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Monday, June 14, 2010

Dear Catholic Friend

By Justin Edwards

Dear Catholic Friend,

I love you. I want to make that clear. I love you enough to share the Truth with you. This post is not about bashing the Catholic church or Catholics, and I pray it does not come across as such. I simply love you and I want you to join me in heaven one day. I ask that you continue reading and allow me to explain.

You have probably had conversations with protestant Christians before, and it's likely been argued who was right or who was wrong. Issues about the Catholic church and its teachings were brought up, and you probably found no shortage of reasoning to support your religious beliefs.

Please allow me to be frank with you: it matters not who is right or who is wrong. It matters not what you believe to be the correct set of beliefs. The only thing that matters is the truth. Understanding and coming to a saving knowledge of the Truth is the most important thing you will ever do in this life. I compel you to take some time and consider what I present to you. Surely it is worth your time to determine if your beliefs are true, or whether you have been deceived. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5,

 5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

The Bible is clear that deception and lies abound, and if this is true, we must consider where those lies and deceptions are present.

There are numerous resources to explain the trappings and false teachings of the Catholic church. The most critical false teaching is the Catholic doctrine of salvation as it contradicts the biblical pathway of salvation. As is the case with many other Catholic doctrines, the gospel of the Catholic church is fundamentally opposed to the Word of God. I love you enough to tell you this. It gives me no joy to have this discussion, as it may very well divide us. But division is no excuse to compromise the truth, and if one is deceived into believing something contrary to the fundamentals of Christianity, it is my responsibility to share this with you so that you might come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. I love you enough to tell you. I want you to be with me in heaven. I urge you then with all of my heart to please continue reading.

The first resource I want to share with you is a message from Mark Cahill. Mark was born into a Catholic family but was saved by the blood of Jesus Christ more than 25 years ago. In his message posted below, he compares the official and current Catechism of the Catholic Church  to Scripture. I plead with you to consider how the catechisms contradict the Word of God, and by doing so, you may be on the road to reading the Bible for yourself and coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In no way is this an exhaustive study of Roman Catholicism versus the Bible, but it is certainly a beginning for future study and consideration.

To stream via Windows Media Player: Roman Catholicism versus the Bible
To download mp3 directly: Roman Catholicism versus the Bible

For your convenience as you listen to the audio message and for future reference, I have listed below several of the catechisms Mark addresses and the Scriptures that refute them. I encourage you to listen to the audio for an explanation of each. Please prayerfully consider the implications of these teachings and how they cannot possibly lead to saving faith in Jesus Christ. I encourage you to obtain a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and compare to the Word of God for yourself. You can also open up the Catechism link in a new window to view online.

Paragraph 97

97 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God"...

 The Bible: 

Colossians 2:8-10 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Here, the Catholic church teaches that tradition PLUS the Bible makes up the Word of God. The Bible, however, warns us to beware of traditions of men and that Christ, who is the Word, makes us complete. 

Paragraph 181

181 "Believing" is an ecclesial act. the Church's faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith. the Church is the mother of all believers. "No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother" (bold emphasis mine)

 The Bible: 

John 6:44 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
How can the Catholic church claim motherhood of all believers when the church was not even established before Jesus spoke these words in John 6:44?

Paragraph 868

868 The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation...
You will find nowhere in Scripture that the church possesses the fullness of the faith or the totality of the means of salvation. Jesus Christ is the fullness of the faith and the totality of salvation, and any tradition or doctrine beyond Him and His finished work on the cross is utterly unbiblical. 

Paragraph 1493

1493 One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. the confession of venial faults, without being necessary in itself, is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. (bold emphasis mine)
Paragraph 1461

1461 Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation,65 bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops' collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (bold emphasis mine)

 The Bible 

Matthew 9:6 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
Mark 2:7  7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Psalm 51:4  4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
Only God has the power to forgive sins, no one else. We may ask forgiveness from someone we have offended, and they have the responsibility to forgive us of our offense, but every sin we commit is against God. It is He, and He alone, who can forgive our trespasses.

Paragraph 1129

 1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.

The Bible 
Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
 The Catholic Church has added works as a means of salvation. Further:

Paragraph 1257 

1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. (bold emphasis mine)
Paragraph 1263

1263 By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. (bold emphasis mine)

 The Bible

1 Corinthians 1:17 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
Salvation comes by the grace of God alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone as Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly teaches. Moreover, if baptism was required for salvation, Paul would have been sent to baptize, not preach the gospel. Adding baptism as a requirement to salvation strips away the doctrine of grace, and thereby strips away true salvation if one puts their trust in the baptism and not in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins.

Paragraph 1031

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.604 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. the tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire
Did you catch that? The church "formulated" this "tradition" at the Councils of Florence and Trent, which took place in the 15th and 16th centuries, respectively.

