The past five posts have not been criticisms of Roman Catholics; although it may seem that way anytime something as personal as one’s religion is critiqued. There are many fine Catholics who read the Bible, are very moral people, and contribute to the betterment of their community. However, it is eternally important that they trust the biblical way of salvation rather than according to the traditions of the hierarchy of Rome. When we add to God’s plan of salvation by grace we nullify it. The Bible says, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace” (Rom. 11:6).
I have been asked multiple times by various teachers and students in language school what the difference is between Baptist and Catholic. (A better way to word it would be what is the difference between true Christianity and every other religion.) My reply has always been the same. There are only two religions in the world with each being described by a single word: “do” and “finished.” The former is a religious system (including Catholicism) whose central message is “what must I DO to have a connection with God and earn entrance into heaven.” The “to do” list depends on the religious system but often includes things such as water baptism, confirmation, good works, giving money, confession to a priest, sacraments, etc. The word “finished” is the true message of biblical salvation. Everything necessary to reconcile you to God and make eternal life a reality has already been FINISHED by Jesus Christ.
When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He said the words, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Every jot and tittle of the law, every word and deed, all that Christ had been given to do while on earth was FINISHED. When Jesus gave Himself on the cross, He fully met the righteous demands of a holy law, He paid our debt in full. It is FINISHED. Many of the Old Testament types and prophecies were now fulfilled and the once-for-all sacrifice for sin had now been completed. It is FINISHED. None of the Old Testament sacrifices could take away sins; their blood only covered sin. But the Lamb of God shed His blood, to take away the sins of the world. It is FINISHED. It is finished “once for all,” finally and forever. Further sacrifices for sins are not necessary. No “repetition” of this sacrifice accomplishes anything (Heb. 10:4,8,10-12,14). All the Catholic priests in the world performing the “sacrifice of the Mass” through eighteen centuries could never clear one sinner of sin. Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished,” so we know it cannot be Jesus who is being offered daily on Catholic altars. “There is no more offering for sin” (Heb. 10:18), Christ did it all. It is FINISHED.
The moment Christ died something amazing happened in Jerusalem (Matt. 27:50-51). In the Jewish temple, a building symbolic of the presence of God, there was a veil separating the most sacred representation of God’s presence (a room called the Holy of Holies) from the outer visible areas. When Christ died, the veil was miraculously torn in half from top to bottom and the room was open to all. Suddenly it was as if what separated God from man was now completely removed and God was inviting all humankind to come directly to Him. It was God saying to the entire human race “there’s nothing more to do. The price has been paid. The debt is forgiven. If you try to earn the connection with Me that imparts eternal life, work for it, or do something to get it, you’re wasting your time. Because of my Son, it is FINISHED.”
The conclusion of this examination into the Catholic faith is simply this: Are you trusting in the finished work of Christ and have a personal salvation in Christ alone or are you hoping to merit God’s favor by adding your personal works to His Son’s death, burial, and resurrection?