Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our sole reason for receiving everlasting life is the Lord Jesus Christ, faith is the sign of our salvation


Every time I read the Affirmations of Belief at the Grace Evangelical Society’s website I am comforted, because it reminds me what a great gift Christ has given me and all who believe in him. These affirmations also serve to put my whole life in proper perspective by explaining salvation assurance, discipleship or growing in Christ and even my practical motivation for doing so in simple and direct words.

If I could change a small portion of the affirmations, it would probably come in the first paragraph which currently (at the website listed below) reads:

“The sole condition for receiving everlasting life is faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died a substitutionary death on the cross for man’s sin and rose bodily from the dead (John 3:16-18; 6:47, Acts 16:31).

In place of the phrase “the sole condition” I would substitute “the sole reason” for receiving everlasting is "the Lord Jesus Christ.himself."

In other words, it would read: The sole reason for receiving everlasting life is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who gives us the gift of faith to believe in him, his substitutionary death on the cross for our sin and his rising bodily from the dead (John 3:16-18, 6:47, Acts 16:31).

In other words, the real “sole condition” of our salvation is Jesus. He and he alone saved us. Faith is important to us in that it acts as a sign from Jesus that we do indeed believe in him.

I am very thankful to the Grace Evangelical Society for these affirmations because they are really blessed sign posts of our faith to keep in mind and rejoice in again and again as we walk through this life. I reprint the Grace Evangelical Society affirmations in full as they appear on the website at http://www.faithalone.org/


Affirmations of Belief
Salvation

The sole condition for receiving everlasting life is faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died a substitutionary death on the cross for man’s sin and rose bodily from the dead (John 3:16-18; 6:47; Acts 16:31).

Faith is the conviction that something is true. To believe in Jesus (“he who believes in Me has everlasting life”) is to be convinced that He guarantees everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it (John 4:14; 5:24; 6:47; 11:26; 1 Tim 1:16).

No act of obedience, preceding or following faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, such as commitment to obey, sorrow for sin, turning from one’s sin, baptism or submission to the Lordship of Christ, may be added to, or considered part of, faith as a condition for receiving everlasting life (Rom 4:5; Gal 2:16; Titus 3:5). This saving transaction between God and the sinner is simply the giving and receiving of a free gift (Eph 2:8-9; John 4:10 ; Rev 22:17 ).

Assurance

Assurance of everlasting life is certainty that one is eternally secure simply by faith in Jesus. Assurance of everlasting life is based only on the promise God makes in His Word that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ alone possesses everlasting life (John 5:24; 1 John 5:9-13). Good works, which can and should follow regeneration, are not necessary for a person to have assurance of everlasting life (Eph 2:10 ; Titus 3:8).
Assurance is of the essence of believing in Jesus for everlasting life. That is, as long as a person believes in Jesus for everlasting life, he knows he has everlasting life (John 5:24 ; 6:35 , 47; 11:27 ; 1 John 5:9-13).

Discipleship (Growing in Christ)

The ultimate goal of the Holy Spirit’s work in the believer’s life is to produce spiritual maturity reflected in consistent Christlike behavior and attitudes (Gal 5:22-25; Luke 14:25-33; Col 1:23-29). Therefore, obedience to the Word of God, while not necessary for obtaining everlasting life, is the essential responsibility of each Christian (Rom 6:12-23; Heb 5:13-14; 1 Cor 2:14–3:4). However, the Bible does not teach that this obedience will be manifested in all believers. If a believer does not yield to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in his experience, failure will result, evidenced by sinful acts or even prolonged disobedience (1 Cor 10:1-13; Gal 5:16-21).


Motivation

The believer is assured of everlasting life and is thus eternally secure, since that life is guaranteed by the Lord Jesus Christ to all who believe in Him, and is based upon His substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection (John 10:28-29; Rom 8:38-39). Therefore, it is inconsistent with the gospel and with Scripture to seek to gain or keep everlasting life by godly living. The Scriptures, however, do present several motivations for obedience in the Christian life.

1. A powerful motivation for living the Christian life is gratitude to God for saving us by His grace (Rom 12:1-2; 2 Cor 5:14 -15; Gal 2:20 ).

2. Believers should also be motivated by the knowledge that their heavenly Father both blesses obedience and disciplines disobedience in His children (Heb 12:3-11; Lev 26:1-45). God is not mocked. Whatever a person sows, that he also reaps (Gal 6:7).

3. Finally, every Christian must stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, not to determine his eternal destiny, for that is already set, but to assess the quality of his Christian life on earth (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 22:12). Anticipating either reward or loss of reward at the Judgment Seat should also motivate believers to perseverance and to faithfulness to God’s revealed will (1 Cor 3:10 -17, 9:24 -27; Jas 5:8-9; 1 John 2:28 ). One’s capacity to glorify Jesus will forever be based on how faithful he was in his stewardship in this life (Luke 19:17 , 19, 22-26).


Grace Evangelical Society is firmly committed to the fundamental doctrines of the historic Christian faith. Not all of those doctrines are delineated in this affirmation of belief.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Unintended description of our world today?

This is the phrase used in a commercial for one of the latest electronic devices... though obviously unintended, it seems to describe one of the big problems that we face in these days of rampant technology.

"Getting lost in the things we love has never felt quite like this."  iPad2

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Election, an incentive to evangelism!

(A sizeable excerpt from “Election: Friend or Foe of Evangelism? By Bill Boekestein)

The Outlook, March 2007, Volume 57, No. 3, pp. 9-10 at http://www.reformedfellowship.net/articles/boekestein_mar07_v57_n03.htm

How is election an incentive to evangelism?

First, election should promote evangelism because it guarantees results. Our only hope of seeing anyone converted to Christ is rooted in His eternal unconditional election. Consider the alternative. "If the depravity of man is such that no sinner, of himself, will repent and believe the gospel, then, unless God has determined to bring some to repentance, all will inevitably perish." Without election missions would be a hopeless activity.

Isn't that what Paul might have thought as he ministered in Corinth? "God, you want me to minister in this city! What for?" If any city in the New Testament world appeared to be God-forsaken, it was Corinth. Yet Christ said, "I have many people in this city!" Imagine the perspective that this gave Paul as he ministered in Corinth for the next eighteen months.

Commenting on this passage J. I. Packer summarizes that, "...the sovereignty of God in grace gave Paul hope of success as he preached to deaf ears, and held up Christ before blind eyes, and sought to move stony hearts."

Notice how this same doctrine is cited in Acts 13:48: "And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed." Only because of election was the Apostle's preaching in Antioch (and Corinth) one hundred percent effective!

Second, election keeps our eyes humbly focused upon God in our evangelism. Paul's success in Corinth led him to rely more and more on the sovereign purpose of God to save men. When he wrote back to the Corinthians he told them that while he had planted and Apollos watered, it was God who gave the increase (I Corinthians 3:6,8). This is encouraging because there will not always be a visible increase. Thankfully, a firm belief in election also comforts us in our evangelistic "failures."

