Drinking Deeply

Saturday, April 30, 2005 at 2:09 AM

Letter writing.

A long letter I just sent off to a friend. Just what I've been working through, read it if you like. I talked with my roommate as well. An update on that will come soon Lord willing. Thank you for your prayers for that and I request your continual prayers over the roommate relationship in the future weeks. (especially with a seeker, whom Dennis is attempting to preach to as a Roman Catholic)


Hey xxxx,

Thanks for the email on the Catholic stance on justification. It is quite lengthly, but very informative. However, it is fundamentally at odds with what I believe (and what I believe the Bible teaches). Below I am going to lay out exactly what I see is wrong with it (and is at ends with Scripture's foundational truths)

Judging from what I've read from other sources,I'm going to work off of an assumption that this is a fairly accurate depiction of the Catholic position on justification. The original article is in black, my responses (tabbed) will be in blue. There are some fundamental differences between Catholics and Protestants and these include the definitions of the different words like justification and grace. I will try to illustrate this throughout the email.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me or call, though I admit I prefer email because an argument and support can most clearly be laid out through printed words, and there's much less of a risk of wrong words being said in the heat of discussion.

In the pursuit of Truth,
Mickey On 4/24/05, XXXXXX wrote:
Faith, Works, or Grace?

There are four foundational areas where Roman Catholics and Protestants disagree. I can give support for each of these if you would like (in a following email) but here they are in sum:

1) We differ on the meaning and extent of the term "justification"
2) We differ on the meaning of the term "impute" or "imputation"
3) We differ on the means by which justification takes place. (faith alone, or faith+ works)
4) We differ on the grounds or basis upon which sinful people can be justified.

Please keep this in mind throughout the email. I will try to define my terms as best I can and give support. One issue I have with the email is that all the verses are at the bottom without explaining them. Since interpretations of these verses vary by the person it seems rather useless.

All translations I quote are from the ESV, which is an essentially literal translation. If you prefer, we can go to the NASB which is the accepted literal translation, but it does make for harder reading.

beginning: For a Protestant, justification is a legal term, it is synonymous (same Greek term) with "declared righteous". It is the act of God as judge declaring us, who are sinners, to be clean and pure in His sight. God has imputed, credited us with, Christ's righteousness. Justification is by grace, through faith. Faith is the instrument. This faith is a true, saving faith, and is more than a bare intellectual statement. Faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9) Faith is not the basis upon which we are justified, but Christ's work alone are that basis. This kind of faith is never alone, but bears the fruit of works by love. Faith alone saves, but saving faith is never alone.

Justification is a one time thing. We look back on justification. We can say with Paul in Romans 5:1)

1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[ a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The process by which we do these works of love is known as sanctification. Since those works of love are the fruit of faith, justification will be accompanied by sanctification, but the good works are never the grounds (in part or in whole) upon which we are saved.

Roman Catholics view that one time act of justification as the same as the life long process of sanctification. This leads them to state that justification, which to them is a life long process must be accompanied by works by which we earn and maintain our justification. We strain our justification by venial sins and sever it completely with a mortal sin. As I will demonstrate below, this is at odds with what Scripture teaches.

With that said, let us move on.

The Catholic position on salvation can be summed up thus:

We are saved by Christ's grace alone, through faith and works done in charity inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Sola gratia! Grace alone -- but a grace we have to co-operate with. Thinking that all one has to do is pray the "Sinner's Prayer" once to be saved is wrong. Thinking that all one has to do is be a "good person" to be saved is wrong.

I would state that a correct view of the Bible would agree that it's not just a prayer, nor is it just being a "good person" I do disagree with the "grace we have to co-operate with." Titus 3:4-5 states:

4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

note v. 5) "[God] saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy" - Paul isn't denying that we will do works in righteousness, but that the grounds for God's salvation of us isn't on those grounds, but simply on the grounds of "his own mercy." This is the definition of grace. It's undeserved and unwarranted. This is how we are justified, not by (or in part by) works.
"We are saved by 'Faith alone'": No!

It takes more than simply knowing Jesus is the Messiah to be saved; even the Evil One knows Who Christ is.

James 2:14-26
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Amen, faith without works is dead. But the works are not included in the equation of how God justifies us. We are justified by faith alone, but true saving faith is never alone. If you want, I can give an exegesis of what this passage means.

Some key things to note which I can flesh out if you would like:
James quotes the same passage about Abraham as Paul does in Romans 4:3.
James is addressing those that claim to have faith but show no works.
Abraham's offering of Issac is a test (the relevant passage is Genesis 22, specifically verse 1). Here the word justified can also mean "proven right" or "proven true" like in Luke 7:35
And most important of all: All of Scripture of God's Word, so we cannot discard one part without discarding the all. Any interpretation of James 2 has to be in harmony of all the rest of the Bible.

