21 January 2007

Pot Calling the Kettle Black

First off a disclaimer: this is not meant to be a full treatise on faith and works. My current project is on the burden of proof of those who bring doctrinal charges against the Church. This is just a quick note.

Today at Protestant-church, the pastor talked at great length about salvation. He used all the usual buzz words such as "personal relationship" "asking Jesus into your heart" and the like. In addition, he shocked me with this: "I'm not saying 'Do you believe in Jesus as your personal savior?' I'm asking you, 'Have you personally applied the blood of Jesus to your life?'"


I'm not sure what applying the blood of Jesus to my life could entail... (it could mean a lot, but what he's referring to, I don't know.) I've heard something like this before, but it clicked with me today. Here's the deal- Protestants are always shouting sola fide, works are not necessary. But Protestants really misunderstand the Church's position on works in the place of justification.

Looking at the first canon from the Council of Trent's decree on justification, we can see the proper place of works: "If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema."

Without grace, we can do nothing to achieve salvation. It is only through our Lord's sacrifice on the cross that we can merit eternal life. The difference is how it is applied. Catholics believe that this grace is applied through the sacraments. According to Pastor Danny, "we must apply the blood of Jesus to our lives." It seems that the Protestant plays a more active role in his salvation!

Catholics actually play a fairly passive part in the means of salvation. When it comes to the sacraments, we only approach them. We approach the baptismal font where water is poured over us. We approach the Eucharist where the Host is given to us- we never take the Body of Christ. We approach the priest in confession, where our sins are absolved- passive action. It is good to note that priests act in persona Christi. So man is barely involved. We are moved by God's grace, and indeed we must act on that grace (this is where the Protestants erred), but ultimately in the actual transmission of grace, we are much less active than some would have you think.

So taking all of that into consideration, and considering Pastor Danny's urging to "apply the blood of Jesus", what do you think of Protestants that say that works play no role in salvation and that Catholics rely too much on works?

1 Comments:

Blogger David Ketter said...

And the Noahides take an even higher view of Grace: the giving of the Law. Both camps have a flawed conception of justification and sanctification and, indeed, a veiled idea of what redemption truly is.

For the Noahide, redemption isn't something that is taken OR approached, redemption is given. The justification occurs by the grace of God looking upon the Mincha as acceptable, as perfect. That is the significance of Shliach Sha'ul's epistle to the Goyim in Rome: "...offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God..." It is acceptable, not on the basis of the sacrifice or its merits, but on the basis that God has deigned it just to accept it.

In terms of sanctification: all avow that this is the inward work of the Spirit to produce outward change in our behavior. For the Noahide, this outward change will also mean complete and total submission to the Law given to him - that is, the Covenant of Noah. Thus it is that even in the giving of the Minchah, one fulfills the work of sanctification by the power of the Spirit, for it is not the virtue of the fact that it is a righteous thing to do, but by virtue of the fact that God has ordained that it be done.

See how this promotes a high view of both God's Grace and God's Law? We do nothing, but God has done everything, even until all things are accomplished, and heaven and earth pass away, for such is the nature of His promise in Chadasha Mattiyahu.

I could write a great deal more, showing from the Scriptures and, indeed, from the Sages, of the truth of what I'm saying but this only do I commend you to: only hold onto that which you have attained and, if at some point, you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

January 22, 2007 1:35 PM  

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