile these 2 seemingly opposing verses? First we need to understand that salvation and the evidence of salvation are 2 different things.
Ephesians 2:8-9 speaks of salvation, the act of being saved by faith in Jesus Christ, who saves us by granting grace, the grace granted for your sins when you confess them to Him ask for forgiveness and for Jesus to enter your heart and be your Lord and Savior.
James 2:17 on the other hand is referring to the evidence of salvation. If you are truly saved, if you really belong to Jesus…eternal life with Him is yours, then it will show in what you do, your works. And even these were created for you to do.
Ephesians 2:10 says, For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
In other words, James 2:19 is saying that if your salvation is real, you will do good works, if it is not, you will not. It’s that simple, works do not save you, being a good person does not save you. The nicest person in the world…if this person does not know Jesus, he or she will wind up in hell for all eternity, and that is the unvarnished truth.
How could your works mean anything before God? What can you do for God that He cannot do Himself? God chooses to use us; He does not in any way need us. The belief that works are at all necessary to salvation basically invalidates the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. If our personal works could in any way accomplish our salvation, or even play a part in securing our eternal life with God…then why would God Himself come to this world and offer Himself willingly on the cross suffering horrible excruciating pain and humiliation to pay for our sins? That would not make sense.
Place your faith in Christ alone, and trust Him to save you. Your works as far as salvation is concerned mean nothing.
Pray to the Father, through the name of Christ who lives to make intercession for us, (Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them) and no one else. Praying to saints is unbiblical and wrong.
God’s richest blessings be upon you all