Bread of Life

BREAD OF LIFE
 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (john 6: 50)
The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded. Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.

THE REAL PRESENCE

Why does the Catholic Church believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist?
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” - John 6:48-56
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!

This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

DO CATHOLICS BELIEVE WE CAN EARN SALVATION?

Dry water and cold fire! Do Catholics believe we can earn Salvation?
In a word, no!

In fact, those who claim we do think that are making a wholly disingenuous argument based on false dilemma.

That false dilemma is that salvation is either by faith alone or by works alone.

Let's start with that with which all Protestants and Catholics agree.

1) Man is fallen.

2) Man cannot save himself.

3) Man needs a Saviour.

4) Jesus is the only one qualified for the job.

Some Fundamentalists act as if Catholics don't understand who Salvation comes from. Ironic, since they also condemn us for the fact that we supposedly spend too much time commemorating the Crucifixion - the defining act making salvation available to us. True, the Resurrection completes it and codifies it but the Resurrection is of little value to us without the Crucifixion.

Nevertheless, all Christians agree that the availability of Salvation is manifested, to the world, through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The price has been paid and the money put in the bank account. We call this part of the process Redemption.

Redemption is available to every person on earth. That is, there are sufficient funds in the bank to cover the salvation of every person.

Hebrews 9:12 he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

Yet,Catholics agree with the Apostles Paul & Peter that we must, in fact, fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,

1Peter 4:13 But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.

Are Paul and Peter suggesting insufficiency in the Sanctifying power of Christ's blood? Not at all. What they are saying is that it is not enough that Christ died for us, if we do not have faith enough to benefit from it by joining in His sacrifice.

When fundamentalists claim that Catholics believe in a weak Jesus whose blood is insufficient to forgive every sin, they are simply whistling past the grave yard. In fact, that is actually a pretty ridiculous argument. For, if I believed that Christ is not strong enough to save me, by what means could I possibly believe that I could do it?

Yet, there are actually people who have the audacity to suggest that we Catholics think we can out save Jesus because His sacrifice just wasn't good enough. Um. We don't. The sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice to save every single man, woman and child on earth is affirmed by our assent to the doctrine of Redemption. The argument; we believe in a weak Jesus, is a red herring created by clever liars to detract from what is the real question at hand.

The question of what Jesus is able to do is one on which all Christians can agree. Jesus can do anything with only two exceptions;

1) Sin
2) Contradict Himself, the Father or the Spirit.

The question of Salvation boils down to three essential other questions

1) What is Jesus required to do for us beyond that which He has already done?
2) What is Jesus willing to do for us beyond that which He has already done?
3) What, as a consequence, would be required of us?

The answer to the first question is emphatic. Jesus owes me nothing. If I lived a hundred thousand lifetimes, each a hundred thousand years long, I could not even hope to repay him for what he has already done for me. The very suggestion that I could, then, pay my way in to heaven is too absurd to even discuss. All the gold of all the world of all time wouldn't suffice as a down payment on the reparations of the wounds of even 1 mortal sin I have committed in my life. However, my indebtedness only amplifies the imperitive that I give Him all I can.

On question #2, Jesus has made clear to us that He is willing to make provision for sufficient funds, from the bank of redemption, to be made available to pay off our debt. This is where the first disagreement arises. Catholics would agree with all Protestants that this debt payment is not earned from us or deserved by us. We are totally dependent on the debt payer who earned the wages himself and is under no obligation to make them available to us.

The money that is used to settle this debt is called Grace. In fact, Catholics call this particular type of Grace - Sanctifying Grace because that's what it does.

Acts 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they

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

Romans 5:2 through whom we have gained access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:17 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.

Where we divert is that some protestants (Calvinists in particular), believe that the debt payer, rather than providing for the payment of our debt, assumes all our debts (past, present and future) as His own! This is the heretical doctrine of Salvation by imputation. Like any other false, man-made doctrine, Salvation by imputation is not without clever arguments supporting it based on Scriptures twisted and turned just the right way. Just so, it fails to withstand serious muster, as do all heresies.

Following imputation theology through to its logical end shows that it is completely untenable in a number of respects. Let's examine one.

Imputation theology fails to deal with sin. Thus, it makes it Biblically heretical. All the way back to Cain, God tells us of the struggle against sin.

Genesis 4:7

7 2 If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master."

All throughout the Scriptures, in both the Old and New Testament, Sin is shown in terms of an obstacle you must overcome. God will help you. He will forgive your sin and help you to grow stronger against it, if you are willing to try, but He will not paint over your sin and pretend it isn't there. He will not fail to punish you if you do not fight your sin.

Philippians 2:12 So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

Matthew 10:38 and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.

Luke 3:9 Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

Matthew 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Galatians 6

6:7 Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows, 6:8 because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit. 6:9 Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.

James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

Imputation theology mocks God's justice by putting God in a position of no longer punishing your sins or forgiving them. He simply pretends they are not there.
1 Thessalonians 4:6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.