The Bible

1 John 4:10 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Jesus Christ was the propitiation for our sins. He satisfied the debt of sin once and for all. Nothing else must be done to satisfy this penalty. The Catholic church, however, teaches that one must go through this purification process in order to gain entry into heaven. The Bible, contrarily, teaches that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). Jesus said "It is finished", and that means there is no more payment for sin to be made. As CARM indicates regarding purgatory:
  1. It is not explicitly found in the Bible.
  2. It implies that the righteousness of Christ does not cleanse from all sin.
  3. It implies that justification is not by faith alone.
  4. It implies that there is something we must do in order to be cleansed of sin.
To learn more about purgatory, please visit these links:

Paragraph 494

494 ...without a single sin to restrain her...
 Paragraph 411

411...Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life. (bold emphasis mine)

The Bible
Luke 1:46-47 46 And Mary said:

      “ My soul magnifies the Lord,
       47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
If Mary was perfect, with no original sin, having "committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life", why is it that she needed a Savior? And because all men are appointed to die once because of the consequence of sin, the Catholic church had to formulate yet another doctrine to appease this false teaching:

Paragraph 966

966 "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things... (bold emphasis mine)
The Catholic church teaches Mary did not die. So not only are they in error to teach Mary was sinless, they required another lie to account for the first deception.

Paragraph 2677

By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the "Mother of Mercy," the All-Holy One.
This is blasphemy. There is only one All-Holy One and He is the Lord of lords and King of all kings. He is the Lord God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come!

Paragraph 969

969 ...Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation .... Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix." (bold emphasis mine)

The Bible

1 Timothy 2:5 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
1 John 2:1  1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Hebrews 9:15 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
John 16:7 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
Psalm 54:4 4 Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life.
Do you see what has happened here? The Catholic church has given Mary the same names as Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Mediatrix, Advocate, Helper). Though she is blessed among all women, the Catholic church has exalted her to a place she does not deserve. Many of the names given to her are reserved for Christ alone. To review a list of prayers to Mary, please see A Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

These teachings of the Catholic church are merely the tip of the iceberg. Future posts will address the many other errors and false teachings of the Catholic church. It has not been my intention to bash Catholics or the Catholic church, but rather to share the truth in love and hold the teachings of the Catholic church against the absolute truth of the Word of God.

I have family and friends who adhere to Catholicism. I have you all in my prayers that you will come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is true freedom to be had in Christ, and as He says Himself, the truth will set you free. Free from the bondage of a works-based system where you will never be able to attain salvation by any work of your own, and free from the weight of sin that would condemn us all to an eternal hell had it not been for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, who offers us all the gift of grace through faith in Him, and Him alone.

This is a lot of information, admittedly. Please take time to listen to Mark Cahill's audio message and consider what I have presented to you. I will post more in the future, Lord willing.

Acts 20:26-31 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God[c] which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.


  1. Bryan, how does one receive eternal life?

  2. By entering into and persevering in a Life in communion with Jesus Christ, who is Lord.

  3. Ordinarily, he or she enters into it through baptism* and perseveres in it by receiving communion, avoiding sin, and reconciling themselves to God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation when they drift out of communion.

    *Baptism is not absolutely necessary as there are extraordinary circumstances where baptism is not possible. The thief on the cross was not baptized, and Jesus said he would enter paradise. Furthermore, the Church is clear that being in the catechumenate (the process by which people become Catholic) is sufficient if one dies during this stage, which is before baptism. This is because the Chruch recognizes that Christ is at work in their lives... its kind of like a baby being formed in the womb and then actually being born.

  4. Do you have Scripture to support this? Especially infants being saved by baptism before they can even confess they are sinners?

  5. Yes, I do. I will even show them to you in just second, but first, I want to ask you how strong a scriptural argument needs to be in order to sway your judgement. You see, the Bible was never intended to be a manual for ones life or a manual for doctrine. We can use it to test doctrine and to see whether a prophet is false or not, but we shouldn't use it to prove every doctrinal statement. Why? Because that was not the intention of the Bible, and if we are to honor this revelation of God, the best thing we can do is place it in its proper context which is a story of God's incredible love for his people. (Also, please see point 2 from my original response)

    So with that in mind, I'll lay out the scriptures that demonstrate the doctrines of the Catholic Church in question are part of the authentic work of the Holy Spirit...

    1) Baptism: John 3:5... Nicodemus said to him, "'How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother's womb and be born again, can he?' Jesus answered, 'Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.'"

    Being born of water and spirit is clearly a reference to baptism. It marks a time when people enter into the life of Christ, who himself was baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist.

    2) Receiving the Eucharist: John chapter 6 is very clear. So clear that everyone before the 16th century knew exactly what Jesus meant. Early Christians were mocked and accused of being cannibals by the Romans. Please see point 4 of my critique for more scriptures, including Ephesians 5 which in which paul declares that the Church is to become "one flesh" with Christ.

    3) Avoiding Sin: Pretty straight forward and I doubt you'd take much issue with this one, but it is especially evident in the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:11).