The Bible and the Catholic Church don't separate the "works of faith," preceded and caused by grace, from salvation (see relevant Scripture below).

What the Roman Catholic Church does do is it makes the "works of faith' along with "faith" the grounds upon which a sinner is saved. As I stated above and showed from Titus 3:4-5, the grounds upon which a sinner is saved is solely upon God's mercy.

"We can work our way into Heaven": No!

The Catholic Church and Her Bible condemn the idea that one can work his way to Heaven on his own merit or that God "owes" a person for doing the right things.


All our works get their merit only from Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf. We can do "works" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the rest of our lives, but without Christ's grace, they are nothing. Works have no merit in themselves -- and faith without works is not enough. We are saved by grace alone -- a grace that we accept neither "by faith alone" nor "by works alone," but "by faith that works in charity" (Galatians 5:6).

Something I came across on the Internet demonstrates the obvious importance of works. Below is a (albeit rather smart-alecky) joke letter to a pastor who preaches "faith alone":

I am a former Catholic who was recently saved through the Grace of Jesus Christ. All my life I knew I was a homosexual. The Catholic Church told me that I had to refrain from what I was in order to be saved! I never knew that my good works meant nothing! To think, I would have spent my entire life struggling not to engage in homosexual activity, just to wind up in Hell! I now realize that Salvation is through the finished work of Christ ALONE, and not from good works. I am now living as an active homosexual in the freedom of Jesus Christ!

The pastor, almost completely misunderstanding Catholicism but who has an entire ministry devoted to "saving Catholics", responded in part by saying:

It is true that a person is not saved by his works and that salvation is completely of grace. However that does not mean that works have nothing to do with salvation.

Well, "pastor," that's what Catholics have been saying all along!

Not exactly. Catholics have been saying all along that faith, and the works wrought out of faith are the grounds by which we are saved. What the pastor says, and what I fully agree upon, is that one is justified (saved) by faith alone on the basis of Christ's works, not only his death on the cross, but his sinless life as well. Good works are a fruit of this faith, but not the grounds upon which we are saved. Having good works demonstrates the existence of saving faith (and saving faith will always produce these works), but it not the grounds upon which we are saved (as I have shown above)

The bottom line: all salvation comes from the grace of Christ's Sacrifice and only from the grace of His Sacrifice. Salvation is a free gift -- a gift that is not "owed" to us, that God didn't have to offer us, and that we could never "earn" on our own -- that we accept by faith and works. Christ doesn't have to give us this gift of salvation; we don't "deserve" this gift, we can't "earn" it; but He, in His endless Love for us, offers it nonetheless. We have to believe this gift exists (have faith) and then open our hands to receive it (do works inspired by the grace given to us).

My comments above still stand. There is a lot that is true in this section: Salvation is from the grace of God alone. It is a free gift, unowed.

But then he states, "
a gift that is not "owed" to us, that God didn't have to offer us, and that we could never "earn" on our own -- that we accept by faith and works"

If we can only "accept this gift" by faith and works, it's no longer a gift. We have to do something in order to accept it. The author replaces "earn" with "accept by" and makes them different, but there is no difference in the way he uses them.

Born Again?

Many non-Catholics, in their confused zeal for Jesus, are constantly asking Catholics if we are "born again," admonishing us that unless we are "born again" we cannot be saved. But you see, Catholics, like St. John the Evangelist in the third chapter of his Gospel, relate the phrase "born again" to the results of Baptism. Baptism is how we enter into the New Covenant, in the same way the Hebrews and Israelites entered the Old Covenant through circumcision (which, you'll note, was done to infants).

This is the RC view but I would like to see his support for this claim. If one of you could pull out John 3 and walk through and draw the logical conclusions from what he lays out I think I would understand his words better, but as such he is just making claims.

I agree completely that Baptism is how we enter into the New Covenant, though I will say that many Protestants would disagree with that. (This is the debate on infant baptism)

When many Protestants use the phrase "born again," they seem to be referring to an "emotional experience." They often expect instant transformation (which can certainly happen), speaking in tongues, miracles, etc. as some sort of "proof" of having been "born again."

Well, maybe "many Protestants" may believe it's an "emotional experience" but I do not, nor do I believe that Bible-believing Protestants would believe it was an "emotional experience". These paragraphs do not apply to me. Born again is addressed in the Q&A section, but I can flesh it out if you like.

