December 2013

The Rare Jewel of Marriage

 

Last Sunday afternoon, our church’s study in Proverbs was especially significant, at least for me. The reason is because we tackled a most difficult passage of Proverbs and in plowing that soil we found gold. That is not to say that there is not gold anywhere else. The entirety of Scripture is gold in its purest form. However, for what this passage, Proverbs 5:15-23, taught us, it was priceless. I would like to summarize it hear because of its usefulness in our lives, and marriages, as Christians and I believe more people can benefit from this.

Marriage is a rare jewel. Why? Because there is one man and one woman joining themselves in marriage and there is no other man or woman like them. That makes that bond a literal one-of-a-kind. If you only have one of anything in this world, it is priceless. Its value is beyond estimation and you will want to hold on to it, protect it, as long as you have it. It has greater value than gold, silver, or precious stones. Marriage is inestimable in worth and value to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of marriage. The product of that union creates a most valuable gem, a child. There is nothing about marriage, as God designed and intended it, that is profane or worthless. Although this world wants to destroy the Christian marriage, it cannot take away these facts.

The world wants your marriage to fail. The world, which belongs to Satan for a time (1 John 5:19), wants to destroy this jewel. It wants to rob you of the uniqueness and value of your marriage, or one that God will grant you in the future, and reduce it to nothingness. That is its intent and desire. Everything from the perversion of homosexual marriage, polyamorous relationships, adultery, pornography, and fornication to simply never marrying for the right reasons to begin with, is meant to destroy and devalue the gift of marriage. The world wants to destroy it from without and within; by explosion and implosion. An implosion is the act of destroying something from the inside such that it caves in upon itself. The devastation is greatest inside the structure. On-lookers on see half of the calamity that exists. But, they can easily see that the structure is gone.

Proverbs 5:15-23 gives us four ways to cause your marriage to implode. Solomon, the author of the majority of Proverbs (1 Kings 4, esp. v 32), is writing to his son, probably a 15-year old Rehoboam. As Rehoboam must prepare for rulership in the kingdom, he must know what God expects from him, and how to attain to that expectation (see Deuteronomy 17:14-20). When he should marry, Rehoboam is expected to maintain a unique and holy marriage. He is expected to be a “one-woman-man.” Although he failed, as did his father and grandfather, David (2 Sam 5:13; 1 Kin 11:3, 4; 2 Chronicles 11:21-23), it was not because Solomon did not instruct him.

The four ways to implode your marriage are:

  • Sinful Discontentment With the Possession of Your Wife (vv. 15-16).
  • Sinful Distraction From the Provision of Your Wife (vv. 17-18).
  • Sinful Dissatisfaction With the Beauty of Your Wife (vv. 19-20).
  • Sinful Diversion From the Judgment of YHWH (vv. 21-23).

 

Sinful Discontentment – vv. 15-16

 

15 Drink water from your own cistern

And fresh water from your own well.

16  Should your springs be dispersed abroad,

Streams of water in the streets?

 

The main verb here is “Drink” and it is an exhortation from Solomon to Rehoboam. As with the rest of Proverbs, it is written in poetic fashion in order to protect the private nature of the subject matter. The beauty and dignity of marriage cannot, and should not, be derogated to the level of street talk or a locker room discourse. The poetry and metaphoric language in this section, although full of meaning, is wise and meant to protect the value of marriage. Base locker room discussion about marriage takes the value of a precious jewel and makes it common.

The point of these verses is that a man should not look beyond his own cistern (a large contraption meant to hold water for use) for a drink. He must train himself to be content with his wife, the wife of God’s choice for him (1 Corinthians 7:20, 24). The use of the cistern is available to its owner when necessary and with a clean conscience. Why take your source of water, springs, and scatter them everywhere such that you lose the use of your cistern and make it available to many others? The obvious allusion here is that of adultery. When a man (and this section is written to a man from that perspective) is married, why in the world would he leave his  relationship with his own wife and go “abroad” and establish other relationships with other women? That does not make sense. Exodus 20:17 forbids the coveting of your neighbor’s wife, as well as his property. Marriage was created between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18-25; 1:28). Adam was not given multiple wives and Eve was not given multiple husbands. Once a marriage is consummated, that married couple is one new man (Genesis 2:23-25). For a man to commit adultery is likened to a man who has dismembered himself and given pieces of his body to other women. Grotesque as that may sound, adultery is just as disgusting. That is why a married couple is told to exercise their rights within marriage freely and often. Paul taught that in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. The conjugal privilege in marriage is a duty. It is a privilege. It is a benefit to life. As the writer of Ecclesiastes (Solomon again) wrote,

Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun (Ecclesiastes 9:9).