    4) Perseverance: Again, I doubt you'd have too much issue with this one, but it is clear that those who once believed can turn back towards evil: 2Pet 2:20-21. I also like 1Cor 9:24-27.

    5) Christ shares the ministry of forgiving sins with people. See John 20:21-23. (Scripture itself is inconclusive as to whether or not this was just the apostles or any christian... which reinforces why we need an authoritative Church to help us interpret)

    6) Regarding baptism of infants: First of all, there is not a single verse in the bible that says baptism is only for adults, so I believe that the burden of proof is on you in this one. In Acts 10 and 16, we have examples of entire households being baptized, and nowhere does it mention anybody was ineligible for baptism because of their age.

    ...) So as you can see, there is systematic evidence in the Bible that outlines on origin or rebirth using water (baptism) a need for receiving the Body and Blood of Christ (Eucharist), a need to persevere, a possibility of falling away, an ability to have sins forgiven by other people. The Catholic view is scriptural... admittedly, the entire doctrines discussed are not completely contained in scripture, but nowhere do the doctrines conflict with scripture.

  6. "You see, the Bible was never intended to be a manual for ones life or a manual for doctrine. We can use it to test doctrine and to see whether a prophet is false or not, but we shouldn't use it to prove every doctrinal statement."

    Bryan, the above quote is a lie from the darkest pits of hell. The Bible is absolutely our life manual. It is God's authority to us for everything we must know about morality and salvation. That is why it is the only source we have for moral absolutes. It is the only guide we have to guide us into pursuing holiness. It is the only guide we have for church operation and church discipline. You have essentially blasphemed the Word of God by making such a statement. No wonder you put so much faith in religion - you reject the sovereign authority of God's Holy Word.

    Your reference to baptism - we are saved by the grace of God alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). This occurs when one realizes they are a sinner in need of a Savior, puts their full trust in Him for the forgiveness of sins, believes Him to be the Son of God manifest in the flesh, who died on the cross and was raised from the dead. Confessing Jesus as Lord through faith and repentance leads to salvation. An infant cannot make this confession to God, so a decision made by one's parents on behalf of the baby cannot possibly lead to salvation.

    So Jesus ate His own flesh and drank His own blood in the upper room?

    We are saved by grace, not by avoiding sin. Pursuing holiness and sanctification lead to avoiding sin, but we don't stop sinning in order to be saved. Salvation and sanctification is a sovereign act of God, and everyone born again will indeed be sanctified.

    2 Peter 2:20-21 is a reference to false prophets, who knew the way of righteousness, but were never known by God. Even the demons believe God is one and tremble, but they are not saved. Claiming one can lose their salvation is to deny the sovereignty of God. He is the author and finisher of faith. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 is a reference to perseverance of the saints. Because God finishes what He started, all saints will finish. To say otherwise is to claim God is insufficient and powerless to keep His promises.

    John 20:21-23 is a reference to all believers. If you offend me, I can forgive you for the offense against me, but ultimately you sin against God, and He is the only one who can forgive you for offending Him. Neither I, nor a priest, has any power to forgive you of sins against Almighty God.

    The only think I can tell you at this point is to study the Bible for yourself and call on the Holy Spirit to guide you. I encourage you to read the Gospel of John, Book of Romans, and 1 John. Read them through. The same religion you claim must interpret Scripture for you is the same religion who invented indulgences and purgatory, of which neither is biblical and indulgences have been removed because the Catholic church got caught in a lie. If the Church was sovereign in these matters, their interpretation would be perfect.

    Salvation is about a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. It's not about tradition, or religion, or good deeds, or vain repetitious prayers, or idols, or rituals, or any other form of acts to prove one's self-righteousness. It's about Jesus and Jesus alone, and what He has done for you. The work is finished, the price has been paid, all that remains is coming to Him with nothing in your hands. If you want to know the Gospel message, see the next post - let Him who has ears, hear, and let him who has eyes, see, so that he may turn to God and be healed:

  7. "Repent and believe". Repent how? Realize you're a sinner. How do you do that? Realize you miss the mark by being a Law breaker. What is the Law? It is God's standard of perfection. Why? Because He is moral, holy, righteous, and just. What do you need? A Savior, desperately.

    Why? Because your sin has condemned you to hell. What is hell? The consequence of your sin. Why? Because the wages of sin is death. How so? Because there is only one who is righteous. Who? Jesus Christ.

    Who is He? He is God manifest in the flesh. What did He do? Having been born of a virgin and lived a perfect life, He became sin and a sacrifice to atone for your sins. Why did He do that? Because the debt of sin requires a blood sacrifice. What did this do? It satisfied the debt so God could forgive the sins of the whole world.

    How am I forgiven? Confessing your sins before God so He can impute the righteousness of Christ to you. What does this do? It justifies you before God and cleanses you from all unrighteousness.

    Why did He do this? Because He loves you unconditionally, and while you were yet a sinner, He died for you anyway. He laid His life down for you. Wow, that's love! It sure is, it's the greatest form of love.