Traditional Catholics most certainly agree that repentance (what we call "metanoia") is necessary and that inner transformation (what we call "theosis") is the goal, but we are very conscious of not confusing "feelings" with "faith." These are two different things, and mere "feelings" can lie: ask anyone who's ever been "love-bombed" in a cult, experienced cocaine or Ecstasy, been to a Woodstock-like music festival, or is just having a really excellent day. Oceanic "feelings of oneness" and "happiness" can be had in pagan religions (read about Greek and Roman "bachanalias" sometime), through natural or artificial chemicals, through the feeling of "falling in love," through hypnosis, through highly sensual experiences, and other things that have nothing to do, inherently, with Christ. The ancient Greeks babbled in tongues, and glossolalia can is still practiced today among Voudun ("Voodoo") cults, during Japanese seances, and by other false religions and in other cultures all over the world. These sorts of experiences must be discerned, and the spirits must be tested! Remember what Christ said would happen even back in the first century:

Matthew 24:24
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

It is important to test the spirits and not devalue reason and doctrine! Know that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance according to Galatians 5:22-23. The fruits of the Spirit are not out of control shaking, screaming, running around, falling down, "holy laughter," vocalizations that don't edify the Church, a "feeling" that doctrine and religion are now unimportant, etc. One should be more in control of one's self after an encounter with the Holy Spirit, not less.
As to "personal relationship with Jesus, " think of the great Saints -- everyone from Th�r�se de Lisieux to St. Francis -- are these people not "born again" in the Protestant sense of "having a deep relationship with Christ" while still remaining 100% believers in traditional Catholic doctrine? Read about the life of St. Patrick and then talk to me about a "personal relationship" with Jesus that some Protestants think Catholics just don't understand.

What of our holy martyrs like Maximilian Kolbe or Nikolaus Gross, murdered by Nazis because of the virtue compelled by their Catholic faith? What about Joan of Arc, martyred for her refusal to deny the divine origins of the voices that led her to defeat the English? If you want "personal relationship with Jesus," read the writings of St. Teresa of Avila or St. John of the Cross!

Have you been saved?

Another question Catholics often hear is, "Have you been saved?" Catholics, though, don't see eternal salvation as a one-time event that one can pinpoint and relate to others by saying, for example, "I was saved at 5:30 pm on 23 October 1988 when I got on my knees and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior." We think of salvation, ultimately, as a process that is begun at Baptism and is then "worked out" (Phillipians 2:12) as we endeavor to "put on Christ." Additionally, we don't see salvation as something that can't be lost (2 Peter 2:20-21). Even St. Paul himself, the one who did more than anyone else to spread the Gospel, wasn't sure of his own salvation. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:27

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Who are we to be more "sure of our salvation" than the Apostle Paul?

This will take a lot of writing to answer the verses, which I will do if you like. But let me say it simply that Paul was very sure of his salvation.

Romans 8:38-39 38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul states very clearly that nothing will be able to separate us from God's love. Reading the context he is talking specifically about salvation as can be seen by a few verses above.

33Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us

I'll put it in syllogism form so that we may see the argument that Paul presents.

1) Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God (v 39)
2) love of God is synonymous with being saved/justified. (v. 33-34)
3) we were created by God (Genesis)
4) Therefore, we cannot separate ourselves from the love of God, which is salvation.

If even Paul, the least of the apostles was sure of his salvation, even after murdering and persecuting Christians for a good chunk of his life, we can hold on to the same God that saved and justified Paul and trust Him that he has justified those that are in Him. This is completely consistent with the rest of the teachings about having to persist to the end in order to be saved as I will explain below (and will flesh out upon request)

Most Catholics, of course, are able to speak of specific events such as the first time they truly "got it" that Jesus is Lord or that the Church and its Scriptures are true; many are able to tell specific stories of experiences of the Holy Spirit. Many have wonderful stories of healings, consolation, and miracles. But to speak of "having been saved," in the past tense, is something we tend not to do unless we are speaking about our Baptism, at which time we were first justified. We speak, instead, of "being saved," in the present tense, as we obey Him after Baptism and endeavor to keep accepting the gift of salvation which we could never earn on our own.