Third, election gives a sense of purpose to our mission. When Christ commissioned Paul to be an evangelist he did so by closely connecting Paul's mission with his own calling and election. "[Paul]," said Christ, "is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). Significantly, this "predestined commission" was not only given to Paul and to the other apostles. The Apostle Peter links the election of all of God's people with evangelism. He calls God's people a chosen (elect) generation. Flowing out of this election is a purpose, namely "to proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (I Peter 2:9).

When opponents charge that the doctrine of election makes evangelism unnecessary they betray an ignorance of the purpose of election. The election of the saints is their divine commission to evangelize. This doctrine affords the believer courage knowing that his name is written in the book of life. It also removes any ulterior motives from the evangelistic efforts of the Calvinist. He has no reason frenetically to engage in evangelism as if he himself is responsible for the "decisions" of others.

Finally, election is an incentive to evangelism because it intrinsically requires the use of means. God could have decided to convert sinners without means, but He has not. Instead, He has determined that "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). The Canons of Dort, a thoroughly predestinarian document, highlights the importance of the means of gospel communication already in its third paragraph (1.3). If you believe in election then you also believe in the need for Christians to communicate the gospel.

Still, the proper use of means without the blessing of God will be ineffectual. Not all of those who heard Christ Himself preach were converted. There must be more than the proper use of means. There must be a divine work of God that begins in His decree of election.

So we end where we began. It is indeed, only the unchangeable decree of election that renders the salvation of the elect completely certain. This certainty, however, far from being a discouragement is actually "the only ground of encouragement to preach the gospel to sinners." Election does not make evangelism unnecessary, rather election demands evangelism.

Mr. Bill Boekestein is a Senior at the Puritan Reformed Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a member of the United Reformed Church in Dutton, Michigan.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thoughts from Martin Luther on the Roman Catholic priesthood and mass

(The following from Luther is not to say that there is no such thing as pastors who are called to lead the flock, serve spiritual needs and to celebrate the Lord’s Supper--that's clearly not what he intended. Instead, he’s showing that the teachings of Roman Catholicism on the priesthood and the so-called sacrifice of the mass are without proof of any kind in the Bible—strictly man made. On the otherhand, the Bible is clear Who the real Priest is and what that means for all true Christians.)

First, let us deal with the priesthood. Every true Christian really ought to know that in the New Testament there is no outward, visible priest, except those whom the devil has exalted and set up through human lies. We have only one single priest, Christ, who has sacrificed himself for us and all of us with him. Peter speaks of this in 1 Peter 3:18: “Christ died once for our sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us—dead in the flesh but alive in the spirit—to God.” And Hebrews 10:14 says: “For by a single offering he has finished and perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”

This is a spiritual priesthood, held in common by all Christians, through which we are all priests with Christ. That is, we are children of Christ, the high priest; we need no priest of mediator other than Christ. “Every priest (Hebrews 5:1) is appointed to order that he might pray for the people and preach.” Thus every Christian on his own may pray in Christ (the high priest) and have access to God (Romans 5:2) as Isaiah has proclaimed in chapter 65:24: “It shall come to pass that before they call I will answer, and while they are speaking I will hear them.”…Hence it comes that Christ says in John 6:45: “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’”

…Go to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves build up on him, to be holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-5).” And a little further on (1 Peter 2:9): “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy people, dearly bought, that you may declare the might of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Let this be the first assault on the fictitious popish priesthood: how strong and mighty an assault it is, let every pious Christian judge. Here all the splendor and pomp of the popish mass comes to naught (nothing)…For the priesthood and law change together (Hebrews 7:12). If now the priesthood and the law are nothing, then the sacrifices and the works which are supposed to take place through the priest…are even less. From this it follows that the pope’s law is sheer deceit and falsehood; the papal priesthood is nothing but a mask and outward show, and the papists’ mass, which they call a sacrifice, is idolatry and a shameful misuse of the holy sacrament.

Pages 138 – 142 Luther’s Works Vol. 36 Word and Sacrament, The Misuse of the Mass

Friday, October 21, 2011

The great promoters of useless work (as described by Thomas Merton)

I’m reading an old book “New Seeds of Contemplation” by the late priest-monk Thomas Merton, and the chapter is on everyone’s need for solitude. He talks about some, apparently referring to his fellow monks and priests (“men dedicated to God”), who fight it.

But I also find that this paragraph seems to apply to a much broader audience—maybe you and me.

“We have said that the solitude that is important to a contemplative is, above all, an interior and spiritual thing. We have admitted that it is possible to live in deep and peaceful interior solitude even in the midst of the world and its confusion. But this truth is sometime abused in religion. There are men dedicated to God whose lives are full of restlessness and who have no real desire to be alone. They admit that exterior solitude is good, in theory, but they insist that it is far better to preserve interior solitude while living in the midst of others. In practice, their lives are devoured by activities and strangled with attachments. Interior solitude is impossible for them. They fear it. They do everything they can to escape it. What is worse, they try to draw everyone else into activities as senseless and as devouring as their own. They are great promoters of useless work. They love to organize meetings and banquets and conferences and lectures. They print circulars, write letters, talk for hours on the telephone in order that they may gather a hundred people together in a large room where they will all fill the air with smoke and make a great deal of noise and roar at one another an clap their hands and stagger home at last patting one another on the back with the assurance that they have all done great things to spread the kingdom of God.”

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Secret to 75-year marriage: "...Stay up and fight!"

Ray and Irma Ziff of Thousand Oaks, Calif. celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary in March of 2008. Yakov Smirnoff  interviewed the couple for a television special in 2010. He asked them the secret to their longevity and Irma piped up, "Don't go to bed angry--stay up and fight!"

I saw a few other articles where Irma offered some "ground rules" such as: Don't snap at each other and don't walk or storm out of the room during an arguement, and don't be afraid to say you're sorry.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Marriage--accepting the cross in it

(The beginning of dying to ourselves -- an excerpt from a wedding sermon...)

The wedding is only the beginning of death. If you go through this ceremony and then continue to live as you have always lived, you have not understood the first thing about this ceremony. Jonathan, if you continue the habits of a single man, you are mocking the marriage vows you take today. Jonathan, if you do not give your life to guard and support and nourish your wife, you are not keeping your vows, and God will hold you accountable. Hannah, if you live as if you were unmarried, you are not fulfilling your calling. Hannah, if you do not give your life to help and support your husband, you are not keeping your vows, and God will hold you accountable.

