The Forsaking of Jesus Christ
Have you heard what Pope John Paul II has been saying about Jesus Christ? One of the reasons Roman Catholics are uncertain about their salvation is because of the deranged teaching that is coming out of the Vatican. The conflicting pronouncements of the pope are making him appear more and more like a double-minded man, unstable in all he does (James 1:8). While he consistently rejects the necessity and sufficiency of Jesus Christ as the Savior, he has been inconsistent on the role of the Roman Catholic Church's in salvation. In less than 3 years, Pope John Paul has renounced the Word of God with three controversial declarations: 1) knowledge of Jesus Christ or His church is not necessary for salvation; 2) the Roman Catholic Church is necessary for salvation; 3) members of other religions can be saved even if Jesus Christ is not recognized as savior. Let us examine the pope's well-documented statements in the light of Scripture.
The Vatican Information Service (VIS) reported what the Pope had to say on the Seeds of Truth in Non-Christian Religions:
"The Holy Father explained the Holy Spirit is mysteriously present in the heart of every person. Through the practice of what is good in their own religious traditions, and following the dictates of their consciences, members of other religions positively respond to God's invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even though they may not recognize Him as their Savior." (VIS, 9/9/98)
Two years later, in his papal encyclical Dominus Iesus, John Paul denies the sufficiency of Christ by proclaiming the Roman Catholic Church is necessary and efficacious in saving the world:
"The Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation." It declares that: "God has willed that the Church founded by him be the instrument for the salvation of all humanity." (VIS, 9/6/00)
Three months later, the pope once again contradicts himself in message to a general audience at the Vatican:
"The Gospel teaches us that those who live in accordance with the Beatitudes - the poor in spirit, the pure of heart, those who bear lovingly the sufferings of life - will enter God's Kingdom. All who seek God with a sincere heart, including those who do not know Christ and his Church, contribute under the influence of grace to the building of this Kingdom." (VIS, 12/6/00)
It is because of fallacious teachings such as these that sinners are diverted away from the narrow gate that leads to life (Mat. 7:13). The Roman Catholic Church has a history of false teachers who have stood in front of the narrow gate pointing gullible, lazy, undiscerning victims to the broad road that leads to destruction. In doing so, they shut off the kingdom of heaven from men (Mat. 23:13). Only the few people who strive to enter the narrow gate can ever find it (Luke 13:24). It takes effort to avoid being deceived by false apostles masquerading as apostles of Christ (2 Cor. 11:13). It takes discipline to examine every teaching in light of Scripture (Acts 17:11). It takes an unwavering loyalty to truth to reject anything that does not conform with God's word (Eph. 5:11).
The Bible boldly and clearly proclaims the Lord Jesus Christ as God's only provision for sin. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. Sinners need Jesus as the way, the truth and the life because they are lost, deceived and spiritually dead.
Why is Jesus the only way?
When you are lost you need to know the way, and if there is only one way, you need to know Jesus. "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). Whenever lost sheep hear His voice they will follow Him and be saved (John 10:3-9). God's way is through His Son and leads to life. Man's way is through self righteousness and leads to death. There is a way which seems right to a man but its end is the way of death (Prov. 14:12). Jesus is a sinner's only approach to a holy, righteous and just God because sin has made man unrighteous. God's holiness demands perfect righteousness; nothing impure can enter into heaven (Rev. 21:27). Jesus is the only way because the perfect righteousness He earned during His life on earth is necessary to enter into heaven. The righteousness we need to enter heaven is nothing less than the very righteousness of Jesus. God credits His righteousness to all who trust Him. Jesus becomes our righteousness when we believe He is the only way (1 Cor. 1:30).
Why is Jesus the truth we need?
People are easily taken captive through philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men and the elementary principles of the world (Col. 2:8). For this reason Jesus came into the world to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37). Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32). He sets people free from the bondage of deception. Jesus is not only the personification of truth, His word is truth (John 17:17). Those who reject His word are rejecting Him as well (John 12:48). The world needs a standard for truth because Satan leads the whole world astray through false teachers and false prophets (1 John 5:19; Rev. 12:9). The only way to discern God's truth from Satan's lies is to use Christ and His Word as the ultimate standard for truth. To use any other standard is to invite deception.
Why is Jesus the life we need?
We are born spiritually dead in sin. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Rom. 5:12). It is for this reason Jesus announced, "unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). When one is born again he receives the life of Christ. Jesus declared, "He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life" (1 John 5:12). Jesus gives life to whom He wishes (John 5:21). Paul describes the new birth, "when you were dead in your transgressions...He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions (Col. 2:13). The gift of eternal life is "eternal" because it is the very life of Jesus, who can never die again (Rom. 6:6-9).
Why is Jesus the only mediator?
Whenever two parties are at enmity with one another a mediator is needed. The relationship unforgiven sinners have with God is one of hostility and wrath. A mediator is one who can effect a change in the relationship with God, from one of hostility to one of peace and harmony. Jesus Christ is the only one qualified to do this. He is God's perfect man and man's perfect God. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). Only in Christ Jesus can those who formerly were far off, be brought near by the blood of Christ. Only in Christ can the sin, that separated us from God, be removed (Isaiah 59:2). For He Himself is our peace, who... broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity...through the cross (Eph. 2:13-16). Only in Christ, can believers be permanently united with God forever (Rom. 8:31-39).
Why is Jesus the only savior?
Peter proclaimed: "there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Jesus is the only savior because no other man can pay the price. No man can by any means redeem his brother Or give to God a ransom for him-For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying forever (Psalm 49:7-8). The redemption of a sinner’s soul requires an infinite payment because the debt for sin is eternal. The debt is punishment in the eternal lake of fire (Rev. 20:14). Even after a thousand years in hell, the debt owed is still infinite. It is utterly impossible for a finite man to pay an infinite debt. Only an infinite and eternal God can pay the eternal debt for sin. Jesus paid it in full "having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (Col. 2:14).
Jesus Christ is necessary!
Putting aside the fallacious and deceptive teachings of Pope John Paul II, it is perfectly clear that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only mediator, the only name, the only savior and the only provision for sinners to escape the wrath of God. He is the truth that can set Roman Catholics free from the bondage of papal deceit. He is the life that can awaken souls dead in their sins.
The night before Jesus went to the cross to experience the cup of God's wrath, He sweat drops of blood and prayed, "Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done" (Luke 22:42). Jesus asked His Father-if there is any other way by which sinners can be saved, reveal it to me now. The heavens were silent because there is no other way. Christ had to die for sins, once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God (1 Pet. 3:18).
If there is anything incomplete in Christ, then He did not satisfy God's justice and He did not finish the work of redemption, which He declared He had done (John 17:4). The pope makes Christ out to be a liar and makes a mockery of Christianity. His pronouncements are blasphemous insults to Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is forsaken when any other way of salvation is proclaimed. I would use stronger language if I could find the words.
When will Roman Catholics wake up and hold their pope accountable for what he says? How long will they allow their "infallible" leader to deny Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation. When will more Christians openly and publicly rebuke this pope for proclaiming another gospel that leads millions to a Christless eternity? When will evangelicals recognize this man is not a servant of God but an enemy of Christ and His Gospel?
People must decide whether it is wiser and safer to trust the infallible word of God as a guide or to believe the teaching of a man who foolishly usurps the authority and role of Jesus Christ, and who tells you God's word does not mean what it says.
Thursday, September 29, 2005