The Gospel Rejected

A few months ago I sent a little paper that explained the gospel of Jesus Christ to a gentleman who lives in a little beach community where I spent many a summer day. The gentleman, whom I will call Tom, is a faithful Roman Catholic. Always goes to Mass, prays the rosary and does what the priests tell him to do. Something he has done religiously for nearly 70 years. Yet with all his faithfulness and devotion to Mother Rome he is dead in trespasses and sin and does not even know the simple gospel message or power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Instead all he has is rote, ritualistic, dead religion. Dead for it has no power to save, no power to change a life, and no power to raise from the grave. A hard reality that his life bears abundant witness to.

The little tract I sent is from Richard Bennent at Berean Beacon. It is compassionately written where it compares the teachings of Rome verses those of the Bible. No chaff, just the wheat from the Scriptures pointing the reader not to councils or encyclicals but rather the Bible; that is, the Catholic Bible. Truth hidden from the eyes of most Catholics as it is obscured under the veil of ceremony and tradition. Yet even so, by God’s grace truth can be found in the Bibles that most Catholics have in their homes. Hence, I sent the tract to help my friend, if God so willed, to discover such truth.

The reply I got is tragically characteristic of those who have religion but not salvation. Something endemic with Roman Catholics but certainly not limited to them. His response speaks for itself where I have added a few words in brackets [ ] to help in clarifying what he was trying to convey. Everything else is word for word.

Yes, I [was] reading [the] little paper Bible [you sent which was] very nice but I always go to church every Saturday 5:00 P.M. or Sunday 8:00 A.M. I never reading Bible book by the pew, I used my rosaries all the time so I set down [in the] chair, I prayer [i.e. pray] 15 minutes and 20 minutes with my prayer book Bible every morning. I[t] was my First Holy Communion little prayer book [from] 1941 – 67 years ago I used prayer book. (bold added)

Really no commentary is needed for his response speaks for itself. Nothing about Jesus. Nothing about how he repented from sin and believed the gospel (Mark 1:15). Nothing about how he takes up his cross daily and follows Jesus (Matthew 16:24-25) living not by bread alone but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Nothing about how he was buried with Christ and is now raised from the dead walking in newness of life (Romans 6:4) as a new creature where old things have passed away and all things are now new (II Corinthians 5:17). Nothing because these truths are as foreign to him as Greek is.

So it goes for Tom. What about you? Do you have a similar defense when someone presents the gospel to you? Do you stand strong on your religious faithfulness and devotion to your religious traditions, and if a Catholic, to Mother Rome? Are you also faithful in praying the rosary and reading prayer books? Do you faithfully attend Mass/Church and perform all of the requisite bowings and kneelings and crossings and standings? Is this the extent of what Jesus “did” for you? Is this the power of the gospel and the risen Lord in your life?

If so, you would do well to examine yourself (II Corinthians 13:5) for you have nothing more than religion and certainly not the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ or the requisite new birth (John 3:7). A religion which enslave you to tradition and ceremony just as it does Tom and just as it did unto the Pharisees who heard Jesus’ words yet rejected them in order to hold to their traditions.

This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:6-9)

This day you can be free to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23) or you can stay in bondage to the traditions of men. You can continue to trust in your religious devotion to make you right with God as Tom is doing, or you can cry out to God that he have mercy on you a sinner. The latter God will justify, the former will he will not.

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14)

Choose this day reader whom you will serve, God or Rome, for you cannot hold to the traditions of Rome and keep the commandments of God.

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Praying to Mary

The call is out to all Roman Catholics to contact their travel agents, pack their bags and head to the south of France to visit Lourdes. Here, you can not only escape the cold of winter that most in the northern hemisphere are experiencing now, but you can get the added benefit of “…be[ing] able to gain a Plenary Indulgence daily …which may also be applied, by way of suffrage, to the souls of the faithful in Purgatory.”(1)

That’s right. Take a trip to Lourdes between now and Dec 8, 2008, bow to a Marian image and you will receive a “get out of jail” pass from the Pope to lessen your days or years in the fires of purgatory.

And, if you cannot get to France worry not for you too can get in on the taking from the treasury of merit if between February 2-11 you “…visit a blessed image of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes solemnly displayed for public veneration in any church, oratory, grotto or suitable place.”(2) But, please keep a close eye on your watch and the calendar because if you are a day early or a day late, sorry, no indulgences for you.

Tis true that I write with a tone of sarcasm and if my tone angers Catholics this may well be good. Because you must know that neither a trip taken to Lourdes or one to a local Marian shrine around the corner will not merit you anything from the Living God except his wrath and judgment. Wrath and judgment because first you are trusting in vain works of the flesh to remit sins and their penalty when no such work can ever do such a thing. Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ can remit sin and pay the price in full when applied in faith to the heart of a repentant sinner.

And second, you are looking to Mary and not Jesus as you worship the creature instead of the Creator. Mary is created, Jesus is Creator. Jesus is alive and lives forever more, Mary is dead and buried and she is not interceding for you contrary to all you have been taught. Praying the rosary, pilgrimages to idolatrous shrines, or bowing to statues in your home or church building will leave you dead in your sins.

Many a Catholic knows this because your conscience bears witness to the truth that for all your devotion to Mary and Rome your heart is still black with sin. You still are plagued by guilt, you still are in bondage to sin both in deed and thought, and you still are no different today than you were yesterday. Always believing that this pilgrimage, this recital of the rosary, this Mass, or whatever the work is will grant you the peace you so desperately are working towards achieving.