The love of a man for his wife, and of a wife for her husband, is a rare jewel. It is rare because of the design of God, and not the inherent worth of the couple. Thus, to take that relationship, unique as it is, and scatter it to the winds is to devalue and demean it. It actually becomes worthless.

Sinful Distraction – vv. 17-18

 

17  Let them be yours alone

And not for strangers with you.

18  Let your fountain be blessed,

And rejoice in the wife of your youth.

The springs of life are not something to disperse abroad. They must remain at home. That is to say, procreative power must remain within the confines of marriage and not given away. A spring is a source of water. That is the way that it is used here. The source of life is within marriage. And just like a spring, you draw from it and enjoy the product of it. You realize that you can come back again and again as often as your thirst is there. That spring of water is yours by law and there is not guiltiness in drinking from it.

The allusion is the same for marriage. The joy and uniqueness of marriage is the source of life. Enjoyment within that marriage is to be imbibed and partaken of as often as one wants without guilt. However, if you share that privilege with strangers, you have become distracted from what is lawful and stolen from your neighbor.

Proverbs 9:17–18

17  “Stolen water is sweet;

And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

18  But he does not know that the dead are there,

That her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

 

The “forbidden one” is the adulteress. She is a woman who is a stranger to the relationship of a man with his wife. Your springs of life must not be given to her. She has made no covenant of marriage with you (Proverbs 2:16-17). She does not have your best interest in mind (Proverbs 7:21-23). The adulteress is accursed of God (Proverbs 5:3-6). Any woman who is willing to, wants to, or does, leave her marriage in order to commit a sexual act, or resemblance thereof, with another man, married or not, is this adulteress. She is accursed of God. It does not matter if the courts sanction it, your friends encourage it, your own heart demands it, she is  an adulteress in God’s eyes. Ladies, do not give your heart to any other man. Men, train yourself to remain at home in your heart. Distraction from your marriage is a sure way to destroy it from the inside.

A further exhortation from Solomon is that of the source of joy in marriage. Marrying while young is a good idea biblically because of long child-bearing years. The blessing of children is the product of the marriage union and is a special, unique, and invaluable find. If God grants a couple children, He has actively and personally taken that union and created a new flesh from it (Psalm 139:-16). His creative act is staggering. The skill, wisdom, and care as evidenced in the formation of a child in the womb, is one of the most fantastic acts of God’s power in creation. It is to be taken with the utmost of fear and care.

Paul taught that the joys of marriage are appropriate to married couples. God has given us good things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). False teachers teach that the joys of marriage must be deferred if you want to be holy (1 Timothy 4:1ff.), as well as other physical pleasures (like a good meal). However, God has given a married couple the privileges that come with that covenant of marriage to be enjoyed as long as it is with gratitude. The wife of a man’s youth is his prize. She is his joy and friend. He is to her as her friend and leader. She sees him with the eyes of singularity as does he towards her. This lack of distraction from one another will protect your marriage from implosion. 

 

Sinful Dissatisfaction – vv. 19-20

 

19  As a loving hind and a graceful doe,

Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;

Be exhilarated always with her love.

20  For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress

And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?

 

The physical beauty of a woman must be upheld (See Song of Solomon 2). The honor and value that it contains is immeasurable. Sure it can be, and is, demeaned and scarred from worthless men. However, the reality is that few things compare, at least in the eyes of her husband, to the personal beauty of a man’s wife. Her beauty, coupled with dignity and wisdom, is his delight and the source of his softened heart for her. A dignified woman of God will maintain her beauty. She will not be motivated by her own vanity and self-promotion, comparison with the other women at church, or for the allurement of other men’s glances. She will keep her own beauty for the good of her husband (Proverbs 31:12). And surely, since true beauty accompanies the fear of the LORD, she will not be extravagant, gaudy, or boisterous in her apparel (1 Timothy 2:9-10). She will most beautify herself with her works, which always accompany Spirit-produced righteousness. But, nonetheless, she is attractive for the sake of her husband.

