Romans 10:15: “How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written [Isa. 52:7], ‘How Beautiful’ [or ‘timely’] [are] the feet of those [“the man in motion”] [euaggelizomenwn] gospelizing good things.”

 2 Timothy 2:15: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

The phrase “accurately handling” is from the Greek base verb, orthotomeō, from orthos (“correct, straight”) and temnō (“to cut”)—thus, “to cut straight,” the term denotes the idea of precision.

 2 Peter 3:16: “as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which there are some things that are hard to understand, which the untaught [ἀμαθεῖς] and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

 

The gospel (good news) biblical defined as the substitutionary atoning work of God the Son, from His incarnation, His perfect vicarious life to His death, burial, and physical resurrection, which is the very ground of justification (apart from works; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). All those who believe in this gospel calling upon the Lord, the Son of God will be saved (Rom. 10:9). The gospel is the sole work of the Son (not the work of man) but the “result” of the gospel is man believing, repenting, obeying, etc. 

Evangelism (from euaggelion, eu, “good” and aggelos, “message”) is simply proclaiming the gospel. All Christians are called to grow in doctrine (2 Pet. 3:18); defend the faith (apologetics; 1 Pet 3:15; Jude 1:3); and evangelize (proclaim the gospel, Matt, 28:19; Rom. 10:9, 15). We must ensure that our passion in evangelism is biblically accurate and consistent; since the gospel is the gospel of the Son (Rom. 1:1, 3). Proclaiming the truth is a loving and obedient act (Gal. 1:10).

 

Salvation & the Power of God through the Gospel

In Romans 1:6, Paul affirms that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. Thus, it is God’s ordained and normal means He uses to save sinners. The gospel has the same efficacy today as it did in the first century. In spite of that, we see a noticeable difference between biblical evangelism and modern evangelism. Far too many Christians today use unbiblical methodology and concepts in evangelism, such as implying that one’s faith-act is the “cause” of regeneration.

In the same way, many replace the content of the gospel with citing Jeremiah 29:11 to unbelievers (“God has a great plan for you”) and the so-called unconditional, universal love of God, or the “Jesus is knocking at your door” concept (Rev. 3:20). Of course, in the NT, we do not find Jesus nor any apostles saying such things to unbelievers. The fact is Jeremiah 11:29 is neither addressing Israel in general, nor the church (note the starting context in v. 1).

And Revelation 3:20 was not an evangelistic statement, rather, Jesus was speaking to already saved Christians. As with all Christians, Jesus is always knocking at our door wanting more fellowship. It is an issue of sanctification in the believer’s life, and not an issue of justification nor evangelism to the lost.  

 

The man or woman of God who proclaims the gospel has an enormous responsibility before God to be biblically accurate.  Christian missionaries, whether here or abroad must be biblically sound to properly evangelize; understanding what the gospel is before they go out. An incomplete or distorted gospel is no gospel at all (Gal. 1:8-9).

 

Paul’s Gospel Definition

In Romans 1:1, 3, Paul speaks of “the gospel of God. . . 3 concerning His Son” As said, it is not the “great” works of man. Paul’s definition of the gospel is also found in 1 Cor. 15:3-4:                   “For I delivered to you as of prōtos [‘first importance’] what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

 

According to these passages, Paul’s gospel account includes in detail: 

 

  1. The Christ that Paul taught was truly God and truly man (Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6-11[1]); forever God in the flesh (Acts 17:31; 1 Tim. 2:5).[2]

 

  1. The death of Christ is the ground of justification, which is “apart from works” (Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1; Eph. 2:8-10).

 

  1. His physical resurrection “according to the Scriptures” (cf. Luke 24:37-40; esp. John 2:19, 21).

 

Those who deliver the gospel of the Son to nonbelievers, must be definitive and clear.

 

Hosea 6:6: “For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (cf. Prov. 15:8). Again, an incomplete or distorted gospel is no gospel at all.

 

The Importance of Evangelism

 

The proclamation of the gospel is God’s appointed means of saving His people (Rom. 1:16)—it is the power of God.

Romans 10:9, 15: “Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 13 ‘For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [YHWH] will be saved’ [cited from Joel 2:32]. . . . 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How timely [or ‘beautiful’] is the arrival of those who proclaim the good news’” (cited from Isa. 52:7).

Note that confessing “Jesus is Lord” in verse 9 is paralleled with calling on the name of the Lord in verse 13, which is a quotation form Joel 2:32—the same Lord. Paul identified Jesus as the YHWH of Joel 2:32—namely, confessing Jesus as YHWH.

Salvation is a matter of God’s sovereignty, which Paul calls eklogēn charitos (“election of grace”; Rom. 11:5).[3]

 

Evangelism is Two-Fold

1) To the world (Acts 17:30; Rom. 10:15). In Luke 10, after sending out the Twelve Apostles on a similar mission as in Matthew 28:19-20 (and Luke 9:1-6), Jesus sends out Seventy-Two “others” on a larger mission, but the same message: To proclaim the gospel. In Luke 10:2, Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”—a sad thought. Is evangelism not the task of Christians and especially pastors (Rom. 1:15)?

Although the “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few: Jesus says to the Seventy-Two missionaries: “Beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Thus, we must pray ALWAYS to the Lord of the Harvest that He may ignite the inactive soldiers for active duty.  In Luke 10:3, Jesus then said, “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. . . .” In verse 16, Christ stated that “The one who listens to You listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

 Rejecting their words of truth from Jesus’ messengers (now we call them “Christians”) is the same as rejecting Christ Himself and, as Jesus said, rejecting God. Paul said our gospel message is mōron (“foolish,” 1 Cor. 1:18-25) to the world. But again, the gospel of the Son and the proclamation of it is the means God chose to save sinners (Rom. 1:16).  

2) Evangelism is also for the church. Paul said to the church of Rome: “I am eager to ‘preach the gospel’ [euaggelizō] to you also who are in Rome.” Is that not the task of pastors to their church in order for them to learn the gospel better and thus, be more effectual in the proclamation of it? Most likely, this is why Paul was excited to evangelize, that is, preach the gospel to the church in Rome (Rom. 1:15).

In Acts 18:24-28, although Apollos was “mighty in the Scriptures,” “fervent in spirit,” “teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus,” verse 26 says that “when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” As a result: “He powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ (v. 28). God requires accuracy when handling His word especially in the presentation of Christ and His cross work.

Conclusion

 Evangelism is the ordained and normal means that God chose to redeem His people. The book of Acts provides a historic narrative of the first thirty years or so of the church in which we read the evangelistic content of the apostles and others. What we find is that their evangelism was simple, accurate, and focused on the substance of the gospel: The atoning work of God the Son, the resurrected Savior and salvation through faith in Christ alone. In contrast to today’s evangelism, which is generally disconnected from biblical evangelism.                 

 

“How beautiful are the feet of those gospelizing of good things” (Rom. 10:15, trans. mine).


NOTES 

[1] Cf. also Colossians 2:9; 2 Timothy 2:8. The deity of the Son was consistently taught in the NT and OT.   

[2] Cf. Acts 1:11; 1 John 4:2-3. 

[3] Cf. Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:8-10; Philippians 1:29.

 

 

Biblically speaking, the gospel (good news) is the substitutionary and sacrificial work of Christ—not the work of man in his response, faith, repentance, good behavior, etc. Besides passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, which we will deal with shortly, Paul makes this point clear in Romans 1:1, 3, “The gospel of God . . . concerning His Son.” So, the gospel in and of itself has nothing to do with man, but everything to do with the atoning work of Jesus Christ, God the Son. We must not confuse the work of Christ, which is the gospel—the good news of Jesus’ cross work—with the response of faith in Christ, repentance, obedience, etc. Salvation is solus Christus (through Christ alone), thus, Hs work being the very ground or cause of justification, and faith being the very alone instrument.

The gospel then is comprised of all essential theology of the Christian faith since it involves the person, nature, and finish work of Christ. Simply, the gospel is the atoning work of God the Son, in incarnation, death, and resurrection. And trusting Him alone for salvation (Rom. 10:9, 13; 1 Cor. 15:3-4 [see discussion below on this passage]; 2 Tim. 2:8).      

 

In expanded detail, the essential doctrines of the Christian faith include:      

 

  • The person of the Son is truly God and truly man, the two natured person—being distinct from the Father who sent Him (John 1:1, 14, 18; 5:17-18; 20:28; 1 Cor. 2:8; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6-8; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:3; 1 John 4:2-3; 5:20; Rev. 1:7-8).  

 

  • The sending of the Son to earth from the Father out of heaven (John 3:13, 16-18; 6:38; 16:28).

 

  • A literal descendant of David, born of a virgin (2 Tim. 2:8[1]; Matt. 1:18; Rom. 9:5; Gal. 4:4).

 

  • The perpetual (ongoing, permanent) incarnation of the Son—the Word became flesh (John 1:1, 14; 2 Tim. 2:8; 1 John 4:2-3; 2 John 1:7).

 

  • The Son’s substitutionary (vicarious) atoning sinless life (preceptive obedience) and cross work (penal obedience) as the very ground of justification, which removed the sin-guilt and God’s wrath due to us for our sins (Gen. 15:6; Isa. 53:11; Mark 10:45; John 6:37-39; Rom. 5:6, 8, esp. v. 10; 8:32; 1 John 2:2, 4:10).

 

  • Salvation (justification), then, is through faith alone “apart from works” (Acts 10:36, 43; Rom. 4:4:4-8; 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9).

 

  • Jesus’ real death and physical resurrection (John 2:19-21; 19:30; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Titus 2:13).

 

  • His accession to the Father (John 6:62; 16:10, 28; 20:17; Acts 1:10-11; Heb. 10:12-13).

 

  • His (physical) second coming (Acts 1:10-11; Titus 2:13-14; 1 John 2:28).

 

  • The concept of the Trinity—namely, one true eternal God revealed in three distinct persons (see chap. 3 above).   