Nearly four decades ago, Alexander Schmemann said that the problem with modern marriage “is not adultery or lack of ‘adjustment’ or ‘mental cruelty.’” Instead, the problem is the “idolization of the family” that identifies “marriage with happiness” and refuses “to accept the cross in it.” God’s presence as a “third party” in the marriage spells “the death of the marriage as something only ‘natural,’” and directs it to its true end of the kingdom of God. In short, Schmemann argued, the glory of marriage is “that of the martyr’s crown. For the way to the Kingdom is the matyria—bearing witness to Christ. And this means crucifixion and suffering. A marriage that does not constantly crucify its own selfishness and self-sufficiency, which does not ‘die to itself’ that it may point beyond itself, is not a Christian marriage.”

From Chapter 8 in the book “A Great Mystery; Fourteen Wedding Sermons” by Peter J. Leithart

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Free offer of grace?

In no instance does the word convey any thought of a mere "free-offer of grace."

When Jesus stood and cried, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink," He no more invited the thirsty, than He invited the light when He said, Let there be light.

In the first place there is not a soul on the earth that does or can thirst for the living waters which flow from Him, until He quickens it, and makes it thirst, and when made to feel its thirst, and even when the tongue faileth for thirst, it can no more approach the living fountain than it can make a world, until Jesus applies, not the invitation, but the word, "Come unto Me." His words are spirit and they are life; and His sheep hear them, and they know His voice, and they follow Him; because they have no power or even disposition to resist their Shepherd's voice (John 10).

The calling of the saints is nowhere in the scriptures denominated an invitation. He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. If he only invited them they would have to get out themselves, or stay behind. But when he calls, the dead hear His voice, (not His invitation,) and they that hear shall live.

How would it suit the condition of a poor, lost, helpless soul, one that feels his poverty, inability and impotence, to read the word thus: The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall be invited to live, and they who accept the invitation shall live. And when He inviteth forth His own sheep He goeth before them, provided they accept the invitation.

It is perfectly in keeping with every feature of Arminianism for workmongers to talk of invitation of the gospel, because the very term implies the willing and the doing power to be in the creature. But it is neither in harmony with the doctrine of experience of the saints of God to so speak of His communications to them as to imply that He has yielded up the government to them; that He has hinged the effect and result of His communications on their will instead of His own will. It is derogatory to His character, it reflects on His wisdom, power, and grace.

Gilbert Beebe, July 15, 1846

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Charismatic and Reformed Churches preach the gospel

As we await ascension Sunday and Pentecost, I'm glad to introduce a witness from the Association of Charismatic/Reformed Churches. Learn more by going to http://www.charismaticreformed.org/about.html
An excerpt from the above website from "Our History, Purpose and Vision for the Future" by  Pastor Kirk Wetsell, Jacksonville (Arkansas) Christian Fellowship, president of the Association of Charismatic/Reformed Churches

I continued to teach and preach, and to mature in my understanding of Reformation Theology. I still, however, was resistant on some points, particularly Limited Atonement. Then, somewhere in the early 90's, I read a book that absolutely turned my theology upside down! (It has almost been like getting saved all over again!) The book was entitled The Quest for Godliness, by J.I. Packer, which introduced me to the Puritans. Nothing has been the same since! The chapter, "Saved by His Precious Blood", was especially instrumental to my theological growth. It is actually an introduction that Packer wrote for a re-release of what I believe is one of the most important works ever written, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, by Puritan John Owen.

These works by Packer and Owen were the straws that truly broke the camel's back. It was the last bit of weight that crushed any resistance I had to a full embracing of Reformation Theology. From them I learned that the Arminian way of thinking truly "limits" the Atonement! It limits it and makes it subservient to the supposed free will of man, which is thought to be able to actually trump the Sovereign will of an Omnipotent God! I also learned that while we do have a will, and we do make real decisions in our lives that have real consequences, our will is anything but free! It is in absolute bondage and slavery to sin - that apart from Grace, it has no chance of either understanding or desiring spiritual Truth!

I have further come to understand that this Limited or Effective Atonement is really "the Truth" that brings assurance and security to our hearts as Christians! We have security because the Blood of Christ was totally effective in securing all those that the Father intended it to secure. The Father, before the foundation of the world gave these "Elect" to the Son, and at that time their destiny was set. Therefore, it is Reformation Theology alone that can impart true faith through its teaching that God is Sovereign in every detail of our lives!

Another book that has been influential is No Place for Sovereignty, by R.K. McGregor Wright. In it he chronicles the history of the "Free Will" debate. I began to see that this struggle, bottom line, is simply a manifestation of the idolatry that exists in the human heart. We simply cannot bear the thought that our destiny may be in someone else's hands! Mr. Wright exposes this as the root of the current shift in evangelicalism towards the "Openness of God" theories.

As I was reading it, however, it dawned on me that this idolatry is also at the root of the "Word of Faith" heresy. In this movement there is great emphasis on our "taking of authority" and being able to control our own life and destiny. If this theology is true, my contention is, that, it actually produces fear and doubt, not faith! If I am in control of my own destiny, I'm in serious trouble! The only way this theology can produce something that even resembles faith is if we really believe we are capable of making decisions of eternal value, and that they are dependent on our will. This attitude is not however, real faith. It feeds on, and is, arrogance and pride. Again, I

Respectfully,

Pastor Kirk Wetsell, Jacksonville Christian Fellowship

Association of Charismatic/Reformed Churches

Friday, May 27, 2011

Are Catholics Christians? From a former priest

Dear Friend,

We have an investigative, new article called “Are Catholics Christians?” While one analyzes Catholicism in the light of biblical faith, one reaches an irrefutable answer; the outcome must also be carefully investigated.

Many Evangelicals will be dismayed that such a question need even be asked. Moreover, the question will be totally abhorrent to those in ecumenical movements as “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” and “Christian Churches Together.” Thus, in this article the Christian response to the effects of the incontestable answer are clearly outlined.

I ask that you respond to this important article by your prayers and by forwarding it to others.

I request also that is possible that you place it on your website.

Yours in Jesus Christ and His Gospel of grace,

Richard Bennett


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,” are the primary target of Catholic ecumenism. The goal is to draw them into the Roman Catholic fold. 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. 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.” 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,

“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.’”

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.
Then 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.” 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.”

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.” The Lord also declared the truth of God’s Word by saying, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” 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.” 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.” 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.”

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.”

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.” The Holy Spirit is fully fitted for this work because He is “the Spirit of truth.” 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.” 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.”

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.”

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.

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,” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.”

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.” 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.” 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.

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.” 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.”

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.” 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.”

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…” 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.’”

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].”

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 once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” 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.” 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.” The majestic truth is found in the Lord’s declaration from the cross, “It is finished.”

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.”

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.” 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,” “without the deeds of the law,” “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” 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.” 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.”

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.” 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 Mercy,’ the All Holy One.”

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…” 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.”

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.” 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....” 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. The second reason given by Papal Rome to justify the practice of idolatry, uses an 8th century council, it states the following,

“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.”

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 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,” “in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

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. 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 God’s written word is the great authority 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,” 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 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.” 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.”