It is sad to see a woman let herself go. She, in her laziness and self-indulgence, is unwittingly tempting her husband to be dissatisfied with her. She arrogantly thinks that the man is caught and must simply endure her selfishness, like it or not. Granted, there is never any excuse for lust, adultery, or immorality in general. But, why tempt him? Why push him away? Why not draw him close? Ladies, take measures in your diet, wardrobe, and behavior that tell your husband that you love him (1 Peter 3:1-6). Exercise self-control, wisdom, and self-denial in these things. Men, do the same (compare yourself with Solomon in Song of Solomon 5:10-15!). What woman wants to look at an unshaven, messy-haired man everyday? The world portrays the enviable man as a buffoon who barely has enough ambition to dress himself in the morning. It is certain that he should not be asked to shave and comb his hair. And, heaven forbid, wear a tie or nice jacket when going to dinner with his wife?! There is a grotesque self-indulgence that men believe they have a right to take part in. It is nothing less than laziness and is condemnable toward God, who Himself is beautiful (Ezekiel 1:22-28).

The writer instructs his son to enjoy the physical beauty of his wife, and do not look beyond her to another. She will be to him, as she maintains her beauty of heart and body, as a “loving hind and a graceful doe.” These are creatures of that day of great value and had their own kind of softness. She is to be his satisfaction at all times, and he is actually to be “intoxicated” with her love. Her love of him must be the source of his satisfaction. Ladies, demonstrate that you love your husband. He likes to know that. Men, be enraptured with her. She wants to know that you love her as well.

Why would you take this unique, priceless, and special relationship and scatter it to the foreigner? It is not hers! Why embrace the bosom of a stranger? Why lust after her in your heart? Tell your heart to be satisfied with the wife God has entrusted to you. As Peter says, “Dwell with your wife according to knowledge” (1 Peter 3:7). Get to know her and be satisfied with her. It is a life-long lesson to be sure.

A quick word to younger women who are not married. Patiently wait for God’s timing on marriage. Dreaming about marriage will not make it appear quicker. Take the time to learn the lessons of godliness before marriage so that when the Lord does bring your husband to you, you are that much more valuable to him (Proverbs 31:10). He will appreciate it. Young men, same for you. Take the time to learn to be strong, godly, and wise in leadership. Develop sound doctrine and sound thinking (Titus 2:6-8). Panicking about missing out does not lead to marriage. It is covetousness. God did not intend for you, men, to covet marriage or a wife. He intended you to prepare for one (Memorize Proverbs 24:27!).

Sinful Diversion – vv. 21-23

 

21  For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord,

And He watches all his paths.

22  His own iniquities will capture the wicked,

And he will be held with the cords of his sin.

23  He will die for lack of instruction,

And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.

 

Solomon would go on to write:

Ecclesiastes 11:9–10

9 Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things.

10  So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.

 

Youth is a wonderful time. There are so many untested ideas, hopes, and ambitions. That is to be understood and encouraged by wise parents. However, it must be tempered by one thing: judgment. The reality is, you must spend eternity with the decisions you make today. God will evaluate every man based upon his works. A man’s works are performed after making decisions. Decisions are based upon righteousness or the lack of it. Righteousness is based upon the Word of God, not emotion. Young man, if you want to marry, praise God. Do it. However, remember, YHWH sees the motives and intentions of the heart (Genesis 6:5) and oftentimes those things will fool you (Proverbs 28:26 “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool”). Don’t believe what your heart is telling you. Rather, believe what God has told you via His Word. Listen to your father. Listen to wise men. Listen to your pastor and elders (1 Peter 5:5). Heed their instruction and value their ways (Proverbs 23:26).