The person (unipersonal, i.e., distinct from the Father, and Holy Spirit), nature (truly God truly man) and finished completed work (justification through faith alone) are necessary and indispensable to the Christian faith. They also imply other important doctrines such “total inability,” that is, in man’s unconverted spiritual state he cannot (no ability) please or come to Christ (John 6:44; 8:43-44, 47; Rom. 3:10-18) due to the inherent sin-guilt (imputed sin) of all men resulting from the first sin in the Garden. These doctrines constitute the key ultimate test in which distinguishes genuine Christianity from false non-Christian (atheistic) religious cults and world religions.

All must be affirmed in a basic sense, and none can be denied. Further, one cannot affirm some of these, but not the others. For example, Roman Catholicism (as discussed below) officially embraces the Trinity, deity of Christ, the incarnation, virgin birth, and Jesus’ resurrection. However, because Roman Catholic doctrine rejects that the alone work of Christ is the absolute and sufficient means and ground of justification, Rome falls outside of Christian orthodoxy (cf. Gal. 1:6, 8)—hence, non-Christian.

Thus, it is not the Jesus of biblical revelation that Rome embraces, rather a different Jesus and a “different gospel.” Therefore, all things pertaining to the gospel are “essential” theology. Whereas secondary theology is any doctrine that is not essential to one’s salvation—namely, any doctrine that does not fundamentally deny or distort the nature and/or finished work of Christ (e.g., the OT Law, spiritual, gifts, method of water baptism, eschatology [i.e., end-time teachings], etc.). Again, the sufficiency of the gospel is the work of the Christ. and justification through faith alone is the only recognized gospel.    

[1] “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant [spermatos] of David, according to my gospel.” 

                                                                                                       

“Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). 

Let’s first note verses 1 through 9 and all the verbs expressing God’s blessing, electing/choosing, predestining, freely giving, lavishing the “riches of His grace,” “making know the mystery of His will,” obtaining an inheritance, etc. have God as the subject of the verbs (doing the actions) and man as the direct object (e.g., hēmas, “us”- receiving the actions).

 

Second, in 2 Thessalonians 2:13: “God has chosen you [humas] from the beginning for salvation….”). We have been claimed as God’s own possession within the context of our being chosen “in Him,” as seen in Ephesians 1:4-5. The phrase, “obtained an inheritance” is from the Greek term, klēroō. Used here, the term literally denotes receiving or giving a heritage or inheritance, or “the idea to allot, to assign in the sense of a privilege.” The TDNT[1] defines the term as, “an ‘appointment’ or ‘determination,’ which affects men in their being. It is also the goal, which is assigned to them in their calling. The term is exemplified in the OT signifying Israel as God’s klēros—namely, His heritage.

 

“Having been predestined according to His purpose.” The verb “predestined” also appears in verse 5. The term “purpose” is from the noun, prothesis—from pro (“before”) and tithēmi (“to place or set”). Thus, lexically, “to set or place before, for a particular purpose, predestined purpose” (see also in Rom. 8:28; 9:11; 2 Tim. 1:9). Additionally, the term is used to denote the setting forth of the consecrated bread in the temple before the Lord (Mark 2:26; Heb. 9:2).

“Who works all things after the counsel of His will.” The verb translated, “accomplishes” is energountosfrom the verb energeō, which is a compound word from ergon (“work”) and the preposition en (“in, by”), which intensifies the verb. The literal translation of the participle would be, “working, energizing, operating” (see the usage of the same verb at 1 Cor. 12:6; Eph. 2:2; and Phil. 2:13 [twice]). Hence, God is energizing all things after the council of His own will.

“All things.” The Greek reads, ta panta, “the all things.” Note that the article (ta, “the”) and adjective (panta, “all”) are in the neuter gender, thus denoting “the all things” inclusively. The same neuter phrase is used in Colossians 1:16-17: 16 “For by Him all things [ta panta] were created – all things [ta panta] have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things [ta panta] hold together.” Along with these passages, John 1:3, 10; Hebrews 1:10-12; and 2:10, robustly present, as Paul did, the Son as the agent of creation—namely, the Creator of all things. God is the ultimate cause of all things. There is nothing that exists outside of the category of ta panta, “the all things,” which God causes, ordains, decrees, and energizes after the council of His own will.

 

“After the counsel of His will.” The term “counsel” is translated from boulē. Here the term expresses the divine plan, purpose, and intention of God—namely, “according” to His sovereign counsel and predetermined purpose. Note Acts 2:23, which contains the same term (boulē), “This Man, delivered over by the predetermined PLAN [boulē] and foreknowledge of God.”

The one article (“the”) before the first noun (“plan”) and not the second (“foreknowledge”) grammatically shows that God’s “foreknowledge” is established in His hōrismenē boulē (“predetermined plan/decree”). In other words, “God’s decrees are not based on Him simply foreknowing what human beings will do; rather, humanity’s actions are based on God’s foreknowledge and predetermined plan” [2] (esp. Rom. 8:29-30). In fact, the same noun (boulē), with the same force, is used in Acts 4:27-28:

 

27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your PURPOSE [boulē] predestined to occur.

 

 Totally Sovereign Over All Things

What does sovereignty mean? Sovereignty simply means absolute control. Scripture presents that everything that happens, or that has happened, or that is going to happen is independently ordained and determined by God in that He has absolute control of all things. He doesn’t need to consult or ask permission from anyone, nor is He limited to anything outside of Himself. He acts to bring about His plan and nothing will, nor is able to, thwart it (Isa. 46:10-11).

 

So, because God “works [energizes] all things after the counsel of His will,” both good and evil then is likewise controlled by God, since evil is under the category of “all things” (Gen. 50:20; Isa. 53:4; Lam. 3:38; Acts 2:23; Acts 4:27-28). As we saw with the crucifixion, many things God ordains does involve sin, but always for a higher good (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; Rom. 8:28).

 

For example, God is Sovereign over,

 

  • All creation (Isa. 54:5; Dan. 4:17, 25; John 1:13, 10; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:10-12; 2:10).

 

  • All calamities (Isa. 45:5-7; Amos 3:6).

 

  • All earthly authorities (Deut. 4:35, 39; Isa. 37:16; Dan. 5:18, 21; Hag. 2:22).

 

  • Man’s life, death, sickness, and disease (Deut. 32:39; Exod. 4:11 [cf. also John 9:1, 12:39-41]; 1 Sam. 2:6-7; Job 13:15; 14:5; 42:11; Ps. 139:16).

 

  • Evil (Prov. 16:4; Lam. 3:38-39).

 

  • The slavery of Joseph (Gen. 45:7; 50:20).

 

  • Samson’s marriage to the Philistine woman from Timnah (Judges 14:1-4).

 

  • Eli’s wicked sons (1 Sam. 2:22-25).

 

  • Judas’ betrayal of Christ (Matt. 26:23–25; 27:9-10; Luke 22:21–22; Acts 1:16, 20).

 

  • Our eternal destiny (John 6:37-39; 10:15; Acts 13:48; Eph. 1:4-5; Rom. 9:6-23; 2 Thess. 2:13).

 

It is God who puts men to death, gives them life—on His own prerogative (Deut. 32:39; Luke 10:20-22; John 5:21—[note in this passage that raising the dead and giving life to them are accomplished by both the Father and the Son]; 12:39-41; Rom. 9:16-24; etc.).

 

Arthur Pink rightly observes:

“It is strange, yet it is true, that many who acknowledge the sovereign rule of God over material things will cavil and quibble when we insist that God is also sovereign in the spiritual realm. But their quarrel is with God and not with us. We have given Scripture in support of everything advanced in these pages, and if that will not satisfy our readers, it is idle for us to seek to convince them.”[3]

 

How do Christians who do not embrace the full sovereignty of God pray for their lost loved ones? A prayer for the lost that is not based on God’s immutable, irresistible grace and power in salvation would be an impotent and ineffectual prayer, which would set man as the ultimate cause of one’s eternal destiny and not God.

 

The notion that God leaves the final decision of salvation in the hands of sinners is solidly against the biblical teachings both on the nature of man and on the doctrines of grace (Jonah 2:9; Luke 10:21-22; John 5:21; 6:37-40; 10:15, 25-28; Acts 13:48; Rom. 3:10-18; 8:7-8, 29-30; 9:16-23; 1 Cor. 1:30-31; Eph. 1:4-5; 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 2:13 et al).

 

God “works all things after the counsel of His will.” YHWH speaks of His absolute sovereignty in Isaiah 46:8-11:

 

“Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. 9 “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; 11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.”

 

Again, Godworks all things after the counsel of His will.” What an assuring passage! “All things”- means just that. All things are in the control and hand of God, the unchangeable Creator, and not in the hand of His creatures. Therefore, we are comforted in knowing that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Only because God is undeniably sovereign can the commands in Philippians 4:6-7 be so encouraging:

 

6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

 

  • Psalm 34:8-10: “O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

 

  • Romans 8:37, 39: “But in all these things [viz. referring back to vv. 29-30] we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us!

 

  • Hebrews 13:5-6: 5 “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” 6 so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’”

 

Whether pandemics, personal calamity, victories, losses, or any other thing, – let us never lose sight of the sovereignty of God over “all things”— so Paul glorifies God in saying, nothing in all creation “will separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord!” (Rom. 8:39).

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Notes

[1] Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Gerhard Kittel et al.).

[2] Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics.

[3] Arthur Pink, Sovereignty of God, “Difficulties and Objections.”

 

In a previous article, we briefly discussed the Lord’s Supper, in substance, importance, and instruction, which is outlined in 1 Corinthians 11. We also examined Paul’s definition of what an unworthy practice of the Lord’s Supper is. Here we will examine the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, which in a general sense they refer to as the Eucharist (Greek, “thanksgiving”—thus, the action of thanksgiving to God).

 

The action of receiving the elements (i.e., the actual eating and drinking of the bread and wine) of the sacrament of the Eucharist is called the “Holy Communion”. However, as you will see, the Roman practice of the so-called Holy Communion is anything but a “Holy” Eucharist to God. It is a blasphemous practice that

1) rejects the biblical view that the “once for all time” atoning sacrifice of Christ alone was sufficient for salvation and was the very ground of justification (apart from man-works) and

2) the Roman doctrine of Transubstantiation, as explicated hereafter, deforms and dismembers the incarnation of Christ.