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

John Paul II: Cult of Personality, part 2

John Paul II: Blessed in the Sight of God? (part 2)

By Richard Bennet

The Faith and Practice of John Paul II


As Pope, John Paul II believed that he had sacraments that were capable of sanctifying the hearts and souls of men and women. In the Code of Canon Law, which he revised and republished, he taught that a person is reborn by the sacrament of baptism. The following words are his words:

“Through baptism men and women are freed from sin, are reborn as children of God, and, configured to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated in the [Catholic] Church.”

Then, by the physical sacrament of Confirmation, he claimed a spiritual outpouring like that of Pentecost itself. His words are the following,

“The effect of Confirmation is a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit like that of Pentecost. This outpouring impresses on the soul an indelible character and produces a growth in the grace of Baptism.”

He then claimed that people have their sins forgiven when a Catholic priest utters the words over them, “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” These words were, in his estimation, so important that he insisted that to obtain reconciliation with God one must confess all serious sins to a priest. The exact assertion that the Pope authorized was the following,

“One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience.”

Pope John Paul II believed that by the words of consecration at a Catholic mass, the bread and wine are literally changed into the body of Christ together with His soul and divinity. His official teaching reads as follows,

“By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity.”

This official teaching of John Paul II led the Catholic priest, John O’Brien, to express his thoughts on how the consecration of bread and wine by the priest at Mass works. O’Brien wrote,

“While the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man—not once, but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows his head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.”

Such heretical teaching denies the very nature of the Incarnation. Christ Jesus became incarnate a single time, and forever, and it is never to be repeated. If what John Paul II and John O’Brien believed were true, then in the same Mass “Christ” would be de-incarnated, once the communi-cant had physically absorbed the elements and they no longer contained “Christ.” What a horrific insult this teaching is, for it both assails the Lord and deceives people.
John Paul II even claimed that power effectively flowed from the Communion element itself. Thus, his official teaching was the following, “By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins.” Consequently, John Paul II taught his people to look to “it,” a physical thing, as a means of conveying God’s grace, teaching a person to look to a physical thing as if it had supernatural power. Such a teaching comes under the eternal curse of perverting the Gospel of Christ. To propose an oral ingesting of Christ’s flesh is bad enough; however, what John Paul II taught is much worse. He declared that it “preserves us from future mortal sins.” These enticing words of human philosophy teach the age-old practice of looking to a physical substance in order to procure life.

What makes the doctrine all the more repulsive is that this very teaching, which speaks of preserving from serious sin, is itself a blasphemous sin. John Paul II’s beliefs and practices were in fact spiritually lethal hazards. He presented physical things as if they were powers themselves and necessary for salvation. Thus, it was that John Paul II proposed his church’s physical sacra-ments as the inherent means of obtaining the grace of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, his official teaching declared,

“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.”

Inculcating dependence on these physical sacraments instead of direct faith on the Lord Christ Jesus was the scheme of John Paul II. It deflected faith from the person of Christ to rituals that are claimed to be powers. He explicitly called them “powers” as he stated, “Sacraments are ‘powers that come forth’ from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving.”

True Christians see God’s power proclaimed in “the gospel of Christ… the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” each one “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Thus, John Paul II’s faith and practice were not those of a person that is blessed in the sight of God, indeed, quite the opposite.

The Character of John Paul II

The character of John Paul II was presented as resplendent in humility and compassion, earnestly going about to bring peace and unity to the world. Underneath the façade, however, was an iron fisted hold on people in terms of law. Like Pope Gregory VII in the eleventh century, John Paul II determined to build an empire by meticulous laws. He was adamant in his efforts to update the laws of the Catholic Church. Since the days of Gregory VII, Popes have seen the necessity of making inflexible church laws before attempting to control their subjects and others by compulsion, if necessary. Thus, it was in 1983 that John Paul II revised the 1917 Code of Canon Law. He added laws to those already existing, such as the following,

“The Church has an innate and proper right to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful by means of penal sanctions.”

Examination of his extra laws shows them to be even more totalitarian than those of the past. For example, in clearer terms than any cult, John Paul II decreed the necessity of suppressing one’s God-given faculties of the mind and will. His law stated,

“A religious respect of intellect and will, even if not the assent of faith, is to be paid to the teaching which the Supreme Pontiff...”

The consequences of not submitting were spelled out in his laws, “The following are to be pun-ished with a just penalty: 1. a person who…teaches a doctrine condemned by the Roman Pon-tiff….” Specific penalties are also decreed by John Paul II, “The law can establish other expiatory penalties which deprive a believer of some spiritual or temporal good and are consistent with the supernatural end of the Church.”

Imposes Greater Control over Catholic Church

John Paul II knew right well how to enforce his will in law. In few other activities was his genius more conspicuous than in this. There were no checks and balances to his absolute power and authority. In the official commentary on his Canon Law is the following,

“The Church’s governmental system is vastly different from the notion of a balance of powers. In fact, the three functions are situated in the same office.... Unlike the American system, ecclesiastical law does not arise from the will of the governed, nor does the Church’s juridical structure rely on a system of checks and balances to maintain its effectiveness...The Code promotes this system through a hierarchical structure that is more vertical than horizontal. Ultimately, the highest judge, the pope, is also the highest legislator and administrator....”

The imposition of John Paul II will was clearly seen in an article in the Catholic World Report called, “Rome Has SpokenAgain.” The article stated the following,

“‘The Pope Moves to Stamp Out Liberal Debate on Heated Issues,’ headlined the New York Times in a front-page story, warning darkly of possible ‘just punishment’ for dissenters…In another front-page story, the Washington Post introduced its coverage with a headline reading, ‘Papal Letter is Divisive, Critics Say’, nor did the Post fail to add the obligatory subheadline about how ‘Dissent on Dogma Risks Punishment....’”
Then in order to push forward John Paul II’s ecumenical agenda to snare Evangelicals, Lutherans and Anglicans into accepting Catholicism as a valid form of Christianity, the Vatican announced that an apology was to be made for the Inquisition. However, during a Mass on March 12, 2000 in which this was to be done, John Paul II merely asked pardon for wrongs committed in the past by members of the Church. The fact is, as he right well knew, that individual members of the Catholic Church did not order the systematic murder of believers and confiscation of their private property during the 605 years of the Inquisition. Rather, as Lord Acton, who was himself a Catholic, observed, it was “the Popes in particular that caused and instigated the sufferings and persecutions, involving themselves in detail even in the minute ways that believers were to be tortured.” Thus, while John Paul II appeared to be eminently pious, when one studies his laws, decrees, verdicts and deeds; he was a despot with dictatorial power.

Solemn warnings are given in Scripture concerning such veneer that conceals devious people, “… false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” As a consequence from just what is documented here, it becomes clear that the character of John Paul II was not that of a person exalted in God’s sight, and not one who knew Him. Rather, he is one to be exposed that others might not fall into the deceptions and traps which he perpetrated on the Catholic world, the Evangelical world and any who would pay attention to him.