Three things must be made crystal clear.
1) Sin cannot stand. God will not abide sin. Every single sin must be forgiven or punished.
2) Forgiveness of sin is impossible without sincere repentance. Repentance means to turn away. You cannot be forgiven of your sins unless you forsake them!
3) To sin, with the expectation that your sins will be forgiven or-worse yet - that they have already have been forgiven, is to only add the sin of presumption to your previous sins.

As the Apostle Paul admonishes us; be not deceived. God is not mocked.

So, imputation, as a theory is wrong and this creates the great quandary that is very much the division between many branches of Protestantism and the one faith of Catholicism. It is set up by false dilemmas that are at the very heart of question #3
What does the free gift of Salvation require of us?
Many Protestants contend that it requires nothing of us for two reasons;
1) It cannot be a free gift if anything is required in return.
2) There cannot be anything required of us because the debt is too large and we cannot pay it.

Therefore, God must pay it in full for us or it cannot be paid.

Let's tackle the first one.

Romans 4

1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." a

4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness b. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works c: 7 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."

a This is a perfect example of how context provides the answer. I actually like it when fundamentalists cite this scripture because it ends up proving the Catholic case! What does it mean "Abraham believed God?" Does it mean he jumped up and said "I believe, I believe?" Does it mean he danced in the aisles and sang songs about how much faith he had? No, it means that Abraham trusted in God even when it did not seem to make earthy sense to do so.

The fundamentalists contention, that all Abraham had to do was state his belief, only works to persuade those who are completely ignorant of Scripture. We can see, plainly, from scripture that just the opposite is true. Abraham was saved because of His faith but that faith could only be manifested - proven- by his works. His works saved him.

James 2

2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 2:22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. 2:23 Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called "the friend of God." 2:24 See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Is James refuting Paul? No! James is explaining Paul's position. Whereas Redemption is that money in the bank that Jesus deposited to pay the debt, Justification is the point at which the person's debt is paid in full. That is, the person has become justified before God.

b Imputation fundamentalists insist that man can never become justified before God. They insist that Jesus covers our unrighteousness with His righteousness the way a blood stain is covered by a coat of paint. In essence, the consequence of their theology is that your sin still exists but you get into heaven by hiding behind Jesus so God cannot see it.

Yet, in the very verse cited, we are told that man can be justified.

"man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked"

There are more examples:

Luke 18:14 I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Acts 13:39 in him every believer is justified.

Romans 2:13 For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified.

Romans 5:9 How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath.

James 2:25 And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route?

Before we can debate how a man is justified, we must, at a minimum, believe that he is. Imputation theology is finished. It is simply unworkable as an explanation of salvation. Any honest rendering of scripture contends that man - himself - undergoes a change from spiritual death to life, justifying him in the site of God. In other words, mans sin is not simply covered, it is removed.

Romans 6:4

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Ephesians 2:1

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,

Ephesians 2:5

made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.

Colossians 2:13

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

Many Protestants correctly reject the doctrine of imputation and accept that God's Grace does in fact wash away our sins and make us holy enough to be justified. This actual cleansing of the soul and removal of sin is what is called Sanctification.

Redemption provides the money, Sanctification is the payment(s) and Justification is the result. All of it comes from the beneficence of a Holy and indescribably merciful God.

Yet, let's not forget that He is also a Just God and a Sovereign God. For man to be Justified, Justice must be satisfied. Justification literally means the satisfaction of Justice. Guilt or debt, is absent.

jus⋅ti⋅fy 
 /ˈdʒʌstəˌfaɪ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [juhs-tuh-fahy] Show IPA verb, -fied, -fy⋅ing.
–verb (used with object)
1. to show (an act, claim, statement, etc.) to be just or right: The end does not always justify the means.
2. to defend or uphold as warranted or well - grounded: Don't try to justify his rudeness.
3. Theology. to declare innocent or guiltless; absolve; acquit.
4.Printing.
a. to make (a line of type) a desired length by spacing the words and letters, esp. so that full lines in a column have even margins both on the left and on the right.
b. to level and square (a strike).

Protestants who reject imputationalism and Catholics, agree that man is redeemed by Christ's sacrifice, Sanctified by His Grace and Justified by that Sanctification. Further, we agree that this occurs only because of faith and neither by the merit of man nor by the works of the law. The only things in question are how the process takes place and what man must do for it to happen.

People of good will have been confused on this question for 500 years because the disobedience of Luther and the other reformers sowed that confusion. The reformers argued that Redemption, Sanctification and Justification all occur at once and they provide Scripture that the uninformed could misinterpret to support that contention.

Romans 3:24

and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:30

And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Many Protestants who are not imputationalists, nevertheless, reject the idea that man is able to do anything to contribute to his own salvation. They cite, for example, the same words of Paul from above.

b 4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness c 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."