Yet none of these works will grant you what you seek for, and unless you repent, you will die in your sins. And no such cleansing from these sins will be found after death because “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) Next stop after death is not purgatory as no such place exists, but rather the great white throne judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:11-15 which you will appear before after you are resurrected from the dead (see John 5:28-29). And unless you are found in Christ you will be cast into the lake of fire which is the second death.

This is why the Scriptures declare that “…now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2); today, not tomorrow and not when you die. The Scriptures also declare that there is a treasury of grace but it does not flow from Rome or any church but from the Father through Jesus Christ. A treasury where grace cannot be dispensed by the Pope or any man nor can one receive from this treasury per vain works such as pilgrimages to shrines. Instead, grace is given as a free gift from God per his will as he, not the Pope, is the giver of gifts unto men.

To this, the honest Catholic may ask the question in retort, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28) To this I will reply just as Jesus did unto those who asked him this very question where he said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29)

Believe on the Lord Jesus, repent from your sin, and turn to the Living God for salvation through Jesus and not Mary or “mother” Rome.

(1) http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/tribunals/apost_penit/documents/rc_trib_appen_doc_
20071121_decreto-lourdes_en.html
(2) Ibid.

Much I would love to write on the subject of the true gospel but time right now fails me so this will be a short post. My life and coming to Jesus Christ was marked by a mighty deliverance from my belief in a false gospel to a unwavering belief on the true. A gospel that had no power in my life to change me or make me a new creature. Instead, what I had was dead religion; this most notably being that of Roman Catholicism. A religion that left me no different from the heathen next door as my life bore ample witness to the fact I was dead in sins.

How many out there are just like me? How many have believed on a false gospel and are trusting in a work of the flesh and not the authored and finished work of Jesus Christ? How many are blinded by false doctrines and false gospels and are still in bondage to sin? The gospel of Rome is not alone in this camp for the same thing can be found in Mormonism and with the Jehovah Witnesses. All three like peas in a pod who uphold the goodness of man, the ability of man to work his way into heaven, and the belief that faith in Jesus Christ alone is not enough for salvation.

And it goes beyond these organizations as we also have preached today in the vast majority of churches is the “gospel” of “ask Jesus into your heart” by praying the “sinner’s prayer.” One that is found preached the world over by the likes of the most famous ministers and churches. One that has become part-and-parcel with the easy-believing generation today where salvation is reduced to answering correctly to a series of questions.

If you would like to get some Scriptural insight into this “another gospel” and how it is just as prevalent in the evangelical church as it is in Rome please check out the latest video by Berean Beacon Ministries found on their Home page. It is entitled “The Invincible Gospel and the Modern Evangelical Lie.” A message more geared to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ to aid them in their ministry and witnessing to others. But one which would profit any who listen who have ears to hear the truth.

I pray that you will be greatly blessed from this message.

Can You Make Payment?

©copyright 2007 brother Michael

In America we have witnessed a major collapse in the housing market due to many factors but one primary reason is that people who did not have the financial wherewithal to make payment for this debt went ahead and acquired the loan anyway. In time, whether due to rising interest rates for adjustable rate mortgages, loss of a job, or just the reality of an unwise decision, these debtors were unable to make payment. Subsequently, defaults on loans started occurring the nation over which have rumbled through the global economy like a magnitude 7 earthquake swallowing many a family into the gaping mouth of foreclosure and bankruptcy.

It goes without saying that for these families this time has been most traumatic as so many have lost their beloved homes and been thrust into a very uncertain and stressful time. A time that for many could have been totally avoided if they had listened to the voice of wisdom who “…standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths…[and cries out] O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart [for] …[t]he rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Prov 8:2,5; 22:7)

Heavenly Debt Owed by All

Yet today I am not writing about wisdom in financial matters, as important and life changing these can be, but rather about matters of infinitely greater concern. For I write not about earthly debts owed to the rich men of the earth and the banking elite, no, rather I write about the heavenly debt owed unto the Sovereign God of the universe. A debt owed by all peoples of all religious beliefs the world over who believe they have the means within themselves to pay this debt. Included in this list are peoples of all religious and non-religious beliefs including those professing to be Christians or Buddhists, Catholics or Mormons, Hindus, Muslims, atheists or agnostics it matters not. For all who believe they can pay this debt by their works, “goodness” or charitable deeds are included in this list.

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The Catholic Sin of Presumption

©Copyright 2007 brother Michael

Some thoughts today on the Roman Catholic doctrine surrounding the sin of presumption. First, in doing this short study I turned to the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia to gain some insight into Rome’s definition for presumption.

Presumption is here considered as a vice opposed to the theological virtue of hope. It may also be regarded as a product of pride. It may be defined as the condition of a soul which, because of a badly regulated reliance on God’s mercy and power, hopes for salvation without doing anything to deserve it, or for pardon of his sins without repenting of them. Joseph F. Delany. “Presumption.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12403a.htm (emphasis added)

Note what is being said here. Rome defines presumption, which she labels a vice as “opposed to the theological virtue of hope”, as a person who has a “badly regulated reliance on God’s mercy” where this individual hopes “for salvation without doing anything to deserve it.” This is an amazing statement and sheds ample light on the theology of Rome and the false version of “salvation”. For Rome’s false salvation is based not only on what you do to maintain it, but also what you do to obtain it.

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