 

Transubstantiation

Rome holds to a distinctive doctrine called, Transubstantiation. In short, this Roman Catholic  theological position is where the  priests who preside at the Eucharist (or Lord’s Supper”), “consecrate the bread and the wine so [that these elements actually] become the Body and Blood of the Lord…. By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [hereafter, CCC], 1411, 13).

 

So according to Catholicism, when Jesus said, “This is My body” (Matt. 26:26), and “This is My blood” (v. 28), and “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19), He instituted the so-called Mass,[1] and gave the apostles, and thus, all future Catholic priests, the power to change ontologically (transubstantiate) the bread and wine into Jesus’ literal Flesh and Blood and Divinity of Christ (New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism  [hereafter, BC], vol. 2, Q. 354, cf. also Q. 355; CCC Article 3, para 1413; Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651). [2] But note, this so-called changing of the bread and wine into the actual and literal flesh and blood and deity of Jesus did not, Rome argues, involve a change in appearance or taste. The BC (Q. 348) states: “After the substance of the bread and wine had been changed into Our Lord’s body and blood, they remained only the appearances of bread and wine.”

 
Theological Heresies of the Transubstantial Eucharist

 Rome’s doctrine of the transubstantial Eucharist, a) presents a perpetual re-sacrificing of Christ, and b) it deforms and confuses the incarnation of Christ.  

First, the notion of the Eucharist as an ongoing sacrifice clearly,   

 

  • Rejects any idea of a “once for all time” or “finished” atoning sacrifice accomplished by His perfect life and cross work.

 

  • Rejects the sufficiency of the glorious cross work of Christ for both the forgiveness of sins and the averting of wrath due to us because of our sin.

 

  • Rejects the notion that sinners are justified though the death of the Son and not according to works.  

 

Note for example, the repetitious way Rome uses the terms such as “sacrifice,” “re-presents,” “propitiation” defining the effects of the Eucharist:    

“The Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross because in the Mass the victim is the same, and the principal priest is the same, Jesus Christ” (BC, vol. 2, Q. 360).

“The Eucharist is also a sacrifice” (CCC, 1365).

“The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross” (CCC, 1366).

“The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice,” (CCC, 1367).

 

The Eucharist, according to Rome, is propitiatory (i.e., forgiving sins and removing the wrath of God): “This sacrifice [Eucharist] is truly propitiatory” (CCC, 1367). “The Church intends the Mass to be regarded as a ‘true and proper sacrifice’” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, “Sacrifice of the Mass”; emphasis added).

Clearly, Rome sees the Eucharist as a “sacrifice,” which is offered through the hands of the priests: “The sacrifice of Christ the only Mediator, which in the Eucharist is offered through the priests’ hands” (CCC, 1369, also cf. 1414).

The Roman system of the transubstantial Eucharist is an insufficient sacrifice that is offered continuously by sinful Roman priests. This, clearly controverts and attacks the biblical presentation of the once for all time atoning accomplishment of Christ, as He Himself affirmed—“It is finished.” The Roman “Christ” is not able to save a sinner in and of Himself by grace alone through faith alone—apart from human efforts. Nor is the redemptive work of Christ in Romanism the very ground of the believer’s justification.

Biblically, a sinner is “declared” righteous before God not through works such as water baptism, nor through the sinful hands of the Roman priests in their representing the sacrifice of Christ at the Mass; rather it is through faith alone. Paul rightly says: “just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works” (Rom. 4:6) “Through the [one time] obedience [atoning work] of the One the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). Neither the church, Mary, Roman priests, nor anything or anyone can mediate between God and man. Only the two-natured person (God-man), Jesus Christ is able to be the Mediator:

“For there is one God, and one Mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Tim. 2:5-6).   

 

To emphasize the infinitely completed redemptive propitiatory work of the Christ, the author of Hebrews uses the Greek term ephapax (ἐφάπαξ) which means “once for all” (from epi, “upon” + hapax, “once, one”). Thus (lexically), “Taking place once and to the exclusion of any further occurrence, once for all, once and never again (BDAG), or “upon one occasion only” (Thayer).

The author of Hebrews (and Paul in Rom. 6:10) teaches that the sacrifice of Christ as the eternal priest was ephapax (“once for all time”)—for all other OT priestly systems (Aaronic and Levitical) were lesser, imperfect, and obsolete (Heb. 7:11, 23-28). Note the following passages:   

“who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did ephapax [‘once for all time’] when He offered up Himself (Heb. 7:27).

“and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place ephapax [‘once for all time’] having obtained eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12).

“By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ephapax [‘once for all time’!].11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, 13 waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:10-14). 

The ephapax [“once for all time”] and Paul’s doctrine of justification through faith alone, shows in and of itself that the Roman Mass where the Eucharist is a repetitive propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus Christ is an offensive attack on Christ and His one-time finished atoning work.        

   

Reject the biblical teaching of the incarnation of the Son. The second theological heresy of Rome’s doctrine of Transubstantiation is the deformation of the incarnation of Christ. The Roman Church happily agrees that Jesus became flesh. However, in Romanism, the “flesh” that Jesus became is anything, but normal human flesh and likeness. Because, as Rome teaches, the elements in the Eucharist (bread and wine) actually transubstantiates (viz. changes into the non-figurative literal flesh and blood of Christ). Hence, wherever in the world Catholics are receiving the Eucharist (“Holy Communion”) at the Mass, the literal body and blood is being sacrificed at the hand of the priests. This clearly implies that Jesus’ physical body is ubiquitous—namely, its able to be in multiple places simultaneously!

A ubiquitous anomalous human nature sharply counters the biblical teaching that the eternal Word became the perfect representation of man—not a “hyper-flesh” ubiquitous fleshly body: “The Word became flesh…. being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man” (John 1:14; Phil. 2:7-8).

Rome’s doctrine of the transubstantial Eucharist is an idolatrous practice that mocks and rejects both the substitutionary work of Christ as the alone means of justification and manipulates the biblical view of the incarnation of the Son—who “emptied Himself, taking the form [real nature] of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [not in the likeness of a unusual ubiquitous man]. Being found in appearance as a [normal] man” (Phil. 2:7-8).          

Those who partake in the Roman Eucharist are

1) proclaiming the Jesus of Rome who did not take the nature of normal humanity, and

2) proclaiming the impotent Jesus of Rome whose atoning work was neither sufficient nor perfectly completed. Thus, they would be celebrating that which Paul condemned as anathema (cursed) in Galatians 1:8, 9 (viz. the faith + works system of the Judaizers).

Christians, in stark contrast, proclaim the Jesus of the NT: “Through the obedience of the One [Christ] the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19); “having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God”! (Heb. 10:12; cf. Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9).      

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Sola Gratia, Solo Christo, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria

 

See Matthew 16:18: The Plastic Rock of Rome   

 

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NOTES

[1] In Catholicism, the Mass is a celebration of the Eucharist, where Catholics participate together in “Holy Communion.”     

[2] Cf. CCC Article 3, para 1413: “his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity.”

 In support of their erroneous doctrine of Transubstantiation, Catholics appeal to John 6:53-54. However, Jesus had already defined what He meant here back in verse 35, where Jesus refers to Himself as the “Bread of Life” – “he who comes to Me will not hunger [thus, coming to Him is equivalent to ‘eating His flesh’], and he who believes in Me will never thirst [thus, believing in Him is equivalent to ‘drinking His blood’].” Further, unlike the Synoptics, the Gospel John never even records Jesus’ institution of the Last Supper. Further, the historical time frame of the institution of the Lord’s Super would have been not until John 13, which was a different context than that of chapter 6, and at least a year later! In his Commentary on John, Calvin pointed out, “Indeed, it would have been inept and unreasonable to preach about the Lord’s Supper before He had instituted it.”               

 

HEBREWS 2:9: “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” (huper pantos geusētai thanatou, lit., “on behalf of all, might taste death”).

As with other biblical adjectives and nouns, which left hanging, could denote universality (viz. “all/every,” “whole,” “world,” etc.), the latter phrase “He might taste death for everyone” is also naturally pretexted as a “proof text” by those who hold to a universal propitiation/atonement.

But does not this text read plainly: “He might taste death for everyone”? Yes, it does. However, the extent of huper pantos (“on behalf of all, everyone”), for which Christ tasted death, is indicted by the defining context. Hence, the “everyone” according to the author are  

*All those who are “sons to glory” (v. 10).

*All those “who are sanctified . . . from one Father” (v. 11; cf. John 6:37).

*All those who the “children whom God has given” to the Son” (v. 13; cf. John 6:37, 39)

*All those whom Christ set “free . . . who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (v. 15).

*All those who are descendants of Abraham (v. 16), and

*On behalf of all those for whom the Son made propitiation (v. 17).

So, Yes, Christ “tasted death for everyone” inclusively, that is, He made propitiation on behalf of “all” the ones the Father gave to Him, who the author of Hebrews calls, “sons to glory.”      

See English article on Matthew 16:18 below.

El catolicismo romano es la confesión cristiana “profesante” más grande del mundo con más de mil millones de miembros. A pesar de las cifras, como se señaló muchas veces antes, la Iglesia Católica Romana es una iglesia falsa que abarca muchas enseñanzas que se oponen agudamente a la doctrina bíblica “esencial”. Algunas de las enseñanzas anti-bíblicas de Roma incluyen el Purgatorio (que es una negación rotunda de la suficiencia e infaliblemente de la sola obra de Cristo); La adoración de María (así como otras falsas doctrinas marianas); Y la negación de Roma de la justificación por medio de “la fe sola”.

Es lamentable que muchos líderes cristianos, que tienen miedo y / o ignoran las enseñanzas básicas del romanismo, permanecen totalmente silenciosos cuando se trata del catolicismo. ¡O aún peor, endosan a la iglesia católica como iglesia cristiana verdadera! ¿Qué sucede con el mandamiento divino de Judas 3: “Contended fervientemente por la fe, ¿que una vez fue transmitida a los santos”?

