Friday, November 30, 2007

Catholic Answers

It is a pity that with more literacy and more availability of Christian literature, the same body which tried to keep the Word of God marked out only for leaders still tries to keep people locked in dependence on them.
Confession. The Roman Catholic Church’s interpretation of Holy Writ suggests that when people sin they must confess to “Priests” who are the leaders and if not must stay out of communion.
First, consider 1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things I write unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
John gives all brethren a confidence in Jesus; His sacrifice was such that He is our Priest before God, our advocate. In 1 Timothy 2:5 Paul makes this clearer, “As we all know, there is only one God and only one Mediator between us and God, the man Christ Jesus.” Clear as crystal, He is the way to the Father.
Why then does the Catholic Church prefer that men must first go through their “Ordained” and not necessarily “Anointed” priests to then advocate to Christ (and sometimes through dead saints then to Christ) who then advocates to God, the Father?! Why such a long line of intermediaries when the Word says one mediator? Is that not double work?
Consider then 1 John 2:12 “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake!” We are forgiven not for anything else but for His name’s sake! He wants you forgiven, not condemned. And whether you believe it or not, God forgave us all already of every sin, His work is done now what counts is whether you dare believe it and come out of condemnation and receive His grace.
Not only is He our advocate, He also says we are forgiven! Double assurance! Joy! Assurance in a rock of ages not man.
Since the Catholic priesthood looks so much like the olden Jewish priesthood, I must point to Hebrews. when Christ and the old priesthood are compared, Jesus comes out much better than the old Jewish scheme. Jesus, not the earthly priesthood is the way to God. Observe that in Jewish law, (Heb 10:11) every priest stands daily ministering and offering frequently the same sacrifices which can never take away sins.
However Jesus, Heb 10:12, after He had offered ONE sacrifice for sins FOREVER, sat down on the right hand of God.
So, why waste time through a priest when you have one who is more certain (not forgetting to mention the Holy Spirit who dwells in you). Confession to a priest should be voluntary not a sacrament or requirement to be forgiven. If the Church says God is always willing to forgive sins, is He only willing to forgive those ones confessed through Catholic priests? A God full of grace? Is that believable?
Now, when Jesus told His disciples that they have the ability to forgive sins or refuse to forgive sins, would you think Jesus was implying they have the right to not forgive? Was it not the same Christ who died for the sins of the whole world so that everyone could receive forgiveness? It is God’s nature to forgive, because He loves, we are in the same way expected to forgive because we have been forgiven.
It was Jesus who told the parable of the man whose debts were forgiven and then refused to forgive his debtors. This man was imprisoned again for the injustice he had done. Jesus requires us to forgive; you do not honestly have the right to not forgive.
Further, there is no distinction between small sins and big sins. Does the Catholic Church not know that Jesus’ new dispensation is holier than the old? Anger is equated to murder, and looking at a woman or man lustfully is equated to adultery! If we claim murder is grave, and yet have been angry at our brothers, we are still murderers. Jesus has taken care of the bondage of the law. Why come out of bondage to go back into it?
We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) not of ourselves- rather it is the gift of God. Confession of sins will not save anybody; the only confession that can move us from death to life is the confession that Jesus is the Lord of our lives.
Paul urges us to stand in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. What bondage is it he talks of? - The bondage of the law. The law is like a mirror which could not clean your face for you if it were dirty. We needed more, a savior. And gladly, Jesus is that savior-that liberty, that freedom to enjoy God without bounds.
Through Him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Ephesians 2:18). Going to a Priest is even going too far, the Holy Ghost lives in you, He is God’s presence in You;- I do not think He is blind or deaf.
Now, controversially. I am not a sinner anymore! Yes I was once a sinner and still have the propensity to sin but my nature has changed; John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, “Verily verily, I say unto you. Except a man be born again, He cannot see the kingdom of God.” We are born first physically, then when we accept Jesus as our Lord and savior we are born a second time, this time we receive a new Spirit. A new nature
After Adam sinned, the sin that man committed did not make him a sinner, rather a man sinned because he was a sinner. In the same way with the nature of the second Adam, Jesus, I am the righteousness of God in Christ. Sin is no longer imputed to me rather righteousness is! My nature dictates my actions not the other way round. I enjoy God more easily when I am aware He calls me righteous, not by my work but by the finished work of Jesus Christ! Rejoice with me as David did in Psalms 32:1, 2 “Happy is the man who knows that his sins are forgiven and that his mistakes will not be mentioned. Happy is the man whose wrongs the Lord does not hold against him and who is accepted as if he had never sinned.”
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