Accursed before the Lord God

It is quite evident that John Paul II was not and is not blessed in the sight of God. What then was he? In his own estimation, he saw himself as the absolutely supreme authority. Accordingly on October 8th 2000, under his assumed title of Vicar of Christ, he consecrated the world and the new millennium to “Mary Most Holy.” By such a blasphemous act, he made mockery of the First Commandment. By these and other blasphemous official acts, John Paul II demonstrated who indeed he was. Overtly and unequivocally, he fulfilled the Thessalonians text definition of “the man of sin.” The same John Paul, who assumed to himself the titles of “Holy Father” and “Vicar of Christ,” fulfilled in an unqualified sense the definition of the Antichrist given by the Apostle John, “who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” John Paul II in taking these designations denied both the Father and the Son and again showed who he was. Even in his Catechism he took to himself Christ’s office of supreme and universal power over the whole Church. Thus he decreed,

“For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, namely, and as pastor of the entire Church, has full, supreme and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”

John Paul was the worst enemy of Christ who, under the pretense of service to Him, presumed to undermine His unique offices by blatantly attempting to usurp His position and power. Most se-rious of all is the fact that John Paul stated unequivocally that there is “an abundant exchange of all good things,” in so-called “communion with the dead.” In the same paragraph he elabo-rates, “In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others.” This in fact is a straight denial of the Gospel of Christ. There is no known record of John Paul II’s recantation of any of this. Yet the Lord’s written word, which John Paul had in his possession as part of his authority base, proclaims. “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” This must be the utterly grave and somber conclusion of the matter: before the tribunal of God’s absolute Word, John Paul II has shown himself to be accursed by his own words. With the deepest con-cern, therefore, we reach out with the true Gospel to those who live their lives under the damna-ble teaching that this man had propagated.

Bible Believers’ Response

We carefully analyze John Paul’s beliefs and practices because the Lord commands us “to contend for the faith once given to the saints.” Our stand for the true biblical faith is to be with “compassion, making a difference.” As the Lord told us, “in the world you will have tribula-tion; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” In Him we are commanded that “hav-ing done all, to stand… stand therefore.” We, therefore, have total assurance that the Lord God is with us. The certainty of the final triumph should animate our effort and encourage us in our struggle. With great confidence we do look for fruit from the work done in His name as He in-structs us, “this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith.” In the midst of spectacu-lar pageantry to surround the beatification of John Paul II, the Lord will save just as He did in the midst of the splendor of the Pope’s visit to the UK in September 2010.

Let the Gospel trumpet sound! On the authority of Scripture, let it be known that sinners are justified by grace only, through faith only, in Christ Jesus only! And to God only be the glory! The clear resounding cry is the command of the Lord Himself, “This is the work of God that you believe on him whom He has sent.” “Repent and believe the gospel.” Where there is true faith and love of the Lord, there is in the midst of all afflictions a joy unspeakable and full of glory. God is the only Holy Father, the All Holy One. His holiness is the distinguishing factor in all His essential characteristics. This is the reason why we need to be in right standing before the one and only All Holy God on the terms He prescribes. Turn to God in faith alone, in Christ alone, for the salvation that He alone gives by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, based on Christ’s death and resurrection for His own. Believe on Him alone, “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” ♦



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Saturday, April 30, 2011

John Paul II: Cult of Personality

John Paul II: Blessed in the Sight of God?


By Richard Bennett
John Paul II is to be beatified by Benedict XVI on May 1, 2011. It will be “an historic event which has no precedent,” said the director of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. The “Decree for John Paul II’s Beatification” states, “The proclamation of a Saint or of a Blessed by the Church is the fruit of putting together various aspects regarding a specific Person…. the sine qua non condition is the holiness of the person’s life, verified during the precise and formal canonical proceedings.” The communiqué announcing the beatification referred to “the great fame of sanctity which Pope John Paul II enjoyed during his life, in his death and after his death.”

Indeed, there is a great general admiration for the life and achievements of John Paul II. In terms of worldly acclaim, it is hard to find an equal to him in recent history. The Catholic world will soon officially proclaim him blessed and many others will agree. But are they right? Is John Paul II blessed in the sight of God? Is the alleged sanctity or holiness which is claimed for John Paul II in line with what the Scripture teaches?

Objective measure for John Paul II’s sanctity

The Lord underscored scriptural truth as the foundation of sanctity. He declared, “if a man love me, he will keep my word.” Consequently, it is the responsibility of the one who claims to be Christ’s disciple to keep His Word. In fact, the authentic mark of sanctity is total esteem for His Word. As the Lord describes it, “to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

Did John Paul II have an absolute respect for Scripture? No, it was the exact opposite. In his role as Pope, he published the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the first universal catechism of the Catholic Church in several centuries. In it he decreed the following,

“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.’”

This teaching of John Paul II equates Scripture with tradition. Christ Jesus continually rebuked the Pharisees because they likewise placed their tradition on a par with Scripture. Christ con-demned them because they were attempting to corrupt the very basis of truth by equating their traditions with the Scripture. John Paul II has committed the same error; thus he falls under the same condemnation. The Lord Jesus Christ clearly showed that God’s written word alone is the sole basis of truth. He proclaimed, “sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” This is why He commands nothing to be added to it nor subtracted from it. Consequently the Holy Scripture alone is the believer’s standard of truth. John Paul II attempted to corrupt this absolute basis of truth set by God alone; therefore, he is to be reckoned as a false teacher.


Reaping from his Corrupted Foundation

From John Paul II’s corrupted foundation, it was possible as Pope to esteem himself gifted with the divine attribute of infallibility. Thus he stated publicly,

“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 doc-trine of faith or morals is to be held as such.”

His claim to “infallible teaching authority,” a divine attribute, proves absolutely that he falls under the category of false teacher. It also implies he saw himself as divinely inspired. In addition to this dreadful arrogance, he also proclaimed in his Catechism, “The Pope enjoys, by divine insti-tution, ‘supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls.’” In that assertion, he has arrogated to himself the power given to the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Thus he has demon-strated actively that from his corrupted foundation, he was not only hopelessly deceived but he also propagated these deceptions world wide. Therefore, his own claims show that he did not possess any sanctity before the All Holy God; but his Catechism shows that he did possess a ter-rible pride.

Nonetheless, the Catholic world desires to show him religious veneration, or worship. Once he is beatified, John Paul will be given the title ‘blessed’ and can be publicly venerated. Many peo-ple, especially in Poland, already venerate him privately, but the ceremony will make it official. Yes, many people will willingly “venerate” or worship John Paul II, as they have been taught is morally right to do once it has been made official by the Papacy.