MATEO 16:18

“Yo también te digo que tú eres Pedro, y sobre esta roca edificaré Mi iglesia; Y las puertas del Hades no la dominarán. “

Este pasaje (junto con Juan 21: 15-17) es lo que se llama el sello de prueba de texto que Roma utiliza para enseñar que Pedro era la “roca” (y, por lo tanto, el primer “Papa”) sobre la cual Cristo construyó Su iglesia. Esta noción generó también otras falsas doctrinas católicas como la “infalibilidad” del Papa al hablar, ex cathedra- “del trono”) 1:

Declaramos, decimos, definimos y declaramos que es absolutamente necesario que la salvación de toda criatura humana esté sujeta al Romano Pontífice “(Papa Bonifacio VIII, bula papal, Unam Sanctam, A.D 1302; énfasis añadido).

Al igual que con cualquier texto de la Escritura, para llegar a una interpretación correcta del significado pretendido, uno debe participar en una exégesis adecuada de ese texto. Por lo tanto, para que cualquier interpretación sea “bíblicamente” precisa, debe ser justificada exegéticamente.

Antes de examinar este texto en detalle, debemos considerar dos puntos importantes en la respuesta de Jesús a Pedro:

  1. La confesión de Pedro era de un origen divino, así, no de él mismo (Fil. 1:29).
  2. Según Jesús, la confesión de Pedro de que Jesús es “el Cristo, el Hijo del Dios vivo” es “la roca”, sobre la cual Jesús construirá Su iglesia.

 

Por el contrario, Roma afirma que la “roca” sobre la cual Jesús construirá su iglesia es el apóstol Pedro, no su confesión. Esta interpretación errónea puede mostrarse falsamente exegética y problemática históricamente.

Exégesis. La frase en cuestión dice: kagō de soi legō hoti su ei Petros kai epi tautē tē petra oikodomēsō mou tēn ekklēsian (lit., ” Yo también te digo que tú eres Pedro, y sobre esta roca edificaré Mi iglesia “). Tenga en cuenta lo siguiente:

 

  • El contexto, que rodea la declaración de Jesús a Pedro en el versículo 18, comienza en el versículo 13 con la pregunta de Jesús a Pedro con respecto a su identidad: “Pero ¿quién dices que soy?” Es la respuesta de Pedro, es decir, su confesión de quién Jesús es (“el Mesías, el Hijo del Dios vivo”) que impulsa la respuesta de Jesús a Pedro.

 

  • El pronombre personal su (“tú eres Pedro”) es un pronombre singular de segunda persona. Nota: Jesús aquí está dirigiéndose directamente a Pedro: “Yo también te digo que tú eres Pedro. . . “Así, Jesús le dijo, no acerca de él.

 

  • Mientras que el pronombre tautē (“sobre esta roca”) es un pronombre demostrativo, que tiene una tercera persona, es decir, está en dirección indirecta. “Indirecto”, en que Jesús no está directamente dirigiéndose o hablando a la roca, sino que está hablando a Pedro: “Tu [dirección directa] eres Pedro 4 y sobre esta roca [epi tautē, indirecta] construiré Mi Iglesia “. Por lo tanto, el texto diferencia a Pedro, a quien Jesús está dirigiendo directamente y la” roca “, a la cual se dirige indirectamente (” sobre esta roca “). Si Jesús hubiera querido decir lo que afirman los católicos modernos, simplemente habría dicho: “Sobre vosotros edificaré mi iglesia” o “Tú Pedro eres la roca”, pero no lo hizo. Por el contrario, el texto inspirado dice: epi tautē tē petra– “sobre esta roca construiré Mi iglesia”. La referencia indirecta, “esta roca”, por lo tanto, es distinta de la referencia directa, Pedro, a quien se dirige directamente La frase precedente-, lo cual también queda claro en el contexto inmediato. Los católicos romanos, sin embargo, no pueden aceptar ninguna doctrina contraria a la posición “infalible” (ex cathedra) de su Autoridad Suprema-Roma.

Historia. La mayoría de los católicos romanos no son conscientes y / o responden a la declaración hecha por el arzobispo católico Peter Richard Kenrick sobre la posición de Roma y la opinión de la iglesia primitiva. El arzobispo Kenrick preparó un documento sobre este tema, que se entregaría al Vaticano I (1870). Sin embargo, nunca fue entregado, pero se publicó más tarde, junto con otras ideas.5 señala que, de las 5 interpretaciones, que “los Padres de la Antigüedad sostenían, 1) Pedro como la Roca, 17 Padres, 2) todos los apóstoles, 8 Padres, 3) que la iglesia fue construida sobre la fe que Pedro confesó, 44 Padres, incluyendo los Padres más importantes, 4) Jesús como la Roca, 16 Padres, y 5) todos los cristianos eran las piedras vivas sostenidas por muy pocos Padres “.

Por lo tanto, sólo el 20% de los Padres sostuvo la obra canonizada interpretación “infalible” romana de la “Piedra Piedrina” de Mateo 16:18. Eso está lejos de ser la norma de la iglesia primitiva. Como apologista católico romano, H. Burn-Murdock reconoce: “Ninguno de los escritos de los dos primeros siglos describe a San Pedro como obispo de Roma” .6 De hecho, nadie antes de Calixto I (AD 223) usó Mateo 16:18 Para apoyar la primacía del obispo romano (es decir, “el Papa” como lo llama Roma) -nadie.

El historiador de la iglesia, Eusebio de Cesárea (263-339 AD), ve la “roca” como Cristo. Él relaciona esta interpretación con las afirmaciones paralelas de la roca y la fundación de 1 Corintios 3:11 y 10: 4. Otro que compartió este punto de vista (Cristo como la Roca) fue Agustín. De hecho, comentó más sobre Mateo 16:18, más que cualquier otro Padre de la iglesia. Es verdad que, al principio de su ministerio, él vio a Pedro como la Roca. Sin embargo, cambió su posición en el equilibrio de su ministerio en el que adoptó la opinión de que la Roca no era Pedro, sino la confesión de Cristo o de Pedro, que señalaba a la persona de Cristo:

Cristo, en efecto, edificó su Iglesia no sobre un hombre, sino sobre la confesión de Pedro. ¿Cuál es la confesión de Pedro? Tú eres Cristo, el Hijo de Dios vivo: he aquí la piedra, he aquí el cimiento, he aquí dónde está edificada la Iglesia, que las fuerzas del infierno no vencen7. ¿Cuáles son las puertas de los infiernos sino la soberbia de los herejes?” (Sermones, XI, Sermón 229 P.1, 327; énfasis añadido).”

Lo que se ha demostrado una y otra vez es que el católico romano no se dedica a la exégesis cuando interpreta la Escritura, ni examina objetivamente el registro patrístico (de los Padres de la Iglesia), no porque el católico carezca de la habilidad, sino porque él o ella No es necesario, ya que Roma ya ha proporcionado la interpretación “infalible”. Para el católico: las interpretaciones de Roma son correctas, porque Roma dijo que sí. Sin embargo, la posición de Roma de la llamada Primacía de Pedro y de él siendo el primer Papa de Roma está seriamente cuestionada:

  1. No hay evidencia bíblica que indique que Pedro tenía supremacía sobre todos los demás apóstoles.
  2. Pedro nunca consideró que él fuera el Papa, el Pontífice; Vicario de Cristo, Santo Padre, o Cabeza de toda la Iglesia Cristiana, y ninguno de los otros apóstoles hizo tal afirmación.
  3. Fue Pedro quien negó al Señor por temor y fue Pedro quien fue reprendido por el Apóstol Pablo por ser prejuicio contra los gentiles (Gálatas 2: 11-12).
  4. En el primer concilio de la iglesia en Jerusalén (no en Roma), fue Santiago y no Pedro quien fue el principal orador y tomador de decisiones, pues Santiago declaró con autoridad: “Mi juicio es que no perturbemos a los que se están volviendo Los gentiles. . . “(Hechos 15:19). Además, la carta que fue enviada con respecto a la sentencia nunca menciona a Pedro (ver v. 23).
  5. Al final de Romanos, Pablo envía sus saludos a unas 26 personas, pero ¡ni siquiera se menciona a Pedro! ¿Por qué? Ciertamente, si Pedro hubiera “reconocido la supremacía” sobre Roma y sobre todos los apóstoles, ¡excepto que Pablo lo hubiera saludado primero! De hecho, ni una sola vez Pablo se refirió a él en toda la carta.
  6. Pedro era un hombre casado, a diferencia de los papas romanos (ver Mateo 8:14, 1 Corintios 9: 5).

Estas son sólo algunas de las muchas objeciones válidas a la posición de Roma. Simplemente, no hay lugar en el NT donde Pedro actuó como “Papa” o como “cabeza suprema” de los otros apóstoles y de la iglesia. Todo lo contrario, es verdad Pablo dice que la iglesia cristiana “ha sido edificada sobre el fundamento de los apóstoles y profetas, siendo Cristo Jesús mismo la piedra angular” (Efesios 2:20).

La confesión cristiana de que Jesucristo es el Hijo del Dios viviente es la misma ROCA de la fe sobre la cual fue construida la iglesia cristiana y no sobre el Pontífice Romano. Las enseñanzas de Roma son un sistema un tanto religioso: la palabra de Dios es Escritura y tradición; La salvación es por la fe y las obras, María y Jesús, y sometiéndose a la última autoridad religiosa, el Pontífice Romano (el Papa). ¡Mientras que el cristianismo bíblico enseña que la Escritura es nuestra autoridad final, y la salvación es por la gracia solamente, por la fe solamente, por Cristo solamente, y así, para la gloria de Dios solamente!

