The Passing of a Pope –TRUTH vs EMOTION
If this is true, and it appears to be, it is a remarkable fact that should be brought out. Several times John Paul II apologized to the Jewish people concerning the Catholic Churches’ failure to do more in combating the NAZIS and the extermination camps of the Holocaust.
No other POPE ever personally extended the presence of the Catholic Church to so many countries as this one. He visited more lands than any POPE in history – and that usually under severe physical pain.
I was being carried away with the greatness of this man until a Cardinal spokesman on FOX News shocked me back into reality. He said that the multiple sufferings of this Pope had probably cut short the purgatory stay of many souls.
This is not a doctrine that is usually openly discussed by the Catholic Church. The Doctrine of Purgatory basically teaches that a Catholic must spend time in this intermediate place of punishment until he pays off his unrepented sins. On the basis of this doctrine, Popes began to sell “indulgences”.
Priests would sell these indulgences wherein Masses are said for the dead and shortens their time in this intermediary place of torments. At its base, this teaching says that we can pay for our sins by suffering in purgatory to atone for them.
This was the main teaching that caused a German Augustinian Monk named Luther to question the Church and its teaching about salvation. Nothing teaches the error that man can atone for his own sins by his own acts of merit more than the doctrine of “Purgatory.”
Luther, a scholar and teacher in the original Greek New Testament in a Catholic Seminary, spent a long period of agony trying to get peace for his sense of guilt that greatly tormented his soul.
His elders urged him to do a pilgrimage to Rome, thinking this would give his conscience assurance. While there, Luther did a “novena” in which he crawled for more than a mile on his knees over cobble stoned streets to the Church of John the Lateran. As he climbed the steps of the Church on bloody knees, he had a vision. He said that he saw across the sky as written in fire, “The Just shall live by faith” a quote from Romans 1:17.
Then there rushed into his mind the many Scriptures he knew from memory that testified to the fact that man can do nothing to earn God’s forgiveness and be made righteous.
Such verses as:
“Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39 NIV)
[Note: the only system of human works ever given by God was the Law of Moses. Yet God testifies that, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10) So since no one can measure up to God’s Law, there is no way a person can earn his salvation by human merit.]
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Salvation is a “gift of God” by grace, which means it cannot be earned or deserved. It must be received as a gift through faith.
This is why the Scriptures teach that our eternal destiny is settled when we receive Jesus Christ as the one who died for our sins and purchased us a full pardon for our sins.
The Apostle John quotes Jesus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24 NASB)
When we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we already have eternal life and have already passed out of death into life. And our judgment has already been borne by Jesus in our place.
The Scriptures indicate that each person is to die once, and then comes the judgment, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this [comes] judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” (Hebrews 9:27)
We cannot die a second time and then be judged anymore that Christ can die again for sins.
When we die, our fate is decided. If we have believed in Jesus Christ as our pardon for sins is finished and we are saved. There is no way we or any man (not even the Pope) can atone for sins.
The Bible clearly says that no one can buy forgiveness as taught in the doctrine of “indulgences”, “Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him — for the redemption of their souls is costly, And it shall cease forever …”
The Apostle Peter also commented on this, “… knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
When I was a young man, I went through Catholic Instruction in New Orleans. When I asked for a Bible to check out the Church’s teaching on Purgatory, I was told that the Protestant Bible was in error and did not teach the truth.
So I got a Catholic approved Bible and found that it said the very same things as quoted above. Roman Catholic dogma is at great odds with the Scripture. And it does not take a Priest to see it. The Bible’s central teachings are simple and clear.
I know that many Catholics have come to true faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, in spite of the teaching of their Church. But let us never loose sight of the fact that there is great error in the central dogma of the Church. An error powerful enough to blind someone to the simplicity of simple faith in Christ as our only atonement for sin.
No Church saves anyone. It is faith in the fact that Christ died for our every sin. In so doing, He purchased a full pardon for all our sins. And when we die, we do not have to fear a dreadful intermediary place known as purgatory.
For the Bible promises, “ So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)