It is easier to refuse an adulteress the first time than to attempt to do it a second time. Your lust, which may have started as a preoccupation with marriage, will ensnare you and hold you with its cords. The Apostle Peter wrote, “…for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19). You are enslaved by what overcomes you. The fear of never marrying; impatience while waiting for God to bring the right one along; trying to find a job sufficient enough to support a home and not being able to find one; all of these are indications that you are being overcome. As Paul might say at this juncture, “Do not be drunk with wine (or the preoccupation with marriage), which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) Do not go astray from instruction because you are overcome with the fantasy, and hopes, of marriage. Keeps your eyes straight ahead and “prepare your work in the field.” Do what it takes to learn a trade, go to school, start a business based upon your skills or talents. Market your skills and see if there is profit in it. Solomon also wrote

Proverbs 14:23

23  In all labor there is profit,

But mere talk leads only to poverty.

 

Stop talking and dreaming. Start working. But work smart. Remember, YHWH will hold you accountable for the course your decisions take you. Do not be diverted from this fact.

Catholicism.

 

I was raised Catholic. Being from an Italian/Irish lineage, I was given ample opportunity to be submerged into the culture and doctrine of The Roman Catholic Church. The traditions, the expectations, the habits, the components of religious duty, all surrounded me…but was never explained to me. I was about 17 or 18 when I begin thinking about god in some fashion. It would not be until I was twenty-one that I was seized by God with His truth being face to face with His Word, the Bible and what it teaches. I then heard about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I remember sitting in that church building, being invited by my neighbor from the dorm, listening, knowing, and affirming that I deserved Hell, I was a sinner, and that Jesus died. I absorbed all of that during my short years in cognitive interaction with The Roman Catholic Church. However, that day I visited that little Bible church in Bozeman, Montana was the day that the pastor mentioned the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The reality of that, and its significant implications, hit me deeply (to put it mildly), and immediately I was given faith to believe and submit to that Lord of Glory. I remember it well.

However, the years prior to that, I was struggling. In so many ways I was lost-angry, frustrated, hopeless. I remember thinking one particular question over and over again, “If Jesus was such a nice guy, then why did the people kill Him?” I could never get an answer to that nagging question from any Mass I attended, any discussion I heard, or any ritual I observed. There was never any sense in which you could really understand what Jesus did in my time attending the Roman Catholic Church, only that He did it. He died, gave His body, laid to rest in a tomb, held by his mother, conferred religion to mankind…all of which was enshrouded in absolute impregnable mystery. That is not for us to know, only accept. The life, death, and resurrection is not for people to understand only accept. The Jesus of the Catholic Church I attended in Kansas City, MO. and the variety of feasts as well was simply acts of response to our religion. Why? I didn’t know. It was never explained. I am convinced that if I were to ask the average Catholic “Why did Jesus die on a cross? Why was He raised from the dead? Who benefits from His death? What does the Bible say about all of these things?” they would not know either.

Pagan religions have one stick to beat people with-mystery. It is mystery that keeps you attending. It is mystery that keeps you giving. It is mystery that keeps you fearful about ever questioning, or simply understanding, the purposes behind the religion. I am convinced that The Roman Catholic Church is a Pagan religion, primarily for that fact. The leadership of Catholicism does not divulge the purposes for its decrees, nor is it compelled to. They cannot tell you why they do what they do. They cannot tell you where they can find Jesus’ words concerning the Mass, Indulgences, or the Rosary. They cannot demonstrate, exegetically, how Peter was the “Papa” and head of the church. They cannot explain how ex Cathedra can be supported in light of Scripture. Thus, like the life of the church itself, it is all a mystery. And that is the way they like it. Furthermore, this is the foundational component to its “unity.” The reality is that the Catholic church is a shell, a crust. The so-called unity found there, that they say Protestants don’t have because we have so many denominations as if proof of our erroneous doctrines, is only external unity because most Catholics cannot explain Jesus Christ or what He has accomplished. So, in order to keep order, they enshroud the Church with mystery and thereby maintain their idea of unity. It is not unity. It is utter chaos. The Apostle Paul taught that the means of unity is the knowledge of the Son of God (Ephesians 4:11-13). Those who do not believe, and thus teach against, what the Scriptures teach about Jesus Christ cannot remain in fellowship with God’s people (Romans 16:17-18). When a church says the same things about Christ, the kingdom, and all that Christ taught, it is unified. That demands extensive knowledge of those things, the very thing Rome despises.