    Anything else? Trust in Him completely. How? Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and God raised Him from the dead 3 days later. What does all this mean? It means you have turned from yourself and turned to God as the only hope for your life, and you have conceded to His authority and rule. Why is that it? Because of His grace and mercy.

    Isn't repentance a work? No, it's part of saving faith and God grants it to you. What next? Pursue Him, seek Him, love Him, surrender to Him daily, and share Him. How do I do this? Pray and read, read and pray. What happens? You will be changed from the inside out and conformed to the likeness of Christ.

    Do I owe Him anything? No, it's free - but, live by this: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

    Will you repent and believe?

  8. "Bryan, the above quote is a lie from the darkest pits of hell. The Bible is absolutely our life manual. It is God's authority to us for everything we must know about morality and salvation. That is why it is the only source we have for moral absolutes. It is the only guide we have to guide us into pursuing holiness. It is the only guide we have for church operation and church discipline."

    And where did you get that idea? It isn't in the Bible. It isn't in history before 16th century. It is made up and can't be shown through reason. In fact, the fact that we have a Bible at all, as I said in point 2, is because we have an authoritative Church. Everytime you read your Bible, you implicitly assent to this Church who determined which documents concerning Jesus were authoritative. Your entire belief system is completely irrational on this point. Scripture itself even says the Church is the pillar of Truth (1Tim3:15).

    "You have essentially blasphemed the Word of God by making such a statement. No wonder you put so much faith in religion - you reject the sovereign authority of God's Holy Word."

    Actually, your views are blasphemy because you don't place the Bible in its proper context. Jesus Christ is the Word of God (John 1:1). You follow a book. I follow a person. A person that I have a living relationship with.

    - Ok, well where does it say we shouln't baptize infants? And is someone who believes in the Lord and not baptized born again by water?

    -Of course we are saved by grace. Nothing I typed earlier is anything but Grace. It is Grace that calls us to baptism. It is Grace that calls us to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus. It is Grace that helps us avoid sin. If you don't cooperate with the grace that God gives you and fall into sin.

    - Yes, 2Pet is about false prophets, but nowhere does it say that they had never known the living God. In fact verse 15 says, "Abandoning the straight road, they have gone astray." In order to abandon the straight road, they had to have been on it. Your doctrine is made up and unbiblical. In fact, if people could not fall away, why would Peter have written this at all?

    -Claiming one can lose their salvation is absolutely not to deny the sovereignty of God. The idea that God is sovereign and that people can reject His sovereignty are not opposed to each other.

    - Regarding John 20 and confession, where does it say that. My Bible says whose sin you forgive. It says nothing about a particular type of sin. All sin is against God.

    - Of course only God can forgive sin. But he collaborates with others to bring this forgiveness in the sacrament, just as he collaborates with men and women to create new life. Please read point 8 of my original response for more.

    - Ok. I will continue to study my Bible and I will continue to ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in this.

    - Um, we still believe in indulgences.

    - If you believe that sanctification is necessary for heaven, you believe in Purgatory as well. Purgatory is most simply defined as the cross applied to the final sanctification of one's justified soul after their death.

    - Sure. Salvation most definitely is about a personal relationship with Jesus. It is about having a Life in Christ. I don't understand how anything I've said could possibly be construed as NOT having a relationship with Jesus Christ or be seen as anything done apart from the work of Christ. Only the most hard hearted or irrational person would demonize 1 billion believers by perpetuating lies that they don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ by virtue of how their relationship with Jesus is playing out in their lives.

    Ok. I'll read your next post, but rather than respond to it, I am going to write one of my own.

  9. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 1 Timothy 3:16

    Jesus is the Word in the flesh, and the Bible is the written Word. Applying the written Word to ones life is by virtue following Jesus Christ.

    If you were saved by grace alone, you wouldn't need the Catholic church to save you.

    Salvation, not sanctification, is necessary for heaven. When one is born again, they are immediately justified, sanctified, and washed. They are positionally sanctified and perfected as they have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them. Purgatory denies the finished and sufficient work on the cross.

    If all sin is against God, man cannot forgive sins against God.

    People who fall away have never been regenerated. Here's a timely article that came out today:

    Justification is by faith ALONE, therefore adding any other demand is to believe in another gospel. The Catholic church has placed anathema on sola fide, therefore the Catholic church as placed anathema on itself.

  10. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 1 Timothy 3:16

    I don't understand why protestants love this verse so much, since it doesn't say what they want it to. You seem to think it reads like this: "ONLY scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching..." But it doesn't say that. I agree scripture is useful for these things. It is implied by me being a member of the Catholic Church.

    "If you were saved by grace alone, you wouldn't need the Catholic church to save you."

    This would be true unless God made a decision to dispense his Grace through the body of Christ, the Church, which is exactly what I believe to be the case. If this is true, you are missing out on Grace because you are not a member of the Church.

    "The Catholic church has placed anathema on sola fide, therefore the Catholic church as placed anathema on itself."