In reading this, it would be easy to misunderstand Paul as saying that our Justification before God has nothing to do with works- that it was by faith alone. Easy that is, if James did not directly contradict that notion.

James 2

8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,

13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.

16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.


19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

Is James contradicting Paul? No! He is explaining the very same doctrine that Paul taught. There are two sides to it and Paul emphasized the first, while James emphasized the second.

1) Those who carried out the works of the Mosaic Law (John 1:17), without faith, cannot be saved. The works of the law, under the Old Covenant were nothing less than a symbolic participation in Christ's redemptive work. When people practiced the law, for its own sake, they were condemned. Not one person can be saved by the law.

Paul is exhorting us that Jesus is the one who saves even those who were saved through the Mosaic Law because they were not saved by the Mosaic Law. In fact, not one single person was saved BY the Mosaic Law. All were saved by Jesus.

Acts 13:39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.

Salvation passed from and through Jesus, through the Mosaic Law, to the believer. The Mosaic Law was but a conduit through time by which Old Testament believers could participate in New Testament salvation. When Jesus arrived, that conduit was no longer needed and the veil in the temple was torn in two, shortly before the temple itself was razed by the Romans.

2) James, on the other hand, is giving us the other side of the equation. The Law of Moses is one thing; the Law of God is another! Do not presume that the law of God will ever pass away.

Matthew 5:18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

The same Scriptures that tell us that works without faith are dead telling us that faith without works is dead. The same scriptures that tell us that faith operates apart from works, tell us that faith is completed through works. You must demonstrate both or you, in fact, have neither.

We are not under the (Mosaic) Law, we are under grace. Grace cleanses us, strengthens us, waters us and enables us to bring forth good fruit. Earning salvation? Don't be silly. Our works don't earn us salvation any more than the works of the Mosaic Law earned Salvation.

Nevertheless, works are required for salvation. For the God who said "Thou shalt not kill" etc...,'' meant it.

So, then; the question from some fundamentalists becomes "how much work?" "What work?" As if we can quantify it. If one attempts to quantify the work, they focus on the work for its own sake and error just as the Pharisees did.

Ours is to do what we are told to do and leave the results to God. The results are not what save but the exercise of faith practiced. The exercise of works is not a contradiction of faith but the very manifestation of faith. Some protestants contend that good works are a by product of faith. Separating works from faith is like separating the water from the wet or the heat from the fire. You can have wet without water but you cannot have water without wet. You can have heat without fire but you cannot have fire without heat. Salvation is by faith. We do what we are told to prove we have faith.

You can say you have faith all you want but if your soul is dry and cold, your words don't mean much.

DEEPER TRUTH

5 comments:

a39greenway said...

BROTHERS AND SISTERS:

Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. If anyone supposes he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.
But if one loves God, one is known by him.

So about the eating of meat sacrificed to idols:
we know that there is no idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.

Indeed, even though there are so-called gods in heaven and on earth(there are, to be sure, many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is

one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist.

But not all have this knowledge.
There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols, their conscience, which is weak, is defiled.

Thus, through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother for whom Christ died. When you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their consciences, weak as they are, you are sinning against Christ.

Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin. (1 Corinthians 8:1b-7, 11-13)

Anonymous said...

A Catholic Compliance...

"For from the rising of the sun even to the going down thereof My name has been glorified among the Gentiles; and in every place incense is offered to My Name, and a Pure Offering: for My Name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord Almighty." Malachias 1:1, Septuagint

Every minute of every day, all over the world, the Catholic Church
celebrates the sacrifice of the Mass, and offers incense and a 'Pure Offering', the Holy Eucharist, the 'True Presence' of Jesus Christ to the Name of GOD.

How many other Churches comply with this command from the Lord Almighty?

How many other Churches can comply at all?

Written by Bob Stanley, October 19, 1998

a39greenway said...

The Bible Tells Us That There Is No Salvation For Those Who Do Not Believe In Its Teaching!

Romans 15:5-6,
"Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind, one towards another, according to Jesus Christ: Romans 15:6. That with one mind and with one mouth you may glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Are those 39,000 sects of one mind?

Well if they were, there would be only one, not 39,000 with all teaching the same truth and not teaching something different from one another.

More>>>

Scooter said...

I think the point that James makes for us to realize is that if we "claim" to have faith but have nothing that comes out of that faith then that kind of faith is mere words and empty-a profession rather than a possession. As others have said, "we are saved by faith alone (Paul) but our faith is not alone (James)This surely doesn't prove that you are saved partly by faith and partly by works as I hear in the Catholic system. If we add anything to the work of Christ it would be of the greatest insult to the Father who has provided the perfect sacrifice for us. As redeemed people we will out of love for Christ live out our lives in the power of the Holy Spirit which will produce the 9-fold fruit of the spirit translating into those good works that only the Lord really sees.

Michael Gormley said...

I think the point that James makes...

When thought realises that whatever it does, any movement that it makes is disorder; then there is silence.