I want to address a few typical considerations that I have heard over the years from Catholics concerning the differences between them and us, those who are termed “Protestants.” Martin Luther and his actions drove a wedge between us that needed to be driven. I praise God for his conscience that led him to stand alone that day in the face of the anger and tyranny of the leadership of the Catholic Church. What a man. But, just what were the teachings that made up that wedge? What was it that compelled this scholarly monk to renounce The Roman Catholic Church in such stark terms? I believe it comes down to a few teachings (although, admittedly, volumes could be, and have been, written):

  1. THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF JESUS CHRIST.
  2. THE AUTHORITY OF THE SCRIPTURES.
  3. THE DEPRAVITY OF MAN.

The Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Rome cannot understand the kingdom of Jesus Christ. If we can know a tree by its fruit, then we can surely see this in Rome. Rome seeks to introduce the kingdom to the world by means of subduing people to the Mother Church. Or, to say it another way, Rome wants everyone to “come home.” That is not the announcement of the kingdom. We, those truly born from above, may have to enter eternity by means of a sword. Jesus said,

Matthew 10:34–36

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35  “For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

36  and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

Jesus never gave the illusion that somehow the world would be subdued by His church. He never indicated that the church is the vehicle by which the world is made peaceful. That was not His goal in coming to this earth. By His own words He came to this earth to divide the earth. Jesus purposefully initialized the animosity that would arise between family members because some would believe in Him and some would not. What is the good news in that? It is this: when division does happen, a person can be in the family of the One who will ultimately rule. Compared to the alternative, which is to be judged by Him, it is good news. To be reconciled to Jesus Christ, the Judge (John 5:25-27) is the announcement that true Christians have and Rome does not. The gospel that Jesus Christ preached is the announcement of the kingdom. Indeed, it is often referred to as “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Luke 16:16). It is the announcement that Jesus Christ has received a kingdom and He is inviting the world into it (see Matthew 22:1-14). That is not to say that everyone will, or can, enter into it. Jesus Himself said, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). The gospel demands the call to the world to repent from its sins (Matthew 4:17; Acts 17:30-31). The world, which loves darkness (John 3:19), is the recipient of this announcement and is obligated to obey (2 Thessalonians 1:5-8). The heart of the gospel, and the provision for men to enter into Christ’s kingdom is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). This provision, and this alone, is what “merits” man’s entrance into the kingdom. Catholic theology teaches that our works also merit our entrance (Council of Trent, Session VI, Justification, Canons 4, 7, 32). They condemned those who teach that the requirement for entrance into the kingdom was met by Jesus Christ alone, without cooperation from manas heretical (Ibid, Canon 12). In doing so, they condemned Christ Himself because Jesus taught, in context, that man cannot even know how to justify himself nor accomplish it, even by the cooperation of Christ (John 3:1-8). If a man could birth himself physically, then sure, he could cooperate with Jesus Christ for good works that produce eternal life and more of it. But, no man ever cooperated in his physical birth, and no man can cooperate in his spiritual one either.

The Authority of the Scriptures.

The written Word of God has the same authority as the spoken Word of God from His throne (which is not in Rome, by the way). That is to say, God has spoken through His prophets and they recorded what was to be recorded into books and letters and those have been preserved and collected into a mini-library called the Scriptures. The writer of Hebrews wrote that God spoke in many portions and in many ways to His prophets, and ultimately in His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1). This speaking of the Father is what we are after. His speaking was recorded by “men moved by the Holy Spirit [who] spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21). The office of prophet is no longer in the church (1 Corinthians 13:8). Thus, for the Pope to speak a new form of doctrine or liturgy, and to ascribe the same level of authority upon it as Scripture is simply not possible. Thus, in the same vein of Deuteronomy 13:1ff. that person who says that they now speak on behalf of God as if God Himself is speaking in him, or recognizing his own words as His, then that person is to be rejected. God has closed the canon. Surely, if there was ongoing revelation through a prophet, of which the Pope would have to be labeled, then we have the right to test all that he writes and says against the Word of God (all 66 books-see 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; cf. Deuteronomy 13:1ff.). However, Catholicism admits that, in a very real sense, the canon is not closed. By that I mean that they believe that they have unbroken succession of traditions from the Apostles down to this very day (Trent, session IV, ‘Decree Concerning the Canonical Scriptures’). Not only do they accept the Apocrypha, which has been proven non-canonical internally, but they list them as authoritative and binding. So, the authority of Scripture, which is unique to the Scriptures alone, is now shared with spoken tradition and the Apocrypha (as well as the early church fathers, as they call them). Yet, the Apostle Paul wrote,