    We did put anathema on Sola Fide. Very early on in our history, actually. Read the letter of James. A faith without works is dead. It is my position that God is constantly giving us grace to perform good works, and we must cooperate with this Grace.

  11. Works don't save you, you work because you are saved. You are not justified by your works, but your works are evidence of your justification.

  12. What if someone who is justified by faith chooses to do something awful like murder or rape?

  13. The born again believer would not commit premeditated murder, and they certainly would not commit rape.

    1 John 1 5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

    1 John 2 3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

    1 John 2 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

    1 John 2 24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.

    1 John 2 28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when[f] He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

    1 John 3 4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

    7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

    1 John 3 24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

    1 John 4 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can[c] he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

    1 John 5 1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our[a] faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

    1 John 5 18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself,[e] and the wicked one does not touch him.
    19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
    20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

    21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

  14. A couple of things:

    1) Do you sin? If you do, then you must not be born again, because a born again believer does not sin, in your interpretation of Christianity. You could wiggle out of that by arguing that there are different degrees of sin, but that sounds like a Catholic belief, so clearly, it must be wrong.

    2) Does God remove our Free Will when we accept him into our life? If he does remove free will, then don’t you imply that he made a mistake when he created the world because he gave us freedom in the first place? If you do believe it was a mistake that he gave us freedom, then you disagree with scriptures and you disagree with God, because after giving us free will he said it was "Good" that we have free will.

    I answer these dilemmas like this:
    1) When Christ chose us to follow him we started on a journey toward holiness. A process in which we become more and more holy by conforming our lives more deeply to Jesus, who is absolutely holy. It is not a onetime decision, but a decision we make at every moment of every day, and unfortunately, sometimes we choose not to follow Christ and we choose sin. God does not abandon us when we sin but neither does he simply turn away and ignore it… he only uses the guilt and suffering our sin causes to draw closer to us. So, YES! A “Born again believer” can commit serious sin (I’ll get to your scriptures in a moment).

    2) God does not remove free will from his plan of salvation. As He draws closer to us we slowly become less inclined to sin and more free from sin. Jesus removed the bonds once and for all when he died for us (we are saved), but the cross is being applied in our lives right now (we are being saved, as Paul says in 1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Cor. 2:15, and Phil. 2:12), so that at the fullness of time we will be free from sin forever (we will be saved).* God’s grace is not weak, so that he has to change our nature in order to save us and keep us from sin. God’s grace is strong, so that he can redeem our entire nature including our free will. That is why, as a Catholic, I say “grace builds on nature” as opposed to “grace changes our nature.”

  15. Now to your scriptures, none of which say that you can’t fall away from God after believing in him… they all show the power of grace in our lives, but they don’t talk about human weakness. I will not respond in order, but rather, I will place the verses that I think are most problematic for your position first, so that you can respond to them and think about them more…

    1John 2:28… Whoa… look at this! In an earlier comment, you said, “2 Peter 2:20-21 is a reference to false prophets, WHO KNEW THE WAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, but were never known by God.” But this scripture which you are now citing says, “you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness is begotten by him.” Based on the context of the passage from 2nd Peter we can state with certainty that these false prophets not merely knew the way of righteousness, but acted righteous as well. It clearly says that these prophets had at one time “escaped the defilements of the world,” which meant that they acted righteous. This is strengthened by the fact that they “turned back” from the holy commandment handed down, which means at one time they were following the commandments. But in 1John we see that everyone who acts righteous is begotten by God (born again), meaning that these false prophets were begotten by God (born again), at least at a point in time. So it seems as though these passages, when put together, actually suggest that somebody can be righteous and born again and then at some later point in time not be righteous. How do you reconcile these passages with your theology? Is there a difference between being “begotten by God” and “being born again?” (I have friends who say they are the same thing, but I don’t want to impose their possible ignorance on you) This seems important for you to have to answer.

    1 John 3:4… From your theological perspective, I take this to mean that because you are saved you do not sin???? Is that really true? Do you really not sin? I sin. It seems to me like what this verse means is that when we sin we no longer abide in God. We choose to go from a state in which we abide in God to a state in which we do not abide in God. 1 John 2:24 was pretty clear, I thought, that we have to abide in God to be saved. Now I’m reading that we cannot abide in him and sin. Unless you admit to me and confess that you do not sin, or that anybody does not sin after they are saved, 1John 3:4 and 1John 2:24 prove, quite clearly I might add, that you can go from a state of abiding in God’s love and being saved, to a state where you do not abide in God’s love and are not in a state of being able to be saved.

    1 John 1:5… I don’t see how this proves your point. It says some people walk in Darkness and some people walk in light. Does it say that once somebody walks in light they can’t choose to walk in darkness at a later point? No. It does not. This doesn’t prove your point.

    1 John 2:3 Um… how does this one prove your point? In fact, it proves my point, because it recognizes a struggle every Christian has to keep the commandments and not to turn away from God and fall back into sin.

