Skip to comments.The Gospel for Roman Catholics
Posted on 11/30/2010 5:36:59 AM PST by kindred
This paper is written in two parts. The first explains and documents the Roman Catholic Church's position on justification. The second part presents the true gospel in contrast to the Catholic Church's position. If you want to go straight to the gospel presentation for Catholics, simply scroll down the page.
Because of the great emphasis on Sacred Tradition within the Catholic Church and because so many Roman Catholics appeal to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, the Word of God is often placed after the Catholic Church itself in relation to authority. Because of this, many Catholics appeal to their works, in combination with the sacrifice of Christ as a means of being justified before God. The Council of Trent expresses this plainly:
"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). Justification is the legal declaration by God upon the sinner where God declares the sinner righteous in His sight. This justification is based completely and solely on the work of Christ on the cross. We cannot earn justification or merit justification in any way. If we could, then Christ died needlessly. "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (Gal. 2:21). Because righteousness cannot come through the Law (through our efforts of merit), the Bible declares that we are justified before God by faith:
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28). "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3). "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5). "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1). "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8). However, in Roman Catholicism, justification by faith is denied.
"If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ's sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified ... let him be accursed," (Canon 12, Council of Trent). Which are we to believe? The Roman Catholic Church or God's word? Furthermore, the RCC states that justification is received not by faith, but by baptism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph, 1992, that "...justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith." This means that faith is not the instrument of obtaining justification; instead, it is an ordinance performed by a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.
Furthermore, baptism is only the initial grace along the road of justification. The Roman Catholic is to then maintain his position before God by his efforts.
"No one can MERIT the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can MERIT for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods," (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), par. 2027). The problem here is that the RCC is teaching us to "merit for ourselves and for others all the graces need to attain eternal life." You cannot merit grace. Grace is unmerited favor. Merit is, according to the CCC, par. 2006, "...the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment..." CCC 2006. This means that merit is something owed. By contrast, grace is something not owed. Therefore, the RCC is teaching contrary to God's word regarding grace and justification.
The sad result is that in Roman Catholicism, justification before God is a process that is maintained by the effort and works of the Roman Catholic. This is a very unfortunate teaching since it puts the unbearable burden of works righteousness upon the shoulders of the sinner. By contrast, the Bible teaches that justification/salvation is by faith.
"But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5). "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1). "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8). The Gospel for Roman Catholics The Gospel for Roman Catholics is the same as for anyone else and it is obtained by grace through faith in believing and trusting in Jesus alone, who is God in flesh, for the forgiveness of sins. Salvation is not found in a true church. Salvation is not found in being good. Salvation is not found in good works. Salvation is not found in a sincere heart. Salvation is not found in making up for past sins by efforts of restoration, or penance, or indulgences. You can never do enough to please God.
Because God is so infinitely holy and righteous, and because we are sinners, we are incapable of pleasing God by anything that we do. In fact, our righteous deeds are considered filthy rags before God (Isa. 64:6). You can do nothing to earn forgiveness or keep forgiveness. Salvation before God is not administered to us through an earthly priest in the Catholic church by the sprinkling of water, or giving of penance, or recitation of formula prayers. Salvation for the Christian is not kept through the effort of the person who hopes and tries and worries about being good enough to stay saved.
Such error can only lead to despair and hopelessness and a desperate and unwarranted dependence on the Roman Catholic Church as the only means by which salvation can be distributed and maintained. In this error, people far too often seek to work their way to heaven by being good, by doing what the Catholic church teaches them to do, by prayers to Mary, by indulgences, by the Rosary, and by a host of other man-made works. Remember, in the RCC, salvation is through the Church and its sacraments, not through Jesus alone, by faith alone. This is exactly how the cults of Mormonism and the Jehovah's Witnesses work who both teach that true salvation is found only in their church membership and in following the revelation and authority of their church teachers and traditions.
Are you tired of the works requirement? In great contrast to the position of the Roman Catholic Church, if you want to be forgiven of your sins, once and for all, then 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 and in nothing that you can do. Remember, your good deeds have no merit 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 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. 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 fall short of the glory of God," (Rom. 3:23). 2."For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Rom. 6:23). 3."and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed," (1 Pet. 2:24). 4."He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him," (2 Cor. 5:21). 5."If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it," (John 14:14). 6."Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29"Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls," (Matt. 11:28-29). 7."But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name," (John 1:12). 8."I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (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 the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5). 12."These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life," (1 John 5:13). A suggested prayer This suggested prayer is not a formula, but a representation of biblical principles by which you might better understand the true gospel and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior. It is not a formula derived from Sacred Tradition or Stamped with the seal of the Roman Catholic Church's approval. Its principles are derived from scripture: we are sinners; God is Holy; we cannot earn salvation; salvation is a free gift; prayer to Christ; Jesus is the only way; receiving Christ; faith; etc.
"Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner and that I have offended you by breaking your Holy Law. I confess my sins to you Lord and ask forgiveness from you and do not ask anyone else to be forgiven of my sins against you. I acknowledge who you are, God in flesh, creator, humble Lord, who bore my sins in Your body on the cross and I come to you alone and trust you alone, by faith, that you will forgive me completely of my sins so that I will have eternal life. I ask you Lord to come into my heart, to be my Lord, to forgive me of my sins. Lord I trust in you alone, in the work of the cross alone and not in any church, not in any saint, not in Mary, not in any priest, but in you alone. Lord, Jesus, I receive you, and come to you, and ask you to forgive me and justify me by faith as I trust in you alone. Thank you. If you are a Roman Catholic and have trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins, then welcome to the body of Christ. Welcome to salvation and the free gift of forgiveness in Jesus.
Next, I strongly recommend that you read the Bible regularly, talk to Jesus daily in prayer, and seek to find a church that teaches and focuses on Jesus as Lord, Jesus as Savior, and sticks to the Bible alone.
What makes you think that lying about someone else’s faith is a morally justifiable way to convince people of your opinions?
I stumbled across Matt Slick’s webpage many years ago. It was so early in his career that Catholic Answers had never heard of him at that point (even though they were both in San Diego at that time if I remember correctly). I called him on the phone - this is back when I honestly believed that anti-Catholics were not hateful liars but just mistaken and ignorant. We chatted for a while. He was brought up short on each and every Catholic doctrine we talked about. It was clear he had never actually studied any of the things he attacked. He knew nothing about what Catholics really believed or why. I was stunned. Now I realize that that attitude is just part of the mental illness that is anti-Catholicism.
Thank you wideawake. Saves me from asking the same question.
Pending a response at this time.
I should add that Slick was at least very polite, cordial. I bet he’s a great guy to have a beer with. I just could never trust him because of his bigotry.
Not even worth reading after this point. We part ways entirely here. Matt Slick believes in a God who declares sinners righteous without actually making them anything of the sort. Catholics believe in a God whose very word brings reality into existence, who justifies sinners, infuses righteousness purchased at the Cross into their souls, and makes them his adopted sons and daughters through grace.
Which one will you choose? A God who declares something righteous which isn't (making him a liar!), and leaves the sinner a "snow-covered dungheap" (according to M. Luther) ... or a God who lifts up the lowly and seats him with princes (1 Sm 2:8), a God who shares his sonship with his people by becoming their eldest brother (Rom 8:29; 1 John 3:1), a God who makes, not merely declares, his people righteous (1 John 1:9) pouring out his love within their hearts (Rom 5:5), a God who makes his people participants in his very divinity (2 Pt 1:4) through his own Body and Blood in the Eucharist (1 Cor 11:23-30).
Your choice. As for me, I would never give up the true Gospel for the unbiblical legal fiction of Protestant imputed righteousness.
I only trust the Scriptures and warn the unruly as is my duty, any church member who believes that only their denomination is the way is anathema to God the Father and His Christ. I suggest that you read the book of Galatians before you forget to.
Justified, made just in legal terms. If you break a law, frequently you can be justified in our legal system with the payment of a fine. Jesus paid our debt making us just in God’s eye.
I think you are speaking more to sanctification. Being set apart, being made more Christ like.
This rhetorical sleight-of-hand is not only wrong, not only un-biblical, but scripturally disprovable by a close reading of Simeon's prayer at the dedication of Jesus.
(He knew nothing about what Catholics really believed or why. I was stunned. Now I realize that that attitude is just part of the mental illness that is anti-Catholicism.)
The method you use above is not only a tried and true liberal democrat communist slander evil, it is also a lie.Did you ever consider that it may be you who does not understand the Words of Scripture, though you may be well versed in Roman Catholic doctrines mixed with a little Scripture teaching. The devil Lucifer uses the same tactics as the first words out of his evil mouth were “Hath God said”...
(because of his bigotry.)
Words with truth are lies.
And who gave you the authority to pronounce such an anathema?
I suggest that you read the book of Galatians before you forget to.
The rest of the Bible is just as much God's word as Romans and Galatians. Don't fall for the "Christianity" that tells you that Christ's teaching in the Gospels "wasn't meant for us in the Church Age". Paul was not crucified for you; Paul will not be your judge at the Last Day. Do you really want to stand before the judgement seat and tell the Lord Jesus, "I thought your words didn't apply to me, although I called myself a 'Christian'!"
(because of his bigotry.)
Words with truth are lies if I believe this.
If that were true, you would not use them like some book of magic spells.
You trust (lean to) your own understanding.
Precisely. Made just, not merely declared just.
I think you are speaking more to sanctification.
They are ontologically one and the same thing. Both of them are the divine life of grace entering into our souls.
Luther wrongly decided they were different, so he could teach his false gospel of "salvation by faith alone".
"Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation." Philippians 2:12
(And who gave you the authority to pronounce such an anathema?)
Is it anathema? Let us consider Galatians, written by divine revelation to His apostle to the gentiles, Paul.
Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 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. 10 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. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. 19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. 20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold , before God , I lie not. 21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; 22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: 23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed . 24 And they glorified God in me.
1 Corinthians 15 (King James Version)
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received , and wherein ye stand ; 2 By which also ye are saved , if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received , how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried , and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep . 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am : and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach , and so ye believed .