Tagged: sacraments

Works of righteousness, what are they?

Titus 3:5

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

What are these “works of righteousness” to which St. Paul refers?

In my opinion, a work of righteousness can include any good deed which is commanded by God.  That includes the Commandments, the Beautitudes, the virtues, the works of spiritual and corporal mercy, etc. etc.

You see, I tie this verse back to this one:

Exodus 20:6

King James Version (KJV)

 6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

But we are not saved by doing the Commandments.  But by His mercy.

Do you see the relationship?  The Commandments of God are the basis of every good work which we can do.

To put it bluntly, we can’t wash our own souls.  God is the only one who can do that.  And God won’t do it for anyone except for those who have kept His Commandments:

Romans 2:13

King James Version (KJV)

 13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

In order to be justified, in order to be saved, we must keep the Commandments of God:

Revelation 22:13-15

King James Version (KJV)

 13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

 14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

 15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.


Doctrine of Baptisms

How do you explain this teaching?

Hebrews 6:2
King James Version (KJV)
2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

I say that this is a teaching on the Sacraments.

1. There is one Baptism. And that is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
2. There is one Sacrament of Baptism and that is by water and the Holy Spirit. 

And in the Sacrament of Baptism, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is effected by water and the word.

Did you catch that?  In #2, #1 is effected by the sign of water and the word of the Priest.

But every single Sacrament is a bath of sanctifying grace.

Every single Sacrament is a washing the soul by the Spirit of God. 

Therefore, every single Sacrament is, by definition, a baptism of the Holy Spirit.

1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation“Sacramental grace” is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior.

In every Sacrament, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is effected by one sign or another.

In Baptism, it is water.
In Confession, it is the Priestly absolution.
In Confirmation, it is the anointing of oil.
In Eucharist, it is the consuming of the Eucharist.
In Anointing of the Sick, it is again the anointing of oil.
In Matrimony, it is the oath of the bride and groom.
And in Ordination it is the laying of hands.

Or do you deny that in the Sacraments, one is washed in the grace of the Holy Spirit?

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

 Romans 4 is frequently used to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone. But it is actually a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.  Let’s go through it.

King James Version (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?Abraham is our father, according to the flesh. The Apostle asks, “what has he found”?

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Now, he asks, “did Abraham justify himself?” If he did, then more power to him, but it is not of God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Now, he quotes Gen 15:6Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

and he begins to explain what that means.

4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

This is a reference to the Jew. The Jews had made an agreement with God. They would do what He commanded and He would save them:

Ex 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him.

8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.

5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

But Abraham was born way before God made that covenant with the Israelites. Therefore, Abraham did not work for debt. But for faith. As the Scripture says:

Genesis 26:5
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

And this ties the Catholic back to Abraham. We also work because of our faith in God.

6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

David is one of the circumcised. But this is a reference, not to the covenant of works. But to the covenant of reconciliation. It is to one specific incidence that this refers:

2 Sam 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
David confessed his sin to God’s human representative and God forgave him. It is the first confession on record. David confessed through a priest, the same as we confess in the New Testament Church.

2 Corinthians 5:18
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

No one can deny that David did many works. But here, in his confession, all he did was believe in God’s mercy. That is what Catholics do when we attend the Sacraments.

9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

Is this reconciliation only offered to the Israelites. By no means. Abraham was not an Israelite. He was not even circumcised yet, when God saw his faith at work.

10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

This is a prophecy which showed that even the gentiles would be justified by faith.

12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

That pretty much repeats what I just said. We, like Abraham, believe and are imputed righteousness, in the Sacraments of Jesus Christ.

13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

The promise of God, then, was restricted to the Israelites but to the whole world, including the Israelites who believed God’s promises:
Hebrews 9:15
King James Version (KJV)
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

Here, St. Paul is contrasting the Old Testament with the New Testament.

The Old Testament is the Law.
The New Testament is the Faith.

Those who followed the Old Testament were not members of the body of Christ. They were not born again, nor could they be, because the Spirit was not yet given. Therefore Scripture says:
Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

So, even though they did everything by faith which they were supposed to do, they did not inherit the promise UNTIL Jesus died upon the Cross and established the Sacraments with His Blood.

15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

There was no ministry of reconciliation in the Old Testament. David’s reconciliation was the exception and it was to show the blessedness to come. It was a foreshadowing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

Again, this explains why Catholics are children of Abraham. Because we believe and it is counted to us righteousness in the Sacraments.

17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

That is the promise which God made to Abraham.

19 And being not weak in faith,

and Abraham, believed God.

he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:

20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

And believing God, even though there were many obstacles, he worked. Believing God, he performed.

22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.  

And it was imputed to him righteousness. Just as it is imputed to the Catholic, who believing the promises of God, approaches the font of grace and submits to the Sacraments, calling on His name.

23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

And that was not written for Abraham alone, but for us, who would receive the promise of the Holy Spirit of the Sacraments of Jesus Christ.

Acts 2:37-39
King James Version (KJV)
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Hebrews 12:18-24
King James Version (KJV)
18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,

19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:

21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)

22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

What do you think?

Romans 10 vs Protestants

On the Greenbaggins blog, I had the following exchange:

De Maria said,

November 24, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Kevin Failoni said,
November 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm

DeMaria, roberty bob, Romans 10:4 ” Christ is the END of the law FOR righteousness to all who believe. He is the end of the law because He fulfilled the law. ….