Ancient sin encouraged

This latest entry point into necromancy simply ensures that the deceptions John Paul II taught will continue to bear much evil fruit. In fact, officially, in his Catechism he encouraged mankind to contact the dead. He publicly taught, “Communion with the dead...Our prayer for them is ca-pable not only of helping ‘them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.’” “We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.”

Supposed communion with the dead and deification of the dead has held a prominent place in nearly every system of paganism. The dead are consulted to give help to the living, which is the alluring charm of the occult. The practice of communicating with the spirits of the departed is sinful, since the Word of the Lord forbids it: “there shall not be found among you any one...that useth divination…or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer, [one who calls up the dead].” John Paul II’s teaching on communion with the dead is quite similar to what one finds in the pages of the occult. The Lord Jesus Christ com-manded worship in prayer to God alone, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” He gave the indispensable command that communication in worship is due to God alone and must not be given to any creature. “I am the LORD thy God…Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

It was not simply that John Paul II recognized and approved of “communion with the dead.” He created more and more personages to be contacted, and did it with great speed. One news service expressed it in the following words, “John Paul II has created more saints and be-atified more people than all the popes put together. He has so far named 477 men and women as saints, and beatified 1,318 others, as it were, putting them into orbit for final elevation to the heavenly pantheon of Christian saints.”
Exchange of merit between believer and dead “saint”

During his lifetime, John Paul II continued his teaching regarding the dead by declaring that there is an interchange of holiness in expiation of sin, shared even with the dead in purgatory. In his Catechism, he officially stated,

“In the communion of saints, ‘a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.’ In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others.”

Again, John Paul II has revealed that he was not blessed; rather, he officially taught damnable heresy. Factually, an abundant exchange of all good things in Scripture is in Christ alone, “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” To assign Christ’s role to humans, including the dead ones, is a serious contradic-tion of God’s truth. God’s righteousness, which is credited to the believer at Christ’s expense, fills the believer again and again with awe, worship, and praise to the Holy God, Who Himself has provided the permanent finished work of justification for sin. To purport an imputation of righteousness outside of Him is preposterous in face of biblical truth. Jesus Himself said, “Truly truly, I say unto you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”

The assertion of an exchange of merit between the believer and dead “saints” was egre-gious effrontery against the biblical truth that God alone justifies the sinner. John Paul II simply enlarged greatly the list of officially acceptable Catholic idols. In giving glory, honor, and com-munion in prayer, which is due to God alone, to the spirits of departed humans, the Pope fla-grantly sinned against the Lord God and His first Commandment. That prohibition includes an acknowledgement that He alone is God and therefore in prayer we worship Him alone. It sets our affections entirely upon Him alone.

John Paul II, who practiced and warmly encouraged idolatry, will soon have been given his place officially among the Catholic idols. The Papacy turns a blind eye to the fact that terrible, immutable judgment awaits each and every person who dies embracing such forbidden practices. For Bible believers, this sobering consideration ought to turn the official declaration to be held on May 1st into a day of mourning. It is our prayer to God alone that those still trapped by or being enticed into these destructive pagan practices might be turned to Christ Jesus through the proclamation of the true Gospel.

(Continued tomorrow)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is Christ Alone Enough? #2

(Just a note from Jim: Miles McKee is a reformed evangelist who is currently working in his home country of Ireland. It's a pleasure to feature his writings on the gospel which is so very practical and applicable to our daily lives. He first updates us on his ministry--below--before continuing his important reminders on the gospel. Miles helps us see why the gospel truly is "good news.")

The work in Ireland is growing. We are very encouraged to see the gracious progress of the gospel. However, we are somewhat concerned in that a number of our supporters have faded away. At the same time, everything seems to have gone up in price here and the dollar is buying less. Petrol (gas) is equivalent more than $10 a gallon (or so I’m told). For this last three months right about this time, even with strict budgeting, our support money runs out at this time of the month. Please pray for us that the Lord will add some new supply for this work here. We urgently need help so that we can preach Christ crucified here.

The Wednesday Word: Is Christ Alone Enough? #2  by Miles McKee
Let me ask you a question. Are you more conscious of your sins than you are of the fact that they have already been paid for and taken away? If this is the way you think you still believe that Christ‘s work is not enough for you. As gospel driven believers, however, we need to concentrate, not on our sins, but on the fact that Jesus has paid for them. The Lamb of God has taken them all away (Jn 1:29)! The past cannot make us prisoners. Our focus is now centered on Him, the Lord Christ. It is because of His doing and dying alone that we are forgiven, accepted and redeemed! And when He purged our sins He really purged them---they and their memory are gone.

But there’s even more on which we can center our attention! Not only has Jesus taken away our sins, He has also brought us to God (1 Peter 3:18)! This is good news for we could never have found our way there in the first place. But Jesus, by His person and performance has already brought us to Him.

The good news is that, there’s even more good news. For example, He, as our Great High Priest, is at this precise moment exercising His ministry for our benefit! As our penal substitute He bought us for God and as our High Priest He brings us to God. By the ministry of His priesthood He now sustains, keeps, maintains and protects every one of His blood bought people.

Our High Priest has now given us free and open access to the Father. Someone asks, “Exactly how near has He actually brought us to the Father?” The Hymn writer answers that question when He says,

“So near so very near to God,I nearer cannot be, For in the person of His Son, I am as near as He.”

We are brought to God “in Christ”. Indeed, there is no possibility of standing before God other than by standing in Christ. That’s why Peter tells us, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Pet. 3:18).

You don’t have to feel that, just believe it. We are a redeemed people whom He has purchased for Himself so that we would be with Him forever. Jesus promised us, "that where I am, there ye may be also"(John 14:3). We, therefore, will lose this nearness to God only when Christ loses His ----and that will never happen---for He is God manifest in the flesh. We may fail, fall and flat out sin---we say this to our shame, but our High Priest retains our nearness to God! Although, the religious, self-righteous man rejects this statement, the truth remains that access to God is not founded upon any religious system based upon our performance. Our nearness to God is based on Christ and His finished performance alone.

The Father values the finished work and person of His Son and our salvation rests on the fact that God sees Him and is satisfied. It is impossible that God will ever reject the sacrifice and person of His precious Son. The Father, on the basis of Christ alone, has legally declared us both not guilty and reconciled. As repentant blood bought believers we can move past the domination of our failures because Christ alone is enough.

And that’s the Gospel Truth

Miles

Miles McKee Ministries

www.milesmckee.com

Please pray for us as we continue in a severe war here! The town of New Ross has been a grave yard for preachers over the years. There is strong spiritual opposition to us here. We are keenly aware that the powers of darkness hate the gospel and are trying to block it at every turn. We are also keenly aware that Christ is the Victor.
Let me encourage you to forward the Wednesday Word to friends and family.