"endeavor to keep accepting the gift of salvation which we could never earn on our own"
Once again he makes a distinction between having to do something in order to "accept" salvation, but we can't "earn" it. If we must do something to "accept" something, it's no longer freely given as a gift, but given with a requirement, "do this in order to accept"

Many Protestants tend to see salvation in legal terms: "I believe, therefore, I am saved because that is God's promise to me. As long as I believe, I can't lose my salvation because the terms of the contract are that I simply believe and I will be saved." Catholics see salvation more in terms of kinship bonds, our adoption into God's very family, our becoming, literally, true children of God and inheriting Christ's sonship through Jesus' sacrifice. We see "working out our salvation" as those things we, inspired by the Holy Spirit, are called to do as children of God, in the same way that a child honors an earthly parent -- and we see God's gift of eternal salvation to us as an inheritance from our Father rather than a "pay-off" for having fulfilled a "contract" by a simple assertion of faith. And as a father can "disinherit" a child if that child no longer treats him as father and freely walks away from his inheritance, so our Father in Heaven can "disinherit" those who don't treat Him as Father (Romans 11:22; Galatians 5:4; Hebrews 6:4-6; 2 Peter 3:17-18). For more in-depth information, read the transcript of this debate on "justification" between Scott Hahn, Catholic and former Presbyterian minister, and Dr. Robert Knudson of Westminster Seminary.

He is correct. Protestants view justification in legal terms. I already laid it out at the top of the email why that is true. Protestants will not deny that we must also "work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling," (Phil 2:12) but also put it in context, "for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." (Phil 2:13). Because we know that it is God working in us according to his good pleasure, we have no fear that our salvation is being worked out because it is not on our own strength but on God's.

Once again he references a lot of verses but doesn't explain them. Since interpretations vary by the person, I would like to hear how you guys view those verses in such a way that they are consistent with the rest of the Bible.

To sum up

So, here's how a Catholic would answer the standard questions from Protestants:

and how I would respond:

Q. Have you been "born again"?
A. Yes, when we are baptized, we are "born again of water and Spirit" (John 3).

A. Yes, when God granted us birth from above by the Holy Spirit. Being born of water is merely representative of our physical birth. This is from John 3 and I can explain and prove it.

Q. Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?
A. Some Catholics are good Catholics and have a deep personal relationship with Jesus. Other Catholics are mere "cultural Catholics" who call themselves "Catholic" because they were baptized once, but don't believe what the Church teaches or don't practice what the Church commands.

A. I do, not because of anything I have done, but because Christ has called me and this call is irresistible. His answer about "cultural Catholics" can similarly be applied to "cultural Protestants" who claim the name, but don't live it. Both of us are probably in agreement that the circle of "true" believers by either definition (either RC or Protestant) is much smaller than polls show.

Q. Have you been "saved"?
A. Those Catholics who have faith and obey the will of the Father are being saved, by the grace of Christ alone. Catholics who don't have faith and don't obey the will of the Father will not be saved unless they repent and begin to have faith and keep the commandments.

A. I have been saved and I can say with Paul in
Romans 5:1) 1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[ a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

along with laying claim to the truths of
Ephesians 2:8-10) 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I "have been saved" am being saved (by Sanctification) and will be saved (when God judges the world and withholds me from the eternal fire because of what Christ has done)

Q. If you were to die tonight, do you know for an absolute certainty that you would go to Heaven?
A. No more than St. Paul did when he wrote to the people of Corinth. But we do have the assuredness of knowing that God keeps His promises, that He is good and merciful and just, and that He so loved the world that He sent His only-begotten Son so we might not perish but have everlasting life if we believe, repent, obey, and trust in Jesus.

A. If we have no assurance that the gospel which Paul presents will actually save us, how is it that it's a Gospel of peace? Can our RC author say the Romans 5:1 passage? Romans 5:1) 1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we [a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Does he have a peace that rests with a knowledge that eternity is bought and given by Christ alone and that he is part of that? Or does he have the uncertainty of Roman Catholic scholar Ludwig Ott, who said in his book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma:

"The reason for the uncertainty of the state of grace lies in this, that without a special revelation nobody can with certainty of faith know whether or not he has fulfilled all the conditions which are necessary for achieving justification"

Doesn't seem very peaceful! How does one have peace when one knows that they could commit a mortal sin today and die in his sleep tonight and wake up in Hell?

I know with absolute certainty that I will be raised up on the last day like Christ says in John 6:40)
40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

I look upon Christ now and believe in Him, so by the will of God the Father I will have eternal life for He will raise me up on the last day.

Q. By what means are we saved?
A. By the Blood of Christ that was poured out at Calvary. This Sacrifice is the only means of salvation; by Christ and Christ alone may a man be saved. There is no other way to the Father.
Q. Why was His Sacrifice necessary? Why did He have to die?
A. God is infinite Justice and Perfection. Because He is infinite, our sins offend Him infinitely. There is such a chasm between God in His vast perfection and us in our creaturely weakness that nothing we could do could possibly assuage Him for our offenses. But as much as we deserve death, He loves us still and wants us with Him for eternity. In order to restore His honor and maintain the perfection of His justice, there had to be an infinite Sacrifce of appeasement. So, God Himself took on flesh by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary and became man, not only to teach us with His words, but to save us with His Blood. Only God Himself could save us from the effects of our offending Him because we are so imperfect and weak.