    1John 2:15… again, this proves my point and not yours. Doing the will of God is a lifetime decision, a decision we must make at every moment of the day.

    1John 2:24… yes, we must abide. This verse does not say what you want it to. It has a past, present, and future element to it. It does not say that once you accept truth you will automatically abide for the rest on your life. It says “if” what you heard (past) abides (present) you will (future) have life. The orthodox doctrine of salvation is not that we are saved at a moment, but that we are saved, being saved (1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Cor. 2:15, and Phil. 2:12O), and will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15).

  16. Justin,

    A quick suggestion. Sometimes when threads like this get real long we can spend so much time arguing one thing that we sometimes inadvertently skip over points that the other person felt were particularly important. Its happened to me so far, and its probably happened to you. Just to tie up loose ends, I'd like to give you an opportunity to re-ask a few questions you think I may have skipped over, so that I make sure I respond.

  17. Hi Brian,

    I'm glad to see we are getting into the meat of Scripture, and I appreciate the respectful tone we have come to. I'll do my best to address each of your points in your recent posts.

    1) I do sin, yes. Every born again believer does. To deny this is to call God a liar. The difference, however, is whether one is controlled by sin. In Romans 6, we see the contrast between the believer and the unbeliever. When the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the regenerated, the become a slave to righteousness and a slave to Christ. The unbeliever is a slave of sin and unrighteousness. It is as follows:

    Romans 6: 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
    20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    There are not varying degrees of sin as you suggested I may believe. When we commit sin, we break the perfect Law of God. It is not so much the sin that defiles us, but the condition and motive of our heart that leads to condemnation. Galatians 5:19-21 talks about the works of the flesh being manifest in the heart of the unbeliever. This means that their life is marked by a habitually sinful lifestyle. This is willful disobedience and it indicative that one has not been regenerated because the one who has been regenerated has the seed of God planted in them. This produces the fruit of the Spirit which includes the greatest commandment - love. While the Christian may indeed sin, the Holy Spirit will convict them and lead them to repentance. The unbeliever, however, may justify, deny, or be insensitive to their sin altogether. When John talks about the believer not sinning anymore, he is referring to habitual, willful, continuous sin. Again, this is indicative of one who has not been born again because the believer is no longer a slave to sin, but rather a slave to God and the things of God....

  18. 2) Regarding free will, we indeed have free will but it is within the context of God's sovereignty. Salvation does not start with us and any decision we make. It starts with God who quickens us to respond in faith and repentance (John 6:44, Acts 5:31, and Acts 11:18). Salvation, therefore, is a sovereign act of God. It is by His grace that we may have faith. It has nothing to do with ourselves lest we should boast. Neither do we have the ability to lose salvation once it has been given to us.

    I hope you would agree that God's Word is infallible, therefore it contains no error and cannot contradict itself. There are 2 passages that are abundantly clear that we cannot lose our salvation. When other Scriptures seem to contradict these, we must delve deeper into the context and meaning of those passages because they cannot be in disagreement with other Scriptures. The two passages I am referring to are as follows:

    Romans 8 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    John 10 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

    These Scriptures are clear - nothing in ALL of creation can snatch born again believers out of the hand of God because nothing in ALL of creation can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

    We also see in John 15:16 that we did not choose Jesus, but He chose us. And in John 6:37 we see that Jesus will not cast out any the Father gives Him.

    We also see once we are born again, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Once we are given the Holy Spirit, He resides within us forever (John 14:16). This seal of the Holy Spirit is God's deposit on our inheritance until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 4:30). If we do not have the Spirit of Christ, then we do not belong to Christ. But if we are sealed, we are saved forever. Therefore, once one receives the Spirit, they are guaranteed the inheritance of eternal life...

  19. I think I will stop there for now so to avoid your concern (which I agree with) that we may not address each other's points. I will pick back up in the morning and address your second post regarding the Scriptures of 1 John. Hopefully that will give you some time to read my response to your points 1 and 2. If you respond before the morning, please know I will first be responding to the comments on 1 John. Hope you have a good night. :)

  20. Ok... I'll respond to dilemma #2, which you responded to.

    I'll begin with Romans 8 38: "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

    Amen! NOTHING can separate us from the Love of God. But is everyone that God loves saved? I believe that God loved the WORLD, so he sent us his only begotten son. Not just some of us (I reject a notion of Limited Atonement... not sure if you believe this or not). Christ died for everyone, because he loves everyone. For a Catholic, Love does not entail salvation. So, no, this scripture does not prove that you can't lose salvation. It only proves that you can't escape the love of God. God's love and God's salvation are two different things, are they not? Can you show me scripture that says everyone that God loves is saved?