As we church plant here in the Republic of Ireland, we are funded by faith in Christ Jesus. If the Lord lays us on your heart to partner with us, please send your support to
In the USA

Miles McKee Ministries

PO Box 353

Ponte Vedra Beach

Jacksonville

Florida 32004-0353





In Europe

46 Dunbrody Wharf,

New Ross,

County Wexford,

Ireland

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Miles McKee tells us that Christ alone has saved us--and not our faith. Amen.

The Wednesday Word: Is Christ Alone Enough? #1

OK, we’ve said it before, but it needs to be said time and time again, faith does not actually save, it is the object of our faith Who saves us. Our act of faith, no matter how sincere, is nothing apart from its resting place---the crucified and risen Christ . Our peace and rest cannot come from any performance or spiritual discipline (Eph 2:8-9). But deary me, we know the theory of this truth yet it doesn’t often translate into real life. It seems that we have an unceasing ability to add things to the finished work of the gospel.

To grow in the enjoyment of gospel peace we need to focus much less on our faith, repentance and prayers etc, and instead look on Him, the Lord Christ (John 3:14-15; Num 21:6-9). It is in Him that salvation lies. It is in Him and His accomplishments that we find our resting place. Looking at our faith, on the other hand, is a disastrous exercise for it ministers either to our self-righteousness (if we are satisfied with our faith) or to our sense of despair (if we are not)!
If, however, we feel that we must measure the quality and quantity of our faith, before we can rest in Christ's work, then we have, without knowing it, concluded that the work of Christ is insufficient.

Someone asks, “Do you mean that our acceptance with God comes about without any sanctification in us?” Great question! Here’s the answer: ----although we do not deny that the believer grows in grace and in the knowledge of God and will be careful to maintain good works, our acceptance with the Father is not based on any work performed within us or by us. In Christ we are already fully sanctified by the will of God for we read, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all--------For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:10, 14).

Our sins were purged and put away 2000 years ago (Heb. 1:3; 9:26). Eternal redemption was obtained for us 2000 years ago (Heb. 9:12). We can’t improve on that---and better yet all this has been done according to the good pleasure of the will of God, to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph. 1:5-8). It is God's pleasure to have a people cleansed of all sin who, in the name of Jesus, can approach Him without the slightest hesitation or doubt. The Father now sees us and welcomes us, not because of our appreciation of Christ, but because of His. He alone estimates the true value and power of the blood of the one perfect offering of Christ.

We must, therefore, learn to cease from all self-righteous attempts to perform any act, or do anything whatever, in order to maintain His acceptance and favour (Rom 4:4-5). May we always see that the one great work of the Son of God done upon the cross is sufficient (2 Cor 3:5).

As soon as the Holy Spirit shows us the entire sufficiency of the great wrath offering made for sinners (John 19:30), we will cease our attempts to act or work to gain the Father’s acceptance. Instead of trying to perform, we will receive, by faith, that which Christ has done on our behalf. The Holy Spirit neither enables us to do something which saves us nor contributes to our salvation by some deep mysterious work within; on the contrary, His work is to detach us from our own effort and performance. The Spirit will lead us to be entirely satisfied with the salvation that the Saviour has already accomplished and finished.

And that’s the Gospel Truth

Miles

Miles McKee Ministries

www.milesmckee.com

Please pray for us as we are in a severe war here! The town of New Ross has been a grave yard for preachers over the years. There is strong spiritual opposition to us here. We are keenly aware that the powers of darkness hate the gospel and are trying to block it at every turn.

Let me encourage you to forward the Wednesday Word to friends and family.

As we church plant here in the Republic of Ireland, we are funded by faith in Christ Jesus. If the Lord lays us on your heart to partner with us, please send your support to
In the USA
Miles McKee Ministries
PO Box 353
Ponte Vedra Beach
Jacksonville
Florida 32004-0353
In Europe

46 Dunbrody Wharf,
New Ross,
County Wexford,
Ireland


Pay Pal is also an excellent option for making donations. It’s easy to follow the donation link from our home page at www.milesmckee.com

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Kay Hymowitz calls us to see the "child-man"

Kay Hymowitz, a so-called “social columnist” has a book out talking about the “child-man” who is part of what she has dubbed today’s “pre-adult” culture— single people between the ages of 21 – 35.

Hymowitz has concluded that the “child-man” of today, as illustrated in the movies by Seth Rogan, Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler, is a man who wonders if he’s really needed in this world and often opts to forego even trying to compete in the workplace. Instead he often retreats into a world that is designed to take his mind off the serious stuff from electronic gadgets to sexcapades.

An AOL writer interviewed Hymowitz and asked this question:

You say that child-men aren't necessarily born out of the supposed "crisis of masculinity," in which men feel threatened by women's progress. Instead, they're kind of just opting out. But they're often ironic about it, or at least aware of what's going on. Am I getting that right?

“That's my reading of it. But my reading of the child-man is that he's not saying that ‘you @&!!x#! women have to behave the way I want you to.’ It's more, ‘I don't get what I'm here for.’ Remember that they have heard from when they were quite young that fathers were nice to have around but really optional. And they grew up observing that.

This is very, very different from the way most young men have grown into adulthood. And I'm talking historically and cross-culturally. Men knew that they had that social role to play.

And here I'm not just being descriptive, I'm being prescriptive: I think we have, as a culture, been too dismissive of the male role in the family.” --Hymowitz


Dissmissive? That's a nice way to put it.

These "child-men" and their pre-adult women friends need to hear the Gospel. Of course, it would be great if both had grown up seeing it lived, but the ravages of divorce, propelled by a contraception mentality, have made that rare, even among those who profess Christianity.

--Bro. Jim

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brother Miles McKee spreads the gospel--sing it brother, sing it!

The Wednesday Word: The Danger of our Strength
God is neither stingy with grace nor does He dispense mercy with eye drops. He’s generous and doesn’t feel put out when He has to send His Spirit to awaken the spiritually dead (Eph 2:4-6). He knows that because of our inbuilt hatred for the truth, it takes the supernatural power of the Spirit to convert us into believers. As Bonar says, “Believing is the simplest of all mental processes; yet we still need the power of God to believe from our hearts.”

Have you realized that you can neither change your heart nor do any good thing to recommend yourself to God (Romans 3:10)? It’s good for us to see the fix we’re in apart from grace. However, most of us are un-aware of the full extent of our helplessness and guilt and for this cause there is little rejoicing in the gospel. Our helplessness and guilt are far greater and far worse than we suppose (Jeremiah 17:9).

The truth is this; it is because of our warped and imperfect view of ourselves that we continually attempt to recommend ourselves to God. At times we seem very unaware of our ruin, weakness and inability and thus fail to realize that our supposed strength will actually keep us away from God.

God commands us to rest in the crucified Christ (Matt 11:28). In the light of this command, to bring something we have supposedly done for Him as a basis of acceptance is to refuse the promised rest of Christ alone. It’s sheer foolishness. Our consciences cannot be calmed by any of our works. If indeed our works have pacified our conscience, we have deceived ourselves for God is not propitiated by any of our efforts. May we put away all self-righteousness and approach the Father in the merits of Christ alone plus nothing.