Por Su hacer [solo] estás en Cristo Jesús, el cual nos hizo sabiduría de Dios, justicia, santificación y redención. . . . (1 Corintios 1:30)

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Notes 

1 en 1870 (en el Vaticano I) el Papa Pío IX proclamó: “Yo soy la tradición” y, por lo tanto, surgió la doctrina católica de la infalibilidad del Papa (ex cathedra).

2 en contraste con las enseñanzas de Roma, la salvación, la fe, la creencia, el arrepentimiento, etc. son dones de gracia otorgados por Dios solamente. Por lo tanto, el hombre no coopera ni participa en la única obra de redención de Dios, como Roma enseña. La salvación es Dios trabajando solo, es decir, monergistico (Juan 1:13, 6: 37-40, Hechos 13:48, Romanos 8: 29-30, 1 Corintios 30-31, Efesios 2: 8-10 2 Tesalonicenses 2:13).

3 aunque los pronombres demostrativos (“esto” / “eso”) técnicamente no tienen “persona”, pueden expresar una significación indirecta como con un pronombre de tercera persona, expresando así una cosa (“esto”) que no sea el hablante (Jesús) O el que se habla a (Pedro).

4 Petros, “trozo de piedra”.

5 cf. Una vista interior en Vaticano I, ed. Leonard Woolsey Bacon (Nueva York: American Tract Society, 1871).

6 H. Burn-Murdock, El desarrollo del papado (1954), 130f.

Traducido de la página en ingles de libre distribución:

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. . . .” (KJV).

The United Pentecostals Church International (UPCI) uses this passage (among others) to support its view that water baptism MUST be done “in the name of Jesus” only to be valid. Since the UPCI theology holds to the idea that Jesus IS the “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit.” The UPCI’s position is clear: Peter commands new converts to (a) repent be water baptized and (b) be baptized only by way of the exact formula: “in the name of Jesus.” Therefore, as the UPCI asserts, the remission or forgiveness of sins is accomplished only by water baptism “in the name of Jesus,” and repentance. However, only by disregarding the historical context and particular grammar, can the UPCI hold to such a heterodox view. Furthermore, the doctrine of baptismal regeneration controverts the theology of Luke (e.g., Acts 10:43). Even so, UPCI leader David Bernard remarks on the necessity of water baptism, as he understands Acts 2:38:

We should remember that water baptism is administered because of our past life of sin; it is for the ‘remission of sins’ (Acts 2:38). Since the name of Jesus is the only saving name (Acts 4:12), it is logical that the name be used in baptism (The Oneness of God, 139).

In proper biblical interpretation: Context governs word meanings. This is a vital point in exegesis. In other words, whatever Acts 2:38 is saying, it cannot oppose the NT as a whole in which the constant theme is justification (salvation) is through faith (as the sole instrument), apart from works—any works, such as the work of water baptism (cf. John 5:24; Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1; 1 Cor. 1:17, 30-31; Eph. 2:8-10; 1 John 5:1 et al.).   

Note, that there at least four acceptable interpretations of the passage especially regarding the preposition eis (“for [eis] the remission of your sins”). However, of the interpretations offered by competent Christian theologians, none provide for baptismal regeneration or Baptismal justification. Thus, Paul says: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. . . .” (1 Cor. 1:17).  

For example, noted Greek grammarian J. R. Mantey offers one such acceptable interpretation. He argued that the preposition eis (“for”) has a causal force, as with the thought of, “be baptized because of, in view of, unto, for, the remission of your sins.” In other words, the preposition eis should be translated “because of,” or “in view of” not “in order to” or “for the purpose of” forgiveness of sins. But keep in mind there is at least four different interpretations of Acts 2:38. Mantey believed that a salvation by grace would be violated if a causal eis were not evident in such passages as Acts 2:38. This way of handling the text is also concurred by one of the world’s premium and most quoted NT Greek grammarians A. T. Robertson:

IT [eis] is seen again in  Matthew 12:41 about the preaching of Jonah (εἰς τὸ κήρυγμα Ἰωνᾶ). They repented because of (or at) the preaching of Jonah. view is decidedly against the idea that Peter, Paul, or any one in the NT taught baptism as essential to the remission of sins or the means of securing such remission. So I understand Peter to be urging baptism on each of them who had already turned (repented) and for it to be done in the name of Jesus Christ on the basis of the forgiveness of sins which they had already received (Word Pictures, 3:35-36).

There is also another grammatical aspect to be considered. There is a shift from second person plural to third person singular and back to second person plural. Notice below:

  1. The verb “repent” (metanoēsate) is second person plural and is in the active voice.
  2. And “be baptized” (baptisthētw) is third person singular and is in the passive voice.
  3. The Greek pronoun translated “your” (humwn) is in a second person plural.

 Therefore, the grammatical connection is: “repent” (active plural) with “your” (active plural) as in “for the remission of your [humwn] sins” and not “be baptized” (passive singular) with “for the remission of your sins.” Moreover, the same wording “for the remission of your sins” is used in reference to John’s baptism (cf. Luke 3:3; Mark 1:4) and that baptism did not save, it was a preparatory baptism and of the coming Messiah and a call to repentance, as we will deal with below. An additional view, however, is that baptism represents both the spiritual reality and the ritual which is an acceptable view that works well in the scope of the context.

Notwithstanding the different shades of interpretation, which in fact do not contradict, but only enhance—they are all in accord with good exegesis. Contrary to the UPCI position, which violates not only the theology in Acts (e.g., 10:43) but also the entire theology of the NT (e.g., John 6:47; Rom. 4:4ff.; Gal. 2:16).

Lastly, in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, foremost Greek scholar Daniel Wallace provides insightful comments regarding the four main interpretations of Acts 2:38:

“1. Causal εἰς [eis, “for”] in Acts 2:38? An interesting discussion over the force of εἰς took place several years ago, especially in relation to Acts 2:38. The text reads as follows:

Πέτρος δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς Μετανοήσατε, φησίν καὶ βαπτισθήτω ἕκαστος ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν. . . . (“And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized—each one of you—at the name of Jesus Christ because of/for/unto the forgiveness of your sins…”). On the one hand, J. R. Mantey argued that εἰς could be used causally in various passages in the NT, among them Matt 3:11 and Acts 2:38. It seems that Mantey believed that a salvation by grace would be violated if a causal εἰς was not evident in such passages as Acts 2:38. On the other hand, Ralph Marcus questioned Mantey’s nonbiblical examples of a causal εἰς so that in his second of two rejoinders he concluded (after a blow-by-blow refutation): It is quite possible that εἷς is used causally in these NT passages but the examples of causal εἰς cited from non-biblical Greek contribute absolutely nothing to making this possibility a probability. If, therefore, Professor Mantey is right in his interpretation of various NT passages on baptism and repentance and the remission of sins, he is right for reasons that are non- linguistic. Marcus ably demonstrated that the linguistic evidence for a causal εἷς fell short of proof. If a causal εἷς is not in view, what are we to make of Acts 2:38?

There are at least four other interpretations of Acts 2:38. 1) The baptism referred to here is physical only, and εἰς has the meaning of for or unto. Such a view, if this is all there is to it, suggests that salvation is based on works. The basic problem of this view is that it runs squarely in the face of the theology of Acts, namely: (a) repentance precedes baptism (cf. Acts 3:19; 26:20), and (b) salvation is entirely a gift of God, not procured via water baptism (Acts 10:43 [cf. v 47]; 13:38-39, 48; 15:11; 16:30-31; 20:21; 26:18).

2) The baptism referred to here is spiritual only. Although such a view fits well with the theology of Acts, it does not fit well with the obvious meaning of “baptism” in Acts—especially in this text (cf. 2:41).

3) The text should be repunctuated in light of the shift from second person plural to third person singular back to second person plural again. If so, it would read as follows: “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized at the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. . . .” If this is the correct understanding, then εἰς is subordinate to Μετανοήσατε alone, rather than to βαπτισθήτω. The idea then would be, “Repent for/with reference to your sins, and let each one of you be baptized.…” Such a view is an acceptable way of handling εἰς, but its subtlety and awkwardness are against it.

4) Finally, it is possible that to a first-century Jewish audience (as well as to Peter), the idea of baptism might incorporate both the spiritual reality and the physical symbol. In other words, when one spoke of baptism, he usually meant both ideas—the reality and the ritual. Peter is shown to make the strong connection between these two in chapters 10 and 11. In 11:15-16 he recounts the conversion of Cornelius and friends, pointing out that at the point of their conversion they were baptized by the Holy Spirit. After he had seen this, he declared, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit…” (10:47). The point seems to be that if they have had the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit via spiritual baptism, there ought to be a public testimony/acknowledgment via water baptism as well. This may not only explain Acts 2:38 (viz., that Peter spoke of both reality and picture, though only the reality removes sins), but also why the NT speaks of only baptized believers (as far as we can tell): Water baptism is not a cause of salvation, but a picture; and as such it serves both as a public acknowledgment (by those present) and a public confession (by the convert) that one has been Spirit-baptized. In sum, although Mantey’s instincts were surely correct that in Luke’s theology baptism was not the cause of salvation, his ingenious solution of a causal εἰς lacks conviction. There are other ways for us to satisfy the tension, but adjusting the grammar to answer a backward-looking “Why?” has no more basis than the notion that εἰς ever meant mere representation.”

 

Final thoughts: the fundamental problem with the groups who embrace baptismal regeneration is that their view challenges Paul’s main thesis that “God credits righteousness apart from works” (Rom. 4:6) and justification is through faith (sole instrument) alone (not by works). Although the “work” of water baptism is a biblical commandment, it is a work that man does. It does not contribute in any way, shape, or form to the atoning work of God the Son (gospel), which is the very ground (cause) of justification. So Paul says to the Corinthian church: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. . . .” (1 Cor. 1:17).                              

“A false Church with No significant truths”

The Fundamental Difference between Protestants and Roman Catholics is this: Rome does not see salvation from start to finish as the work of the triune God alone. Thus, justification before God (salvation) is not through faith alone by God’s grace alone, but, as Rome teaches, salvation comes by faith + the meritorious works that a man must do (including unquestionable devotion to Rome and “worship” to Mary (in the form of “hyperdulia”)

Paul’s main thesis in Romans: God’s method of justification does not change. He offeres Abraham (pre-law) and David (under the law) as his chief examples: “God credits [logizetai] righteousness chōris ergōn (apart from works, Rom. 4:6).

