Friday, October 16, 2009

Saved by Grace Alone

I hope to address two specific areas where the RCC FALLS from grace; one being adding good works to faith in Christ to help secure their salvation, AND the practice of worshipping idols and having other gods before the one true, Triune God. Both of these practices and beliefs are anathema to God. Mind you, I can only touch rather lightly on these subjects, but these doctrines and practices supported and believed by faithful, practicing Catholics, leave them antithetical to and far outside the standard orthodox practices of true Christianity, also antithetical to the distinctly clear word of God, and helps further define them as a cult.

The five solas which defined the Reformation all use the word ALONE; Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), Sola Fide (by faith alone), Sola Gratia (by grace alone), Solus Christus (Christ alone), and Soli Deo gloria (Glory to God alone). Martin Luther used the word (ALONE), which became the impetus for the great Reformation, he used it solely to define, distinguish and compare the beliefs and practices of the RCC from the true word of God. This word ALONE, which the Catholic Church HIGHLY objected to (and still does to this day) helped clearly set the parameters for the ALL SUFFICIENCY of Christ. Nothing added such as our good works, otherwise we pollute grace.

“ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift OF GOD: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).” If we add the meritorious works of man to supplement the work of Christ, it becomes anathema to God, and then becomes ANOTHER GOSPEL or a DIFFERENT GOSPEL. Paul declares in Galatians; “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but {I received it} through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1: 6-12).”

Let me unpack all of this verse. The different gospel, on which God places this severe curse, was the gospel Paul was warning the foolish Galatians to be aware of (a works based gospel), also if you notice, God places a curse, not once, but twice, in these passages. The new Christians whom Paul is addressing in Galatians, were converts from paganism (Gal 4:8-9) who were now being enticed by other missionaries to ADD the observances of the Jewish law, including the rite of circumcision, to the cross of Christ as a means of salvation. These interlopers insisted on the necessity of following certain precepts of the Mosaic law ALONG with faith in Christ. They were undermining Paul's authority also, asserting that he had not been trained by Jesus himself, that his gospel did not agree with that of the original and true apostles in Jerusalem, that he had kept from his converts in Galatia the necessity of accepting circumcision and other key obligations of the Jewish law, in order more easily to win them to Christ, and that his gospel was thus not the full and authentic one held by "those of repute" in Jerusalem (Gal 2:2).

When Paul learned of the situation, he wrote this defense of his apostolic authority and of the correct understanding of the faith. He set forth the unique importance of Christ and his redemptive sacrifice on the cross, the freedom that Christians enjoy from the old burdens of the law, the total sufficiency of Christ and of faith in Christ as the way to God and to eternal life. Galatians is thus a summary of basic Pauline theology. Its themes were more fully and less polemically developed in the Letter to the Romans. In his vigorous emphasis on the absolute preeminence of Christ and his cross as God's way to salvation and holiness, Paul stresses Christian freedom and the ineffectiveness of the Mosaic law for gaining divine favor and blessings (Gal 3:19-29). The pious Jew saw in the law a way established by God to win divine approval by a life of meticulous observance of ritual, social, and moral regulations. But Paul's profound insight into the higher designs of God in Christ led him to understand and welcome the priority of promise and faith (shown in the experience of Abraham, Gal 3:6-18) and the supernatural gifts of the Spirit (Gal 3:2-5; 5:16-6:10). His enthusiasm for this new vision of the life of grace in Christ and of the uniquely salvific role of Christ's redemptive death on the cross shines through this whole letter.

The curse given by God to the foolish Galatians applies to anyone now-days, who adds good works to the ALL SUFFICIENT work of Christ on the cross. “Knowing that a man is NOT justified by the WORKS of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (Gal 2:6).”

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a DEBTOR TO THE WHOLE LAW. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are FALLEN FROM GRACE. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith (Gal 5:1-5).”

Notice particularly the words in Galatians 5:4, “Christ is become of NO EFFECT unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are FALLEN FROM GRACE.” FALLEN FROM GRACE, there it is! When the Catholic Church adds to the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross, by their good works, they have fallen from grace, and are cursed by God. The RCC’s Council of Trent condemned the Reformed doctrine of Justified by faith alone. They declared it anathema, and in so doing they have brought God’s wrath and condemnation upon the church. This IS the GOSPEL… (by FAITH and nothing added to the sufficiency of Christ), the very article on which a church stands or falls from grace.

Now back to Gal 1:6-10 to see our culpability in PLEASING MEN by calling them our brothers and sisters in Christ, PROVIDING they cling to this doctrine AND, also, the idolatry of their Mother Church.

“As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ (Gal 1:9-10).”

The word of God says plainly, if we are trying to please men, who promote another gospel, we are NOT a bond-servant of Christ. PERIOD! We think too highly of the praises of men and not of pleasing God. This shows God our TRUE allegiance to Him.

“For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God (Rom 10:2-3).”

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Cor 6:14-18).”

more later on idolatry...


Daniel Shepherd said...

Very good, sis,

I look forward to the rest.

Question that always comes to the forefront is whether or not Catholics are saved? How do we handle this?

bro Dan

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

I think, bro Dan, I could comfortably call a Catholic a brother or a sister only when they "come out of her" and repent of the idolatry and the saved by works plus grace theology.

Just my thoughts!

I know the blog has been slow, I hope you are still interested, if not, I will continue on.

YSIC Always,
Mary :)