Just as when we first came to Christ we came as undeserving sinners so we still cannot come to Him in our own name or righteousness----- even after many years of Christian service (Philippians 3:8-9). We continue to be saved by grace through faith, not by any efforts to induce the Father to accept us. The command to believers is to believe---to continue to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! He alone is our sufficiency. If we do not believe the record that God has given of His Son, we make Him a liar (1 John 5:10). To rest, therefore, in something other than the person and work of Christ alone is to walk in unbelief. To walk in unbelief is to believe the lie that something more needs to be added to Christ Jesus (Gal 2:18; Gal 2:16; 2 Cor 3:5)! To walk by faith, on the other hand, is to receive the truth concerning Christ and His accomplishments on our behalf.

The deceiver, the prince of darkness, would love to take us away from the hope of the Gospel. He’s a religious sort of fellow, always encouraging us to establish an alternative righteousness to that which is found in Christ alone (Gal 2:21). If then you are building your hope on your own righteousness plus the righteousness of Christ your hope is not in Christ alone---- you are yet in unbelief.

Think about it; if our guarantee of salvation depended partially on our attainments, how could we ever be certain of salvation? How could we ever be assured that we had accomplished enough to secure our salvation (Gal 3:3)? But, the work of Christ was a work undertaken for those who could not attain (Rom 5:6-8); it was accomplished for those who could not save themselves. It was a work devised for sinners, undertaken for sinners, accomplished for sinners, finished for sinners, and received by God for sinners. And God has given assurance that this work is accepted in that He has raised Jesus from the dead (see Acts 17:31).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!
Miles
Miles McKee Ministries
http://www.milesmckee.com/

Friday, February 4, 2011

How assurance fosters "decided" Christians

By J.C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool
Let us remember, that assurance (that Christ has won eternal life for us) is to be desired because it tends to make a Christian a decided Christian.

Indecision and doubt about our own state in God’s sight is a grievous evil, and the mother of many evils. It often produces a wavering and unstable walk in following the Lord. Assurance helps to cut many a knot, and to make the path of Christian duty clear and plain.

Many who hope they are God’s children, and have true grace, however weak, are continually perplexed with doubts about the way to act. “Should we do this? Should we continue a family custom? Should we make purchases from that company? What will regulate the way we dress and the entertainment we pursue? Should we dance, play cards, go to parties? But often, the true root of their problem is that they are not yet assured that they themselves are God’s children. They have not yet settled the point, which side of the gate they are on. They do not know whether they are inside the ark or not.

That a child of God ought to act in a certain decided way, they quite feel; but the grand question is, “Are they children of God themselves?” If they only felt they were so, they would go straightforward, and take a decided line. But not feeling sure about it, their conscience is forever hesitating and coming to a deadlock…

I believe we have here one chief reason why so many in this day are inconsistent, trimming, unsatisfactory, and half-hearted in their conduct about the world… In short, I have little doubt that one secret cause of “halting between two opinions” is want of assurance. When people can say decidedly, “The Lord, He is the God,” their course becomes very clear. (I Kings 18:39)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How assurance supports active Christianity (series)


By J.C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool

Let us remember, for another thing, that assurance (of eternal life with Jesus) is to be desired, because it tends to make a Christian an active working Christian.

None, generally speaking, do so much for Christ on earth as those who enjoy the fullest confidence of a free entrance into heaven, and trust not in their own works, but in the finished work of Christ. That sounds wonderful, I dare say, but it is true.

A believer who lacks an assured hope will spend much of his time in inward searchings of heart about his own state. Like a nervous hypochondriac, he will be full of his own ailments, his own doubtings and questionings, his own conflicts and corruptions. In short, you will often find he is so taken up with his internal warfare that he has little leisure for other things, and little time to work for God.

But a believer, who has, like Paul, an assured hope, is free from these harassing distractions. He does not vex his soul with doubts about his own pardon and acceptance. He looks at the everlasting covenant sealed with blood, at the finished work, and never-broken word of his Lord and Saviour, and therefore counts his salvation a settled thing. And thus he is able to give an undivided attention to the work of the Lord, and so in the long run to do more.

….None will do so much for the Lord as the believer who sees his title to the assurance won for him by Christ and is not distracted by unbelieving doubts, questionings and hesitations. The joy of the Lord will be that man’s strength. “Restore unto me,” says David, “the joy of Thy salvation; then will I teach transgressors Thy ways.” (Psalm 51:12)

Never were there such working Christians as the Apostles. They seemed to live to labor. Christ’s work was truly their meat and drink. They counted not their lives dear to themselves. They spent and were spent. They laid down ease, health, worldly comfort, at the foot of the cross. And on grand cause of this, I believe, was their assured hope. They were men who could say, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (1 John 5:19.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The many benefits of Jesus' assurance of salvation for believers

By John Charles Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool


Assurance (of eternal life with Jesus in heaven) will enable a man to praise God, and be thankful, even in prison, like Paul and Silas at Philippi. It can give a believer songs even in the darkest night, and joy when all things seem going against him. (Job 35:10, Psalm 13:8)

Assurance will enable a man to sleep with the full prospect of death on the morrow, like Peter in Herod’s dungeon. It will teach him to say, “I will both lay me down in peace and sleep, for Thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8.)

Assurance can make a man rejoice to suffer shame for Christ’s sake, as the Apostles did when put in prison at Jerusalem. (Acts 5:41.) It will remind him that he may “rejoice and be exceeding glad.” (Matt. 5:12), and that there is in heaven an exceeding weight of glory that shall make amends for all. (2 Cor. 4:17.)

Assurance will enable a believer to meet a violent and painful death without fear, as Stephen did in the beginning of Christ’s Church, and as Cranmer, Ridley Hooper, Latimer, Rogers and Taylor (English martyrs) did in our own land. It will bring to his heart the texts, “Be not afraid of them which kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” (Luke 12:4.) “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59)

Assurance will support a man in pain and sickness, make all his bed, and smooth down his dying pillow. It will enable him to say, “If my earthly house fail, I have a building of God.” (2 Cor. 5:1.) “I desire to depart and be with Christ.” (Phil. 1:23.) “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. (Psalm 63:26.)

Assurance at the point of death

The strong consolation which assurance can give in the hour of death is a point of great importance. We may depend on it, we shall never think assurance so precious as when our turn comes to die. In that awful hour there are few believers who do not find out the value and privilege of an “assured hope,” whatever they may have thought about it during their lives. Generally speaking, “hoping” is very well to live upon while the sun shines and the body is strong; but when we come to die, we shall want to be able to say, “I know.” The river of death is a cold stream and we have to cross it alone. No earthly friend can help us. The last enemy, the king of terrors, is a strong foe. When our souls are departing, there is no cordial like the strong wine of assurance.
(More to come…)