Although Catholics, in their mind, do not give Mary latria (Gk. latreia) “worship” reserved to God alone, by giving her so-called dulia (Gk. douleia), that is, hyperdulia (hyper-service/enslavement), they functionally give her religious “worship,” which is reserved for God alone and prohibited by God, who commanded His people: “You shall not worship them or serve [Heb. avad] them; for I the LORD your God, am a jealous God” (Exod. 20:5). In a religious context, Scripture makes no distinction between latreia and douleia – as Paul shows: “When you did not know God, you were slaves [douleuō] to those which by nature are no gods” (Gal. 4:8). Along with a functional “worship” to Mary, Rome asserts of her:

There can be no doubt . . . Mary was made mediatress of our salvation. . . . St. Bonaventure says that Mary is called “the gate of heaven because no one can enter that kingdom without passing through her . . . . Go to Mary, for she will intercede for thee with the Son. . . .” (St. Alphonsus Ligouri, The Glories of Mary, 160, 201–see below article on the Catholicism and the worship of Mary).

Rome denies that the work of Jesus Christ completely sufficient for salvation. That faith plus meritorious works must be employed for salvation (as Rome teaches) is, according to the Apostle Paul, Christological heresy (cf. Gal. 1:6-8)–it rejects the work of Christ and hence rejects the Person of the Son, Jesus Christ.

The Christ of Rome is Not a Diligent Savior; As Rome believes, He cannot keep baptized Christians In His Hand – they keep falling out – There is NO perseverance or Definite Atonement For anyone.

Rome’s doctrine of Purgatory, for example, is that when a Christian dies without un-forgiven mortal sins, but who retain either un-forgiven daily sins (viz. venial sins) or “temporal punishment” due for sins are “purged” before entering heaven, so as to be made perfect. In other words, they must suffer for these sins in a place of torment (not hell, though) to be, so to speak, “scrubbed up” (viz. purified) before they can dwell with God in heaven.

Thus, the work of Christ, according to Rome, is not completely sufficient to atone and *justify* a sinner–for one must suffer for his or her own atonement in order to become righteous (just) before God.

Though Scripture testifies in passages such as Hebrews 10:10-14

10:10: By his will we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

10:11: And every priest stands day after day serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again – sacrifices that can never take away sins.

10:12: But when this priest had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right hand of God . . .

10:14: For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy.

Romans 5:1-2:

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 5:2 through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory (NET; See Justification through Faith Alone).

As with Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, we must see Catholics as men and women in need of evangelism. One cannot biblically claim to be truly Christian and reject Christ as the sole means of salvation, justification through faith alone, and engage in creaturely worship.

A Biblical Perspective of Justification

Key issue: as noted below, the Greek verb dikaioō (“to justify”) does not have the lexical meaning of, “to make righteous,” as if the sinner is subjectively made righteousness (as in Catholicism). On the contrary, it denotes a declarative act of God pronouncing the guilty sinner innocent (cf. note 4 below).

The Apostle Paul’s epistle to the church at Galatia was specifically an anti-Judaizer polemic. Paul was very concerned as to the pervading heresy of the Judaizers. The Judaizers taught that “faith in Christ” was not enough. Hence, one had to add the Old Testament ordinances, especially circumcision, and the keeping of the ethical and ceremonial laws, to the finished work of Christ:

Some men came from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom [Law] of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1; cf. Gal. 2:1ff.).

This kind of teaching, in the apostles’ mind, was not a doctrinal on the rim issue. By teaching that man must co-operate with God’s grace by adding works (any works) to his faith, the Judaizers stripped Jesus’ atonement of its efficacy. So toxic was the works/salvation doctrine of the Judaizers that the apostle wasted no time (from his opening statement) in sharply anathematizing (i.e., pronouncing a divine curse) men and even angels from heaven who might promulgate it:

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed [anathema]! As we have said, before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Gal. 1:6-9; emphasis added).

Paul never gets tired impressing to the Galatians: justification is through faith alone; i.e., faith apart from, without, modifications or additions of works:

knowing the a man is not justified by the works [ex ergōn, lit. “from works”] of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified (Gal. 2:16; emphasis added).

You foolish Galatians, who as bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you; did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? . . . Even Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS (Gal. 3:1-3, 6; emphasis added).Paul further declares that it is dia tēs pisteōs (lit. “through the faith”) alone that enables one to be adopted as a son of God.

For you are all sons of God through faith [dia tēs pisteōs] in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized [i.e., unified, see above] into Christ have clothed yourself with [eis] Christ (Gal. 3:26-27; emphasis added).

Romans 4:4-8

It becomes increasingly clear as one works through the Pauline corpus that salvation by grace alone through faith alone is clearly the theological starting point for the apostle. Scripture is clear: the righteousness of Christ is the sole ground of justification (man excluded), and the sole means is faith alone apart from works. There is no shortage of passages that that clearly define this divine truth. Since a detailed analysis of each passage is beyond the scope of this work, it is enough to highlight a few where this grand them of justification by faith is presented. For example, in Romans 4:4-8, we read

Now to the one who works, his wages are not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessings on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT” (NASB).

Consider the following:

1. In verse 4, Paul explains that wages from works are not credited as a gift or a favor; but “what is due.” The literal rendering is even clearer: “Now the working one, the reward is not reckoned [or “imputed,” logizetai] according to grace [charin, Paul’s normal word for “grace”], but according to debt [misthos].” In other words, if an employer, after giving a paycheck to the employee, says, “Thanks a lot, here is your gift,” the employee would object stating that he or she “earned” (worked for) those wages! Exactly the argument Paul makes here: wages are the result or reward from works (viz. “what is due.”). In verse 5, he contrasts “wages” that one earns by works, with being “credited” or imputed as righteousness by faith (or “belief”) alone—apart from additions or modifications. This contrast cannot be missed: works vs. faith.

2. Paul presents a contrast between the working man as seen above and the man who does not work, but has faith: “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him . . . his faith is credited as righteousness.” The same participle is used for both verses 4 and 5. But Paul inserts a negation in verse 5:

v. 4: tō de ergazomenō (lit. “but the one working”).

v. 5: tō de mē ergazomenō (lit. “but the not working one”).

It is God, Paul says, “who justifies the ungodly.” The righteousness of Christ was imputed to the sinner’s account when they were justified and the sinner’s sins were imputed to Christ in His sacrificial death upon the cross over 2,000 years ago (cf. Rom. 5:8-10; 2 Cor. 5:19-21).

3. In verse 6, Paul now shows that David understood that “God credits righteousness apart from works [chōris ergōn; emphasis added].” Thus, verse 6 literally reads: “Blessed is the man to whom God imputes or credits righteousness without works [theos logizetai dikaiosunen choris ergon].” Again, Paul does not here limit works only to “works of the Law” (a Catholic assertion). Please note once again, Paul does not even here the phrase ho nomos (“the law”), but ergōn (“works”)—any works (cf. Rom. 5:1; Eph.2:8; 2 Thess. 2:13; Titus 3:5-7).

To avoid the plain and straightforwardness of Romans 4:4ff., some would appeal to Ephesians 2:10 (“created . . . for good works”). However, in the Ephesians passage Paul is simply teaching that salvation is chariti, (“by grace”), and dia pisteōs (“through faith”), and ouk ex ergōn (lit. “not from works”; 2:9). Hence, works are the result (not the cause) of genuine faith (as pointed out above). The Apostle James draws the same point: genuine faith does not result in a deedless life.

4. Then Paul quotes David (Psalm 32:1-2) in verses 7 and 8: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” When the sinner is justified through faith, he or she is legally declared: not guilty![1] Justification is a one-time declarative act in which God pronounces the sinner just or righteous. God does not count their trespasses against them (cf. 2 Cor. 5:19). Note the strong and specific language that Paul uses in verse 8. “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account” (emphasis added).

Many times the full import of particular passages is lost in translations, which is the case here. In first century Greek, there were several ways to negate (i.e., to say “no”) something. Each way had its own, to some extent, nuance. The strongest possible way, however, to deny or negate a future possibility was to use the double negative (ou mē) followed by an aorist subjunctive verb (i.e., generally, a verb of possibility). This construction was only used about eighty–five times in the New Testament. In verse 8, Paul uses this construction: “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account [ou mē logisētai; emphasis added].” The NIV reads, “whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Paul is denying that there is even a possibility (due to the aorist subjunctive verb logisētai [“take into account” or “count”]) that the Lord will count sins against the one justified. This same construction (i.e., double negative + the aorist subjunctive) is used in John 10:28:

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow me and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish [ou mē apolōntai]; and no one can snatch them out of my hand (vv. 27-28; emphasis added; cf. Deut. 32:39).[2]

There is not, Jesus says emphatically, even a possibility, of His sheep ever perishing. Jesus uses the double negative construction to emphasize that the eternal life that He gives is not dependent on man’s self-determination, for man can fail. But rather, eternal life is the promise to those who He has justified, to those whose sins will never be counted against them, to those who have been imputed with the righteousness of Christ to their account. They are declared righteous and they, by no means, will ever perish—not even a possibility!

To be sure, the Apostle Paul saw justification as an essential and fundamental to true biblical Christianity. To deny justification through faith alone (viz. without additions or modifications) was the same as denying the deity of Christ! This is clearly seen in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. As we have seen above, the main purpose of Paul’s letter was to pointedly refute the heresy of the Judaizers (cf. Acts 15:1ff.; Gal. 1:6ff.). To add to God’s work—is to add to Scripture. “Who,” Paul rhetorically asks, “will bring a charge against God’s elect? . . . who is the one who condemns? . .” (Rom. 8:33-34).[3] Therefore, how can anyone undo the work of God? It is God alone, who declares the sinner eternally righteous, and hence justified.