A. Agreed. Romans 6:23 for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Q. What must we do to accept the fruits of this Sacrifice and be saved?
A. In three words, "Believe, repent, and obey." We must:

* believe and trust in Christ (John 3:16);
* repent and be baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for the remission of sins (Matthew 28:19, John 3:3-5, Acts 2:38);
* obey the will of the Father and keep the commandments (Matthew 7:21, Matthew 19:16-19);
* eat the Body of Christ (John 6:51-69) -- but not unworthily, and only after discerning the Lord's Body lest we eat damnation onto ourselves (I Corinthians 11:23-30);
* judge ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:28-31) and, when we fall, confess our sins to those to whom Christ has given the authority to forgive sins in His Name, and to obey that authority when it comes to what is bound and loosed (Matthew 9:5-8, Matthew 18:18, John 20:21-23, 2 Corinthians 5:18);
* love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).

A. I see no reason how he can claim it to be a free gift if we must do things to accept it. God calls us. God gives us faith. God gives us repentance by that faith. God justifies us because of Christ through our faith. God saves us. God works good in us because of faith. The entire process is by God's grace alone. We have nothing to boast about in works, nothing to boast about in faith, nothing to boast about in love. There is so much I disagree with above (baptism = salvation, physical eating of body of Christ, confession to priests, do works) that it would take another email. Suffice to say that we cannot do anything to please God for (Romans 3:10) 10as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; 11no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."

We are saved by Christ alone, through faith alone, by His grace alone, so that all the glory may go to God alone. If you trust in Scripture alone as your infallible authority, you can see that these things are true.

Relevant Scripture

So he quotes a lot of passages, but fails to give an explanation of how they apply and what they mean. I could just as easy copy paste the entire Bible (since I believe it supports my position) as a refutation of his position. As such, I will not deal with these passages, but I will if you ask me specifically to.

Wrapup: I believe that the Gospel as proclaimed by Jesus and the Apostles, and as we should now proclaim is a Gospel of peace. Those who believe in Christ believe because God gives them that faith, and that faith is the the tool through which we are justified, not works. We will produce good works because the fruit of faith is good works, but those works are not of ours, but God's alone, and as such are not the grounds upon which we are saved. We are saved by Christ's works alone. We who are in Christ have a peace with God, because ultimately we will persevere because it is God who works in us to persevere us. Nothing will separate us from God because it is God Himself who holds us to Him. We have nothing to boast in, for all we have is from God. All our works, but dung compared to the incomparable richness of Christ's mercy.

I believe as well that the gospel proclaimed by Rome is no longer in line with that of Scripture, that there is no "peace", no security. Those who follow Rome's gospel are forced into believing that they must work in order to maintain their salvation, that one misstep will cast them out of Heaven forever. Even if they are somehow good enough to accept this gift, their punishments still exist in purgatory instead of being paid completely by Christ. Their salvation is conditional on how well they do in addition to their faith, and this is what strays from what Christ proclaimed and what Paul wrote about.

I entreat you, therefore, to free yourself from the bondage of Rome and trust in Christ alone by faith alone, as the grounds for your salvation. God promises eternal security, peace with Him, bought with a price we cannot pay. No number of times of confession, partaking in mass, good works, or whatever can ever earn, or "accept" that gift, but it is freely offered by God to all that are His.

God commands us all to repent. Repent from our idols, our masters, our legalism, our beliefs of works-righteousness, our own failings (of which I have many). I openly admit that I fall short of all of God's demands daily, and that if it were up to me there would be no chance of Heaven, but I do trust in Christ alone by faith alone that He has called me, saved me, and is now sanctifying me so that I will stand with Him in the end.

I ask you now to repent from your beliefs that we can somehow 'earn/accept' Christ's gifts through our works and to cast off the bonds of the law and trust completely in Christ's finished work on the Cross as the sole grounds for your salvation. You are at a crossroads, maybe one you've faced before, but one that is before you none the less. Follow Rome or follow Scripture. I challenge you to read the Holy Word, God-breathed and useful for every good work by prayer and petition and ask the Spirit to open your eyes and heart to His Words. Rome claims to be Christ's bride, who listens to His every word, but I believe a careful inspection of His Word will prove that claim wrong and lead one down the narrow road to peace and eternity.

Trust God's Word: the Holy Scriptures and not what the church, I, or anyone else tell you and you will find what I am saying is true (but not necessarily inerrant). I ask this as a friend and in hopes of being a brother

In Christ,

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