Realty By JM

Salt and Light of Philippine Realty

Are You Right With God?

What devout Catholic doesn’t want to be right with God! If you’re a Catholic, can you say without a doubt that you are right with God at this very moment?

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, I’m following the teachings of the Church on how to be right with God.” Then would you agree that those beliefs should match God’s written Word, the Bible? Perhaps your answer is “No” or “I’m not sure.” Wouldn’t you like to know for peace of mind now…and foreternity?

Whatever your answer, you may be in the position that I was in as a dedicated Catholic priest. After years of study for the priesthood in Ireland and Rome, followed by 22 years as a priest, I wasnever sure that I was right with God. As a devout Dominican, I always tried to be right with God through following and believing the Catholic church. I taught those under my care to do the same. But as sincere as I was and as hard as I tried, I never achieved any peace about being right with God.

Finally I discovered that it’s not only possible to be right with God, but that God wants us to besecure in that position! So I urge you to do what I did—compare the teachings of the Catholic Church on this vital question with the words of the Holy Bible.

Here are six important comparisons: under each topic, I present the written Word of God (in the Catholic New American Bible) alongside the official teaching of the Catholic Church (taken from the catechism).

Your eternal destiny—heaven or hell—depends on how you understand and respond to the truths in these six topics. If you feel unqualified for such a study, please draw strength from these words of Scripture: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it (James 1:5). God wants you to know the truth about knowing him!

CRITICAL COMPARISONS ON BEING RIGHT WITH GOD

                                      THE BASIS OF TRUTH

     God’s written Word of Truth               Beliefs of a sincere Catholic

                From the Bible                          From the 1994 Catechism

The Bible alone is

the standard for truth

Scripture cannot be set aside.       John 10:35

Consecrate them in the truth; Your word is truth.                                        John 17:17

…so that you may learn from us not to go beyond what is written.     1 Corinthians 4:6

Every word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Add nothing to his words, lest he reprove you, and you be exposed as a deceiver.      Proverbs 30:5-6

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.         2 Timothy 3:16-17

God must be true, though every human being is a liar.                              Romans 3:4

Truth is based on Scripture,

tradition, and the Pope

Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other.                  CCC para 80

Sacred Scripture…and [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirely the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.      CCC para 81

As a result the [Catholic] Church… 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.        CCC para 82

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.                               CCC para 891

                                     SALVATION BY GRACE

Salvation is by grace alone

through faith

They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus…  Romans 3:24

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ..                                Romans 5:17

I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing..                 Galatians 2:21

For salvation, grace is a help given through the Sacraments

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.

CCC para 1129

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.                 CCC para 1493

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.                  CCC para 2021

                                          ONE MEDIATOR

In salvation Jesus Christ alone mediates

For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human.         1 Timothy 2:5

Jesus Christ…. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved                  Acts 4:10,12

I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.           Galatians 2:21

In salvation Mary also mediates

Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation ….Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the [Roman Catholic] Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.   CCC para 969

                                         ORIGIN OF FAITH

Salvation is the gift of God

and comes by the Word of God

Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.           Acts 16:31

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8

For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him..                Philippians 1:29

Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:17

Faith comes through

the Mother Church

It is the Church that believes first, and so bears, nourishes and sustains my faith.

CCC para 168

Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother….   CCC para 169

“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.”                               CCC para 181

                                                 ICONS

God hates idolatry

You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them.                        Exodus 20:4-5

He proclaimed to you his covenant, which he commanded you to keep: the ten command-ments, which he wrote on two tablets of stone.  You saw no form at all on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire. Be strictly on your guard, therefore, not to degrade yourselves by fashioning an idol to represent any figure…

                             Deuteronomy 4:13,15-16

The Catholic Church

venerates images

The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes [forbids] idols. Indeed, the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype, and whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.     CCC para 2132

Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea ([AD]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.

CCC para 2131

                               GOD: THE ONLY ALL HOLY ONE

God is the only all Holy One

and the only source of holiness

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!” they cried one to the other. “All the earth is filled with his glory!”                        Isaiah 6:3

Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.

Revelation 15:4

There is no Holy One like the LORD; there in no Rock like our God.                  1 Samuel 2:2

I am the LORD, this is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols.

Isaiah 42:8

Mary is also the all Holy One

and the source of holiness

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.      CCC, para 2677

From the [Roman Catholic] Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary.

CCC para 2030

The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All Holy” (Panagia) and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.      CCC para 493


What Difference Does It Make?

Can you say you really know a person when you believe wrong things about that person in all the important areas of his life? Hardly! It’s even more impossible to truly know God while clinging to teachings that contradict what God saysabout Himself in the Bible. How can anyone hope to be right with God while believing the wrong things about Him!

Many former Catholics have discovered what it takes to be right with God according to God’s Word. The Bible clearly states, “For our sake [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus Christ was personally All Holy, yet as our substitute He became legally responsible for our sins. God made Christ “to be sin” by transferring our sins to Him, then punishing Him for those sins.

The consequence of Christ’s perfect faithfulness to the Father in all that He did on earth—ending in His substitutionary death on the cross—is that Christ’s righteousness is put to the credit of anyone who truly believes in God’s provision for their salvation. Being right with God is the gracious act whereby a believing sinner has Christ’s perfect righteousness credited to him! “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Christ’s resurrection from the grave proved that His mission to make our salvation possible was complete. Believe on Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness of sin and eternal life, and you will be forever secure. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13); “He who made the promise is trustworthy” (Hebrews 10:23).

If you cling to teachings and traditions that contradict and oppose the truth of the Bible, you do so at your eternal peril. Or you may do what so many have done before you—turn to God in faith alone for salvation, based on Christ’s death and resurrection. As the Holy Spirit convicts you, express to God your heartfelt belief in Christ’s death on your behalf. Then, having received the gift of eternal life, live your life in praise of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:6) and in continual thanksgiving to Him!

Richard Bennett

Copyright Literature Ministries International, 2005

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Filed under: Christianity, PLDM, Roman Catholic, Spirituality, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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