 

Romans 5:1

Therefore having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).

Paul constantly taught that justification comes not by works, formulas, or laws, but rather, a man is declared rightness before God through faith alone. Paul was theologically precise as to how the sinner is justified before the presence of God. Notice first that the sinner having been justified has peace with God. The participle dikaiōthentes, translated “having been justified,” is the aorist passive of dikaioō.[4] Grammatically, the aorist here tells us that the action of the participle dikaiōthentes (“having been justified”) was a past action (as rendered in most translations). Furthermore, the participle is in the passive voice. This indicates that the action of being justified was not by the sinner in any way (otherwise the verb would be in the active voice), but rather the justification was done to the sinner, in the past, which was solely a divine act of God (cf. Rom. 8:33). Thus, the ones having been justified now “have [echomen][5] peace [eirēnēn][6] with God [pros ton theon]” (emphasis added).

It is not the action or work of the sinner, which then results in justification, rather, Paul, simply affirms it is ek pisteōs (“through faith”). This is important to realize, that if Paul thought that “water baptism” or “works” were an aspect or a requirement of justification, he could have easily modified the clause to say, “Therefore since we have been justified by faith, baptism, and works, then let us have peace with God” (as in UPCI soteriology). Hence, “faith alone” is simply faith without additions or modifications. Justification is never deemed as a reward for meritorious works or performance, rather it is said to be a gift,[7] which cannot be earned. Paul was clear and consistent in all of his letters: justification is through faith alone, “apart from” works, any works. This is wonderful news. By faith alone the one God regenerated (“made alive”) has been legally declared righteous (justified) in the sight of God, whereby has present active and continuous peace, that is, final and permanent reconciliation and fellowship with God. In his solid exegesis of Romans, Wuest can say of this beautiful passage:

The word “therefore” reaches back to the contents of chapter four—therefore being justified, not by works (1-8), not by ordinances (9-12), not by obedience (13-25), but by faith, we have peace. The first three never give peace to the soul. Faith does . . . The context is didactic. It contains definite statements of fact. It is highly doctrinal in nature. It has to do with a sinner’s standing before God in point of law, not his experience. As Denney [James Denney, D. D.] says; “The justified have peace with God, . . . His wrath (1:18) no longer threatens them; they are accepted in Christ. It is not a change in their feelings which is indicated, but a change in God’s relation to them.[8]

Paul announces to the Christians at Ephesus: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8; emphasis added). “If it is by grace,” Paul says, “it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Rom. 11:6). Contrary to a faith + works = salvation soteriology, which groups such as the ICC, UPCI, LDS, JWs, Catholic Church, etc. hold to, Scripture presents that justification is through faith alone without any mention of additions or modifications such as the necessity of water baptism: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” the jailer asked, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). 

How are sins forgiven? Scripture is clear:

Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes on Him receives forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43; emphasis added).

Let us pause and think; why is it that over and over the New Testament teaches that eternal salvation is explicitly tied to faith or belief alone with no mention of water baptism if, in fact, water baptism was essential to one’s salvation?[9] Paul’s own statement refutes the notion that water baptism was an indispensable means of salvation: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. . . .” (1 Cor. 1:17).

Water Baptism: a Deed of Righteousness

In Scripture, water baptism is defined as an “act” or deed “to fulfill [not to receive] righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). Yet, Paul clearly refutes this idea:

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:5-6; emphasis added).

Again, the question to a Mormon or Roman Catholic (or any baptismal regenerationist whose church denies justification by faith alone) is this: “Can one walk in your church and be saved by faith/belief in Christ Jesus alone, without being water baptized in the name of Jesus?”[10] For these groups mention above, the answer is categorically: No. The most important issue that every man must deal with can be summed up in this question: “How is a man justified before God?” Is that not the question of the ages, from the first man to the present? How can man be reconciled to God? How can man be declared not guilty in the sight of a perfect God? I think we would do well to allow Jesus Christ, the authority on the matter, to answer:

“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).

Before leaving this verse, it would be wise to breathe in the grammatical significance of the words of Christ. Starting with the first clause: “He who hears [akouōn] My word, and believes [pisteuōn] Him who sent Me. . . .” The participle akouōn (“who hears”) is in the present tense, and the active voice. The participle pisteuōn (“believes”) is a present active participle. Note that both participles verbs are in the present tense, literally: “the one hearing and the one believing.”

Then the phrase: “has eternal life.” The verb echei (“has”) is the singular present active indicative of echō. The indicative mood of the verb indicates a clear presentation of certainty that the event will happen (i.e., “eternal life”). And because echei is in the present tense, it indicates that the one believing (apart from any works) possesses de facto eternal life presently and continuously. For this reason, those (the believing ones) will never come into God’s wrath and judgment (see John 10:28).

We now come to the last clause of the passage: “but has passed out of death into life.” The Greek verb metabebēken (“has passed”) is a perfect tense.[11] The perfect tense indicates a completed action that normally occurred in the past, which has continuous results into the present.[12] Hence, the reason as to why the one believing “does not come into judgment” is because he “has passed out” of perfectly, completely spiritual death. Therefore, the full force of what Jesus was literally saying can be translated:

He who presently and continuously hears My word and believes Me (who I am), I promise that he will presently and continuously possess, without end, eternal life, that is, salvation. And he will never come into condemnation. He has, in times past, been called to be declared righteous (justified) and then to be glorified, whereby passing out of death into life.[13]

Christian water baptism is never even a subject of discussion in John’s gospel. The main theme of the apostle was (a) the full deity of Jesus Christ (e.g., 1:1; 18, 8:24, 58; 20:28; etc.) and (b) eternal life/salvation (e.g., 1:12; 3:16; 6:37-40, 47; 10:27-29; etc.). Never once in John’s gospel is salvation connected to Christian water baptism. Salvation is exclusively by faith/belief alone. If water baptism were in fact an indispensable means of salvation as baptismal regenerationists teaches, you would think that John or Jesus would have taught it—at least once. That water baptism, circumcision, ordinances, rituals, ceremonial or ethical old covenant laws, or any works for that matter, adds (or is a part of) to one’s justification places one firmly under the anathema of the apostle: cursed by God. In the end, looking at all the non-Christian cults and world religions we do find doctrinal harmony on at least two points. The first, of course, is that they all reject Jesus Christ as eternal God, that is, they deny the doctrine of the Trinity in some way or other. And second, they all attack and deny the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Hence, they add some kind of creaturely work to their system of salvation.

Yes indeed, it is difficult for mere man to comprehend that through faith alone God freely justifies the sinner. However, we cannot rely on our faulty emotions to test truth. For, in spite of, our limited, finite, conventional wisdom and understanding, the Apostle Paul, who wrote as the Holy Spirit enabled him, declares:

Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works. . . . (Rom. 4:4-6; emphasis added; cf. John 6:47; 10:28-29; Rom. 5:1; 8:1; Eph. 2:8).

The Final Question

How is a man justified before God whereby his sins are forgiven? The baptismal regenerationists’ response is clear: repentance, water baptism (and for the UPCI: baptized in the name of Jesus” with the evidence of speaking in tongues),[14] and living by strict biblical obedience, and only to those is salvation achieved. In sharp contrast, Scripture does tell us clearly how a man is justified before God: “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes on Him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43; emphasis added).

Therefore having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1; emphasis added).

NOTES

[1] In Romans 8:28ff., Paul employs legal terms to underscore the status of the justified: “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” (v. 33); “Who is the one who will condemn?” (v. 34); “who [Jesus] also intercedes for us” (v. 34). These terms (“charge,” “condemn,” and “intercedes”) were used in court proceedings in the first century. Hence, Paul’s Roman audience would have understood clearly, as to what he was communicating.

[2] Jesus also uses the same construction in John 6:37: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out [ou mē ekbalō; emphasis added].”

[3] Cf. n. 35 above.

[4] The term “righteous” and “just” are translated form the same Greek word: dikaios (adj.), dikaiosunē (noun), and the dikaioō (verb). The noun dikaiosunē simply means the “quality or state of judicial correctness with focus on redemptive action, righteousness” (Walter Bauer’s, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed., ed. and rev. by Frederick W. Danker [Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000], 247). Commenting on forensic nature of the term in the OT, Protestant apologist James R. White notes:

In the Old Testament, the term “to justify” is often used in the judicial sense, that is, in the context of the court of law [e.g., Exod. 23:7; Deut. 25:1; Prov. 17:15; Isa. 5:23]. . . . Because the doctrine of justification by faith says justification is something God does based upon the work of Christ: it is a forensic declaration, not something that involves a subjective change of the believer (James R. White, The God who Justifies [Bethany House, 2001], 77, 79).

It should also be noted that the verb dikaioō does not mean, “to make” righteous as if the sinner is subjectively made righteousness (as in Catholicism). On the contrary, it denotes a declarative act of God pronouncing the guilty sinner innocent. As Lutheran scholar Leon Morris rightly explains:

How can the death of Christ change the verdict on sinners from “Guilty” to Innocent”? Some have said in effect, “It is by changing the guilty, by transforming them so that they are no longer bad people, but good ones. No one will want to minimize the transformation that takes place in a true conversion or to obscure the fact that this is an important part of being a Christian. However, such a transformation does not fit the justification terminology. It is sometimes argued that the verb normally translated “to justify” (dikiaoō) means “to make righteous” rather than “to declare righteous.” But this agrees neither with the word’s formation nor with its usage. Verbs ending in–oō and referring to moral qualities have a declarative sense; they do not mean “to make—.” And the usage is never for the transformation of the accused; it always refers to a declaration of his innocence (Leon Morris, New Testament Theology, [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986], 70).