    I think the next verse you cite from John 10 is much closer to the point you are trying to make. I want to comment on a couple different points, one is what it means to snatch. The Greek word is arpazo, and it means "to sieze or carry off by force." So I agree that once we enter into a life in Christ, the gate, nobody can force us to leave. I think of the martyrs, whose faith in Christ was so strong that they did not leave even in the midst of great trial. I don't believe they did this on their own, but I believe that God gave them the grace to die a Martyrs death. These people could not force God's people to deny him. But I don't see how this means that people can't lose their salvation by the way that I have been saying they can, which is to leave unforced... to leave by making a free choice to leave. It seems clear, to me, that this verse says that one who has entered into a Life in Christ will always receive grace to persevere, but nothing about whether or not they will cooperate with this grace or not.

    I think I may have realized where our disagreement might be. You seem to think that I think that God might go from choosing us to not choosing us. I do not believe that happens at all. Christ has chosen me, and will always choose me. Even when the evil one tempts me, God will always give me the grace to resist this temptation. There is no excuse for me when I sin... it is not anyone's fault but my own. I hear the call of the shepherd, and I ignore it. Not always, but I hear the voice of God telling me how to act, and I don't do it. "What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate (Romans 7:15)"

  21. Just a quick thought for clarification (before the US game starts)...

    You said, "I hope you would agree that God's Word is infallible, therefore it contains no error and cannot contradict itself."

    I agree completely, but I would even take it a step further and say that truth cannot contradict itself, whether it is revealed truth, truth ascertained through scientific inquiry, or philosophical truth.

  22. Good morning, Brian -

    To quickly address your understanding of Romans 8:38-39, I encourage you to read all of Romans 8 so you can see that the context of that passage is indeed referring to "us" as born again believers, and not the whole world. Being separated from the love of God would be separated from Him in eternity. There will be no love of God in hell, and the unbeliever will be eternally separated from His love. Please read all of chapter 8.

  23. Regarding 1 John 2:28-29 and 2 Peter 2:20, there is no contradiction. Knowing the way of righteousness (Jesus) and taking on the righteousness of Christ are 2 separate things. There are many who know how to "act" righteously - religion is full of such people. These counterfeits are the very ones Jesus will spew out of His mouth (Matthew 7:21-23 and Revelation 3:16). They are apostates. They have a form of godliness but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5). They wear their religion on their sleeve and are pleasers of mean and not God (Matthew 6:2). They are all about external appearances, but their heart has never been circumcised. They were never regenerated, for if they were, they would abide.

    If one abides, he cannot stop abiding - that actually doesn't even make sense. The term "abide" means to "remain" or "continue". This is another way of saying persevere, which is evidence of a true believer. As has already been established, the Holy Spirit seals us for the day of redemption, so this command by God is a call to actively pursue Him in faith and obedience. And because He is the one holding on to us rather than us holding on to Him, we will indeed abide until He appears (John 6:37-44).

    Those who are born of God (born of the Spirit, born again) have the righteousness of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). As such, they will grow in their manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit and the likeness of Christ (Galatians 5:22-25; 2 Corinthians 3:18). They are conformed to His image. Their minds are transformed through renewal (Romans 12:1-2), and in fact, 1 Corinthians 2:16 says we who are born again already have the mind of Christ. This righteousness is not the self-righteousness of the legalists (Pharisees and Scribes), but rather the righteousness of God's nature. Righteous living (holy and pure), then, is proof of being born again...

  24. Again regarding 8:38... Yes, obviously the context is speaking to people who are 'in Christ.' And of course God 'loves' everyone who is 'in Christ,' and yes, everyone who is 'in Christ' is 'saved. I'm not arguing against that at all. What I am arguing is that this doesn't support your belief that people can't fall away, like it says they do in 2 Peter. I simply used John 3:16 to show you that simply being loved by God does not guarantee that one is saved.

    You read just as much into the text as protestants accuse Catholics of doing... only this is much more problematic for you because you believe in Sola Scriptura whereas I believe in Sacred Tradition.

  25. Regarding 1 John 3:4 - I believe I covered this in my first response last night. I also just covered what it means to abide, so we can't go from states of abiding and not abiding as that does not make sense hermeneutically. Abide means to remain, so you can't "stop remaining". Another word would have to have been used for your position to make sense.

    Regarding 1 John 1:5-7 - actually, my point is quite clear. Verse 6 says that if we walk in the light, Jesus cleanses us from ALL sin: "7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." Jesus' blood does not "stop cleansing" us, and in fact, this cleansing was a one time affair. Hebrews 10: "11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified." This was a one-time sacrifice, not a continuing sacrifice. It is done. It is finished. Born again believers have already been perfected, but we continue to be sanctified.

    If it is finished, if we are sealed, if we have already been perfected, then we can no longer walk in the darkness. Ephesians 5 makes this clear, "8 For you were ONCE darkness, but NOW you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit[b]is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light."

  26. Regarding 1 John 2:3-7, this is a reference to obedience. Romans 8:7-8 says the disobedient man is an enemy of the Law of God. He cannot obey Him, nor can He please Him. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Just as Jesus said in John 15 that if we love Him we will obey His commandments and obey His teachings, so to is John telling us that if we say we know Him, then we will obey Him. In fact, the born again believers loves the commandments of God as 1 John 5 says, "3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome." This goes back to obeying the sinful nature or being a slave to Christ and His righteousness. "24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6). While the born again believer may struggle with sin and his flesh, it does not rule him as Romans 6 makes clear.

