You may be a Roman Catholic who sincerely loves Jesus. You may have moral values and seek the highest standard of religious duty. That is certainly admirable. The essential questions relating to eternal salvation though are not whether you believe in Christ and desire to serve Him. The Bible indicates that many believe in Christ, and even serve Him, and yet are not eternally saved from sin. At the Judgment, He pronounces to them, “Depart from me… I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23). The essential question is this: “What is your authority for such belief and service?” “Is it the Church or is it the Bible?” If Rome conflicts with the Bible what will you do? You must choose the one to which you will conform.
– Jesus told the Apostles that after His ascension into Heaven, He would send the Holy Spirit to guide them into “all truth” and show them “things to come” (John 16:13). Jesus did just that and the apostles began to deposit the revelation that they received into writing. The apostles were uniquely qualified men, having been personally chosen by Christ and/or having been an eyewitness to His resurrection (Acts 1:21-16). By His statement recorded in John ‘s Gospel, Jesus revealed that He anticipated the completion of His revelation to the world through the apostles only.
– The Apostle Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 3:16 and 17 that all Scripture is “given by God” and that it is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (Emphasis added). This verse speaks clearly of the sufficiency of the Scriptures for all of Christian belief and behavior.
– The last living apostle was John. Having the credentials to write, he wrote the final revelation.
At the end of his book he closed the door firmly on the Scriptures. He said in Revelation 22: 18, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in the book.” (Emphasis added) John’s revelation was the finalization of the “truth” that Jesus spoke of when he said to the Apostles that He would guide into “all truth”. The book of the Revelation of John is the final chapter in the “things to come” portion of that truth.
- It is clear from these and other passages that the Bible is a closed system of truth that cannot be changed in any way. The early believers received these words. They had the Holy Spirit, the author of the books of the Bible, in their hearts. They could not wait centuries later for some church council to confirm for them what they needed to know. They knew which books were truly written by or approved by an apostle. They knew which books were truly Scripture. Later councils only recognized what had already been received much earlier. The Bible was and is complete, and all future doctrine must be judged by it.
Yet, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that revelation is ongoing and transmitted by the infallible source of the Church through its popes and councils. How can this be so since the apostles have already finished the deposit of biblical truth? And how can this be so when many of the doctrines that The Roman Catholic Church proposes are in direct disagreement with what has already been written by God in the Scriptures?
Consider these examples:
1. Infant Baptism- There is no mention of infant baptism in the New Testament at all or that baptism washes away original sin. On the contrary the Bible says that baptism is “not putting away the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience towards God” (I Peter 2:21). Baptism is a conscience response towards God. An infant cannot make such a conscious choice. That is why when Philip was asked by the Ethiopian Eunuch, “What doth hinder me to be baptized?” Philip responded by saying, “If thou believeth…thou mayest:” Acts 8:36, 37).
2. Celibacy Required for Clergy- The Apostle Paul said the he and the other apostles had the right “to lead about a sister, a wife.” Peter did have a wife according to this same verse (I Corinthians 16:5). Those seeking to be pastor or bishops are said to be the “husband of one wife” and “rule well his own house” which would include children (I Timothy 3:2, 4). And yet men seeking full-time ministry in the Roman Catholic Church have been required to live against this rule to the detriment of themselves and the people they serve.
3. Canonized Saints- The Bible term “saint” is used for all believers already living (Acts 9:13, Romans 1:17, II Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, etc.). It means “holy one.” And since it is used in relation to Christians that were sinful, it must mean that the person so deemed is holy not in his or her own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Jesus. In fact, the apostle Paul said such about himself when in Philippians 3:19 he wrote that he desired to be “found in him (that is, Jesus) not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” All true born-again believers are saints in Christ. Saints are not saints because of their own works. They are not declared to be so after death. And we certainly are never told to pray to anyone but the Heavenly Father.