[5] The verb echomen (“have”) is the present active indicative of echō. However, there is a textual variant concerning echomen (omicron [echomen] or omega [echōmen]?). Note that the majority rendering is the hortatory subjunctive echōmen (“let us have peace”). Even though the subjunctive is possible, I do not see it as contextually probable. Moreover, all the evidence considered suggests the present indicative as the greater witness (cf. Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition, [New York: United Bible Societies, 1994], 169-70; James R. White, The God who Justifies [Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001], 237, n. 8). Greek exegete Kenneth Wuest explains further:

The context is didactic. It contains definite statements of facts. It is highly doctrinal in nature. It has to do with the sinners standing before God in point of law, not his experience. . . . Furthermore, there is a difference between having peace with God and having the peace of God in the heart. The first has to do with justification and the second with sanctification. The first is the result of a legal standing, the second, the result of the work of the Holy Spirit. The first is static, never fluctuates, the second changes from hour to hour. The first, every Christian has, the second, every Christian may have. The first, every Christian has as a result of justification. What sense would there be in exhorting Christians to have peace when they already possess it? The entire context is one of justification. Paul does not reach the subject of sanctification until 5:12-21 where he speaks of positional sanctification and 6:1-8:27 where he deals with progressive sanctification (Wuest, Romans in the Greek New Testament, 76-77).

[6] The peace is the present possession of all who have been justified. The peace is the blessed result of what true justification is: abiding shalom with God Himself. No more enmity, no more hostility!

[7] Eternal life is never classified in the NT as misthon (“a reward” to the elect; cf. Rom. 4:4), but always as charisma (“a gift”).

[8] Wuest, Romans in the Greek New Testament, 75-76.

[9] E.g., John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; Acts 10:43; 16:30-31; Romans 4:4-11; 5:1; 10:9-13; Galatians 3:2-3; Ephesians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5-7; and 1 John 5:1, 11-13.

[10] Note, other than water baptism, “in the name of Jesus,” the UPCI teaches its followers that unless they speak in tongues they do not have the Holy Spirit and hence NO salvation. Their assertion is usually derived solely from the narrative accounts in Acts. It should be noted however that there are only three explicit references of the tongues phenomena in Acts: 2:1-4; 10:44-48; and 19:6. It is a hermeneutical error to take a narrative and force it to become a teaching. This violates the hermeneutical principle of the priority of didactic as defined in this chapter above. In point of fact, we read in the Acts account of many converts who were water baptized or said to have been “filled” with the Spirit and yet no mention of tongues (e.g., 2:37-41; 4:31; 6:3-6; 11:24). In fact, there are at least forty times that the Bible mentioned people as being “filled with,” “baptized in,” “fallen upon by,” “come upon by”, “poured upon by” the Spirit, and only three verses explicitly mention tongues (cf. Beisner, “Jesus Only” Churches, 64).In Ephesians 5:18 the Apostle Paul commands to “be filled with the Spirit” (en pneumati). However, grammatically en (“with”) followed by the dative case pneumati (“Spirit”) does not indicate content, but rather means (cf. Wallace, Beyond the Basics, 162, 372-75).

Hence: “be filled by means of the Spirit.” Further, Paul then characterizes the results of being filled: “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks . . . subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” Grammatically, these characteristics above are participles of result. Hence, they indicate the results of being filled by means of the Spirit—wherein tongues are not mentioned. The point is that Scripture knows nothing of the idea that the sole evidence of being filled, baptized, indwelled, empowered, etc. with/by the Holy Spirit is the gift of speaking in tongues. If tongues were the sole evidence, then Paul would not have taught that the gift of tongues is not bestowed on all (cf. 1 Cor. 12:30; note here the negation mē: “all do not [] speak in tongues” (emphasis added). The negation expects a negative answer: “No.” Hence, this passage is of no comfort for those who insist that Paul there was speaking of a different tongue, not the “gift.” Paul nowhere in his letters makes this distinction. Further, Paul taught that “all” Christians were baptized (by Christ) by means of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13; note the double usage of pantes [“all”]).

[11] Specifically, metabebēken is the perfect active indicative of metabainō.

[12] The perfect tense “indicates a completed action whose effects are felt in the present. The action normally occurred in the past” (William D. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993], 218-19). It denotes a “present state resulting from a past action” (Harold J. Greenly, A Concise Exegetical Grammar of New Testament Greek, 5th ed. [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986], 50). The import of the perfect tense can be seen in 1 John 4:2: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus has come [elēluthota] in the flesh is from God.” Thus, verb translated “has come” (elēluthota) is in the perfect tense; literally: “has come and remains in the flesh.” John’s letters (1 and 2), as with Paul’s letter to the Colossians, were a pointed refutation against the Docetic Gnostics (cf. chap. 2, n. 27) who denied that Jesus became flesh. Hence, John’s main refutation was made clear: Jesus has come and even remains (utilizing the perfect tense, elēluthota) in the flesh forever more (cf. 2 John 7).

[13] See also John 6:47; 1 John 5:12 where the present active indicative echei is utilized to indicate the certainty of one’s salvation.

[14] Ibid.

It is fair to say that most Christians, including major Christian leaders and popular TV preachers (esp. those on TBN) see the Roman Catholic Church as merely another *Christian* denomination. Mainly due to (a) a lack of theological understanding of essential biblical doctrines such as justification, (b) a lack of understanding as to what the Rome teaches on essential doctrines, and (c) a false perception of the Rome because of the humanitarian and “good works” preformed by Catholics.[1] What is seemly clear, unfortunately, is that most Christians have never objectively investigated nor studied the distinctive theology of the Roman Church (let alone studied the *fundamental* doctrines of their own faith!).

I will say at the onset, theologically I see Rome as a false church with no significant truths. 

Along with the vast heretical Roman Catholic doctrines such as baptismal regeneration, Purgatory, the idolatrous Marian doctrines, Rome’s teaching of a transubstantial Eucharist mutilates the biblical view of the incarnation of the Son, and that salvation is through faith alone by Christ alone.      

Mary Worship and Douleia

The Roman Church is a life embracing and practicing perpetual idolatry in giving Mary what is reserved for God alone—namely, religious worship.  

In general: Because of Roman Catholic tradition, Roman apologists lack greatly as to the lexical-semantic of the Greek noun douleia (Latin, dulia) and the verb douleuō in a religious context – in both in the OT (LXX) and NT. Simple rejoinder here, which does not require a lengthy corrective. To avoid the charge of idolatrous worship to Mary, Rome has developed a three-tier scheme in which they distinguish between so-called service or honor given to Saints and Mary, and worship given to God denoted by three Latin terms: dulia (service, given to so-called saints), hyper-dulia (super-service, given to Mary), and latreia (worship, given to God).    

  • Dulia, from the Greek noun, duleia (slavery, bondage, service), the verb being douleuō meaning, “to serve, be enslaved, in bondage,” which is given to all so-called Saints (veneration).
  • Hyper-dulia (“super slavery, service”) given to Mary alone.
  • Latria from the Greek noun, latreia (“the service or worship of God” (Rom. 12:1; Heb. 9:1), and the verb being latreuō, “to give religious honor, worship” (Dan. 7:14; Luke 4:8; Phil. 3:3; Heb. 9:14), which is reserved for God alone.

This distinction of three kinds of service/worship biblically is not valid. First, Scripture nowhere is it exampled nor teaches that Christians should give dulia (duleia) and especially the Roman concocted term, hyper-dulia to creatures, in a religious context. Second, this distinction of three kinds of service/worship biblically is not valid.

Semantically, to give dulia to anyone in a religious context is the same as giving latria (latreia)—they both denote worship reserved for God alone. Hence, by Catholics praying to creatures giving them dulia (religious veneration), bowing before statues of Mary is the very thing in which God prohibits.[1] Paul strongly expresses this point in Galatians 4:8, “When you did not know God, you were slaves [‘you served,’ from douleuō] to those which by nature are no gods.” Paul was clear: “to serve” (to give douleia, i.e., dulia) anyone other than God in a religious context is wrong—it is patent idolatry. Paul sees the unconverted pagans as doing this: “When you did not know God”—you were giving dulia to creatures.

The Idolatry of Rome’s Marian Doctrines. Alphonsus Liguori, was a “Canonized Saint” (1839), and declared a “Doctor of the Church” in 1871 by Pope Pius IX. As of 1997, there were only 33 Doctors of the Church with Alphonsus being one of them. This so-called “Saint” and Doctor of Roman Theology, writes in his renowned massive book, The Glories of Mary:

“On account of the merits of Jesus, the great privilege has been granted to Mary to be the mediatrix of our salvation” (169).  

“So, says St. Bernard, We have access to Jesus Christ only through Mary. And St. Bernard gives us the reason why the Lord decreed that all men should be saved by the intercession of Mary, namely that through Mary we might be received by that Saviour who, through Mary, has been given to us” (191-92). 

“If you ever wish for another advocate with this mediator, invoke Mary, for she will intercede for you with the Son. . . . St. Bonaventure, too: He who neglects the service of Mary Shall die in sin . . . He who has not recourse to thee, oh Lady, will not reach paradise . . . That those from whom Mary turns away her face, not only will not be saved, but can have no hope of salvation” (228, 256). 

“Mary is called the Gate of Heaven, because no one can Enter into heaven, as St. Bonaventure declares, Except through Mary” (744).

These are only a few samples of authoritative Roman Catholic voices affirming Rome’s distinctive Marian doctrines. These doctrines are purely outside of the Scripture; the NT knows nothing of this. In fact, aside from a passing reference in Galatians 4:4 of Jesus being born of a virgin (without mentioning Mary by name), after Acts 1:14, Mary is never mentioned again in any NT Epistle. Neither Jesus, nor any of His disciples, nor any NT Apostle prayed to her or referred to Mary as “Our Queen, “Our Life,” “Our Hope,” Our Mediatress, Our Advocate, Our Salvation, etc.

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NOTES

[1] Regarding idols and false gods, God commands in Exodus 20:5: “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” The term “serve” in the LXX is from latreuō, which is translated from the Hebrew word abad. Note that “to serve” is the most common translation of abad in English translations (as in Exod. 20:5). Moreover, the LXX translates abad as both “to serve” or “to worship.” Again, they mean the same thing in a religious context. Hence, the NIV renders Exodus 20:5 as “You shall not bow down to them or worship [abad] them.” 

 

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