2 Timothy 3:16–17

16  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

17  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

What is validated as Scripture, not by council but by the Scriptures themselves, is Scripture. Human tradition and extra-canonical writings cannot, and should never be, placed upon the same level as the written Word of God.

The Depravity of Man

Finally, Rome does not believe in the teaching of Scripture regarding the depravity of man. If they did, they would not anathematize those who teach the mercy of God (Justification, Canons 4, 9, 12). Rome says,

It is furthermore declared that in adults the beginning of that justification must proceed from the predisposing grace of God through Jesus Christ, that is, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits on their part, they are called; that they who by sin had been cut off from God, may be disposed through His quickening and helping grace to convert themselves to their own justification by freely assenting to and cooperating with that grace; so that, while God touches the heart of man through the illumination of the Holy Ghost, man himself neither does absolutely nothing while receiving that inspiration, since he can also reject it, nor yet is he able by his own free will and without the grace of God to move himself to justice in His sight (Ibid, Chapter 5, emphasis mine).

Although the Council of Trent affirms what seems to be a sound understanding of human depravity, by definition of other doctrines, namely sanctification, they deny it. That is, as Paul said, the righteousness that makes one holy is only by faith in Jesus Christ, worked out in us by God who generates obedience in us by His power alone, not with our cooperation (Philippians 3:7-11; 2:12-13; See Romans 1:5 & 16:26). God certainly works in us for righteousness, not to aid our flesh, but to live out the regeneration which comes by His Holy Spirit through His Word by faith (1 Thessalonians 2:13). The depravity of man is not that his innocence is lost by Adam. It is that he hates God, is His enemy and despises righteousness with his whole heart (John 3:19-20; cf. Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 8:6-8). This is why millions run to the Catholic churches, as well as a multitude of other cults, because of their refusal to submit to the righteousness of God which is by faith (Romans 10:1-4). They build their own set of righteousness, all by the imitation of the righteousness of God, which is in the Scripture, and they do what they think Scripture says (John 5:39-40), but they do it by means of their own depravity. The righteousness to which they attain is not from heaven, but earth, and is therefore condemning, not meritorious.

The most righteous act imaginable is to believe God. The Bible teaches that this act is not possible, either by man, nor in a mixture of his will and God’s (John 1:12-13), nor in any other fashion. The faith that must be in man as proof of eternal life (John 3:15) must be given to man, as a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9), and is not earned. If it were earned, the death of Jesus Christ would not have been necessary. Besides, the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant, which has come to the Gentiles, is only by faith, and not by the fruit of faith which is righteous behavior (Galatians 3; esp. vv. 8-9). Catholic doctrine demands that the sinner must cooperate with God in the regeneration that is required to enter the Kingdom of Christ. However, if that were the case, then the Apostle Paul was wrong when he taught that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor the perishable the imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:50). That is why the Lord taught that a man must die in order to follow Him (Matthew 10:37-39) and then must be born from above, from God (John 3:3-8; cf. Ezekiel 36:25-27). What could possibly make a Catholic think that he could assist God in this endeavor? God does not remodel a sinner-the sinner must die and be reborn. He must be a “new creation” in order to be acceptable to God and enter God’s kingdom (see Matthew 5:48).

For any person who believes Catholic doctrine, and has believed in the teaching of the Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, and Popes, of centuries past or today, read and re-read what I have written. I am not asking you to become a Protestant. I, as a pastor of Christ’s flock, am instructing you to submit to Jesus Christ by means of repentance from erroneous doctrine and dead works and believing in what He actually did teach-you must be born from God, not man, in order to enter His kingdom.

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