    Regarding 1 John 2:15-17 - the born again Christian will grow to love God more (with all their heart, mind, and soul) and love the world less, in fact hate the things of the world and have a gross intolerance of the things of the world - just like God - because we have the mind of Christ. Again, we cannot serve 2 masters. The love in reference here is a matter of affection and devotion. If we have an affection and devotion for the world, we cannot also have an affection and devotion for God. We are either marked for love and obedience to God, or we are not. And if we are not, then we are not saved. There is no gray area.

    Finally, with 1 John 2:24, I have already covered what it means to abide. To repeat the passage, "24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life."

    If what we heard from the beginning remains in us, then we have the inheritance of eternal life. A study of the Parable of the Sower will help you understand there are some who receive the knowledge of the truth, even with joy, but their belief was only superficial and they fell away. They got right up to the edge but when trials and tribulations came, or because they allowed the cares of this world to consume them, they returned to their flesh because they had no root and no fruit. Out of the 4 soils, only one, the good soil, was genuinely saved because he was the only one who understood the truth with a noble heart.

    This has been a lot to cover. I encourage you, Bryan, to undergo a serious study of the Gospel of John, the book of Romans, and the book of 1 John. I believe these books to be the bedrock books for knowing the love of Christ and what He has done for us, to understand that we are justified by faith alone, and to examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith. God rewards those who diligently seek after Him (Hebrews 11:6). For a moment, put away the tradition, and seek after Christ alone through His sovereign Word.

  27. "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love." John 15:10.

    What this does NOT say is "If you abide in my love you will then keep my commandments." The condition for remaining is keeping the commandments.

    I have bad news for you, Justin. According to your line of reasoning you seriously limit how God's grace can work in your life. You simply don't believe that God's death and resurrection was powerful enough to save you from your sin. Rather, you believe that God had to change you and make you into something less than human in order to 'save' you.

    I have good news for you. In Christ, we are truly free. Christ redeemed our nature, and gives us grace that builds upon our nature. He didn't destroy our free will. He perfects our free will.

    Also, I think the tone of your responses are seriously patronizing and I am offended. You act like I've never read the Bible before because I follow Christ in the Catholic Church. How seriously rude.

    For a moment, consider the amazing work that Jesus Christ has done by working through the traditions he establish which continue in the Church. The proof is in the pudding, Justin.

    Here is a fun link for you to read:

    And another:

  28. By the way, why did you delete my original response? Is it on another page? I will have to repost it, I guess.

  29. Bryan, you cannot just take one Scripture and form your whole doctrine. We must consider all of Scripture, the whole counsel of God, if we are to study to show ourselves approved, thus rightly dividing the Word. I have already explained to you that abiding means to continue. One cannot "stop continuing". It has also been established that Holy Spirit seals us until the day of redemption. It comes down to this, Bryan:

    We cannot be unsealed, unborn again, un-made-righteous, unelected, unchosen, unpredestined, unsaved, unsanctified, unjustified, unwashed, unperfected, unseated, unregenerated, unquickened, un-new, undead, uncrucified, unforgiven, or uncleansed.

    I understand God's grace perfectly well, and it is why and how I have been born again, not because of any work I have done, but because I have responded in faith through repentance God has granted me. This means I have trusted 100% in what He has already done, and nothing I can do can ever change or undo what He has already done. The faith God has given me has justified me by faith alone. It's all in Romans in black and white.

    Jesus Christ does not work through traditions, He works directly through His children in a personal and intimate manner. We can go directly to God through Him, boldly before the throne, and make our requests known to Him. We don't need a priest or a prop, just Jesus.

    I'm sorry I had to delete your original posts as they were full of untruths and might possibly lead someone away from the only Gospel that saves. This Gospel is one that teaches sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, soli deo gloria, and sola Scriptura. No doubt this may turn you from our conversation, but I had to do what was best for the readers. Please do not repost those comments, or I'll have to delete and shut down posting.

    I still challenge you to read the books I mentioned, which include Romans, John, and 1 John. This isn't patronizing you, it's merely exhorting you to be obedient and studying the Word with you and God alone.

  30. Bryan, may God lead you to the cross of grace where He already paid the fine for you 2,000 years ago. May He reveal to you that justification is by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone so that you may turn and be healed. May you receive this free gift and put your complete trust and confidence in Him alone for your salvation, no longer in yourself, no longer in traditions, and no longer in works. May you realize the sacrifice was made once and for all and is sufficient for all of your sins past, present, and future. May you search through the absolute truth of God's Word with your guard down, having no pride, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you through the clarity of Scripture, leading you to salvation with nothing in your hands. May you be rewarded for diligently seeking after God, and may He bless you in the most abundant way possible - through His Son Jesus Christ.


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