A discussion from a comment on the post Bare Minimum for Salvation
Lena: I just want to say that Jesus did in fact die for the sins of mankind. No matter what “works” you do it is not enough to get you into the kingdom.
Lena: Thankfully though, there is hope and you can have that hope. God offers His grace as a gift for the taking, should you so choose to accept it. How do you accept this gift? You have to BELIEVE that Jesus died for you—and yes—He paid the WHOLE price!
BFHU: Protestants do not believe in the necessity of reparation for their sins. Therefore, they believe that every sinner, no matter how evil their past life will be saved and rewarded in Heaven exactly the same as a person who lived their whole life loving God and trying to please Him. The Catholic Church believes that the Death and Resurrection of Christ is all that is needed for every single human being to be saved, and make it to Heaven, if they will to be saved. Jesus opened the gates to Heaven which no mere human being is or ever was capable of doing. But, in justice, the goodness or the evilness of our lives WILL have consequences and these will be administered to us by the Justice and the Mercy of God. So it is worthwhile to do our best to live a holy life. So, we have nothing to fear but must commend ourselves into the loving hands of God. No matter how evil our life might be however, we can be saved by throwing ourselves upon the mercy of God, even with our last breath.
Lena: We have been bought with the blood of Jesus. How can you begin to believe? You can have faith by reading the Holy Bible—word for word (Romans 10:17).
Lena: The Holy Word of God is ALL YOU NEED to know of His truth and of His gift of grace.
BFHU: The Sacred Scriptures are very precious indeed and full of Truth for Salvation. Protestants believe that all they need and should trust is what can be found in Sacred Scripture. They reject any religious teaching they cannot see in scripture. This is a very appealing doctrine because, if it is true ,then I have all I need right in black and white in my Bible. But, there is a problem that even Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant sects found out about very early in the history of Protestantism. That problem is:
The words of scripture are not self interpreting.
If they were, everyone who ever read them would all come to exactly the same conclusion as to their meaning. However, after 500 years of Protestants believing that every individual is able, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to read Scripture and come to all truth, the fact is, there is NO UNITY. There are over 40,000 different Protestant denominations. And every single one of them proclaim their church to be led by the Holy Spirit. But, since God is not a God of confusion something is wrong.
1 Corinthians 14:33 …for God is not a God of confusion but of peace
Either the Holy Spirit has been falling down on the job or the Protestant idea that each person can read the Bible and accurately interpret it is flawed.
Lena: If you choose to decide on accepting His gift of salvation, then you REPENT your sins to Him and to Him ONLY. It is, after all, a private matter that you take up with God. Its no body’s business what your sins are—NOBODY. God can hear you and He knows your heart—so if you are not sincere—He will know it (Acts 1:24).
BFHU: We of course believe that we must repent and turn away from sin in order to accept the gift of salvation as you explain. And there is no fooling God with insincerity. But we would have to disagree about confessing our sins to no one but God because i”t is a private matter.” This clearly contradicts sacred scripture.
James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another.
In the early church confession was made before the priest and the whole assembly. You really had to humble yourself. But, this was changed to confession privately to the priest to graciously accommodate those weaker souls with the graces of confession, who could not bring themselves to confess before the whole church. The priest, after all, was the one ordained by Jesus to hear confessions with the power to bind and loose in John 20.
John 20: 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Since it is impossible for a man, even though a priest of God Most High, to forgive or not forgive sin unless he actually hears the confession of sin the Catholic Church sees in this verse of Sacred Scripture the institution of the sacrament of confession.
Lena: And if anybody tells you that God cannot hear you, are themselves going against God—woe to them!. God can hear the prayer of one who wants to repent because it is HIS WILL that you ask for forgiveness (1 John 1:8-9).
Lena: This is about you and Him—so you need only to pray to HIM and no one else.
BFHU: This is true. We are not obligated to pray to the Saints to ask for their intercession.
Lena: Then go to a “bible following” church which has no doctrines other than following the Word of God and ONLY the Word of God.
BFHU: I know that Lena truly believes what she just said but is unaware of all that every Protestant church actually adopted from the Catholic Church with no questions asked. The table of contents for the New Testament was decided by the Catholic Church. The Doctrine of the Incarnation and the Doctrine of the Trinity was hammered out over centuries by the Catholic Church. The date to celebrate the “Sabbath “, Christmas, and Easter was decided by the Catholic Church.
Lena: Then out of obedience, get BAPTIZED. In baptism you are buried with Christ—when you come out of the water you are rising to a new life (Romans 6:4). You live for Him. The best way to thank Jesus for what He has done is to “serve” Him. And how does one serve our Lord? By doing “works” but this time, it will be under HIS grace through faith and in love with a willingness behind it. There is hope in Jesus.
Lena: The doctrines and Precepts of the Catholic Church are the doctrines of man. Thankfully, God did not write those doctrines.
BFHU: Well, we of course, believe that our Doctrines and Precepts were infallibly imparted by God through men, exactly as the sacred writing of Holy Scripture were the physical work of man by the infallible power of God. So, if God could write scripture using the hands of men He could write Doctrine and Precepts, Dogma and encyclicals all by the hands of mere men.
Lena: The doctrines of man will change as people and cultures change.
BFHU: This is absolutely true. The English Protestant Church in America (Anglican/Episcopalian) now ordains active homosexuals to their office of Bishop. Many Protestant denominations now ordain women under the pressure of our western culture and some even advocate and authorize homosexual “marriage”. Until the turn of the last century all Christians both Protestant and Catholic denounced contraception as evil. But, the same denomination that ordained a homosexual bishop, was the first to renounce this belief and give the A-OK to the use of contraception. As far as I know every single other Protestant denomination approves of artificial contraception.
It is only the Catholic Church that has not changed her doctrines to suit the prevailing winds of culture for 2000 years. Protestant churches do change. The reason they don’t think they do is because when their church starts going down the road of accommodating the culture and compromising Truth, a remnant will leave the decadent church and start a new one. But, because there is no final authority that speaks for God it is just a matter of time before the new and faithful church will be corrupted by Our Enemy. But Jesus promised that the Gates of Hell would not overcome His Church-The Catholic Church.
Lena: God however, is the same today as He was yesterday, and He will be the same tomorrow. Thats why you can count on HIS WORD—IT NEVER CHANGES.
BFHU: Amen! Thank you .