4. Magisterium as the Only Qualified Interpreter of Scripture- The account in the book of Acts commends the people of Berea in that they “searched the scriptures daily” to see if what they were hearing from the apostles were so (Acts 17:4). The apostles themselves were open to critique and censure if they began to teach anything that would contradict the clear Gospel message that was being preached (Galatians 1:8). So when the Apostle Paul gave the Word of God He did so by commending himself “to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” The revelation of the Bible is “spiritually discerned” and “he that is spiritual judgeth all things” (I Corinthians 2:14, 15). We can conclude then that anyone who has the Holy Spirit has the ability to understand the Bible. Why wouldn’t the Roman Catholic Church want its people to interpret the Bible? What are they keeping from them?
5. Mary as a Mediator- Jesus tells us to pray to “Our Father” not Mary (Matthew 6:9). I Timothy 2:5 says that there is “…one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” The Roman Catholic Church, in direct disregard for these truths, has created a concoction of convoluted doctrines to teach that Mary is indeed a mediator to God. They say that Mary was sinless, assumed into Heaven, and stands ready to hear our prayers. None of these teachings are found in the Bible. They may be found in the books that the Catholic Church itself deemed “Apocryphal” or spurious. But they are not found anywhere else in the books that are clearly New Testament writings. The true New Testament books contain doctrines that deny these false doctrines about Mary.
6. Sacramental Salvation- This is the most egregious error. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that saving grace comes incrementally through the performance of sacraments. They teach that the Eucharist and the Mass conveys the re-presenting of Christ’s sacrifice in an “unbloody” manner. For Catholics, this is made the main sacrament for eternal salvation. But the Bible teaches that “we are sanctified (made holy) through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all” and that “by one offering he has perfected them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:10, 14). The Bible also teaches that we are not saved by works, but by grace. If any works or acts of religious performance are attached to salvation, then “grace is no more grace” (Romans 11:6). We are saved “unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10) as a response to grace. But we are not saved by good works. The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” In other words, He is saying that if we could achieve the righteousness necessary to go to heaven ourselves, then Jesus died for nothing. It certainly frustrates and even annuls the grace of God to add religious, human effort to salvation. In fact, if we trust any effort towards eternal salvation from sin, we will not get to heaven. Romans 4:5 is clear at this point when it says, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Ephesians 2:8, 9 concurs when it says, “For by grace are ye saved, though faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
– The list of false doctrines and additions to the Bible created by the Roman Catholic Church goes on and on… Not only have the popes and councils disagreed with the Bible down through the centuries they have disagreed with themselves on a multitude of topics like: Is it justified to kill dissenters? What is the definition of a venial sin? Should Catholics eat fish on Fridays? Is there salvation outside of the Church, etc. etc.? Certainly other Christian groups have disagreed, but most do not look to man as an infallible source. They look to the Bible and believe that each person will give account of himself, his beliefs, and his actions before God. The church is there to help a person with their own personal responsibility before God, not to tell them what to believe.
– You have to choose what you believe.
- How many Roman Catholics are trusting in another gospel than the one expounded in the Bible? They are told by their leaders to keep up the effort because they can never be fully assured of heaven immediately at death. They are told to pray prayers, give money, and do a multitude of good deeds with the threat of purgatory hanging over their heads. The sincere Roman Catholic does these things never having full assurance. They never think that they have done enough.
Is this you?
The good news is that Jesus said on the cross “It is finished!” He came to do what you could not do for yourself. He came and was “made…sin for us… that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (I Corinthians 5:21).
John the Apostle said in the most definitive terms possible “And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son that life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (I John 5:11-13, Emphasis added).
- You can know that you have eternal life today. And since Jesus has done the work to secure your salvation all you have to do is repent of your sinful condition, recognize your inability to work your way to meet God’s standard of perfect holiness, and trust Jesus and Him alone for your eternal salvation from the consequences of sin in Hell. Trust in His work, not your own. Trust the Bible truth not the concocted doctrines of fallible men. Call out to God today for His eternal salvation in Jesus only. Then find a good, Bible-believing church to help you to study and learn the Scriptures.