Kevin, Romans 10 describes the Catholic Church. Read it with understanding. You are reading it with the presuppositions instilled in you by the followers of Calvin. Listen.

Romans 10

1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

That compares the OT to the Sacraments of the NT. Christ is the end of the Law because it is in the Sacraments that we are saved, if we believe in Christ.

5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

This tells you that the Law of Moses is still efficacious, for those who obey God.

6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

These two verses destroy the false doctrine of presumption of salvation.

Here in 6, St. Paul says not to judge yourself or anyone saved. For, in so doing, you are putting Christ down. You are usurping His Role as Judge of Mankind.

7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

Here, in 7, St. Paul tells you not to condemn any man to hell. For in so doing, you are usurping God’s Role. You are exalting yourself as though you have the power of life and death.

8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

This is describing what we do in the Sacraments. We profess our faith in Christ and God pours into our hearts the grace of the Holy Spirit.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek because those who hear the voice of God and believe will obey and do His works:

Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

That doesn’t say, “pick up the Bible and read for yourself”. That doesn’t say, “pass out bibles and figure it out for yourself.”

That provides the Catholic Teaching which says that we learn our faith from our Priests. They are the ones who preach to us the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Faith comes from hearing. Not from reading the Bible. From hearing the Church which is the infallible Teaching of the Wisdom of God:

Ephesians 3:10King James Version (KJV)

10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Luther’s misunderstanding

I have a theory about Luther’s misunderstanding of justification, see if it makes any sense to you.

1st: Before the advent of Martin Luther, the Father of the Protestant Revolution, some very prominent and influential Catholics also said that justification was by faith alone.

Basil of Caesarea (329-379) “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord, that Christ has been made by God for us righteousness, wisdom, justification, redemption. This is perfect and pure boasting in God, when one is not proud on account of his own righteousness but knows that he is indeed unworthy of the true righteousness and is (or has been) justified solely by faith in Christ.”

Ambrose (c. 339-97) “Therefore let no one boast of his works, because no one can be justified by his works; but he who is just receives it as a gift, because he is justified by the washing of regeneration. It is faith, therefore, which delivers us by the blood of Christ, because blessed is he whose sins are forgiven, and to whom pardon is granted.”

Jerome (347-420) on Romans 10:3 “God justifies by faith alone.” (Deus ex sola fide justificat).

So, in my opinion, if these Church Fathers used the term “faith alone”, I conclude that there is a legitimate understanding of this term for Catholics.

2nd: How can it be by faith alone?

To put it bluntly, “Not the Protestant way.” Protestants deny that works before justification avail anything towards justification. But it is clear to me, from Scripture, that unless someone keeps the Commandments and does the Will of God, he will not be justified.

Scripture says:

Romans 2:13 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

This verse, very clearly tells me, that only those who do the Commandments will be just before God. Therefore, good works avail everything towards justification because without them, we won’t be justified.

3rd: So what did the Church Fathers mean when they said, “justification by faith alone”?

They were talking about that justification which occurs in the Sacraments. The Church teaches that the Sacraments are the works of God.

740 These “mighty works of God,” offered to believers in the sacraments of the Church, bear their fruit in the new life in Christ, according to the Spirit. (This will be the topic of Part Three.)

We approach the Sacraments with a disposition of faith. But it is apart from works. We repented, we turned to God, we sought His Face, we studied to show ourselves approved, now we believe that He will keep His promise. He will wash our souls with the washing of regeneration and renewal which is Baptism by water and the Holy Spirit. But we don’t do anything at that moment. We only believe. And God sees our faith and credits it to us as righteousness and that is why we are called the children of Abraham (Gen 15:6).

So, the justification which occurs in the Sacraments is what I believe the Catholic Church Fathers were talking about when they used the term “justification by faith alone”.

4th: So, what about Luther? In his German Bible, Luther swapped the words, “apart from works” for the word, “alone”. My theory is that he simply did not see the Sacramental Teaching which St. Paul was making when he wrote these words. I believe that when St. Paul said, “we are justified by faith apart from works”, he was describing that justification which occurs in Baptism. But Luther was led astray. And the prophecy of 2 Peter 3:16-17 was fulfilled in him:

2 Peter 3:16-17 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

16 speaking of this as he (i.e. St. Paul) does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability.

Does that make sense?

Why would God do something He finds abominable?

On Greenbaggins blog, he said:

Why Imputation Is Not a Legal Fiction
August 18, 2014 at 11:23 am (Justification)
A very common objection from Roman Catholics against the Protestant doctrine of imputation is that God declares someone to be innocent who is not, in fact, innocent. This is legal nonsense, to them. They believe that God would never declare a person to be righteous who is not, in fact, righteous. So, the Protestant idea that an alien righteousness, that of Christ, is reckoned to the sinner, is nonsense to them. It would be God declaring something to be true which is actually false.

I answer:

Yes. Scripture says:

Proverbs 17:15 English Standard Version
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.

So, why would God do something He considers abominable?


Is the justification of Abraham equal to the justification we receive in the New Testament?

It was while reading the Creed Cult Code blog about “The Mediocrity of the New Covenant?” when I thought about this,
Is the justification of Abraham equal to the justification we receive in the New Testament?
Because, if it is, then the New Testament is not superior to the Old.  But Scrpture says:
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
I think this verse from Scripture makes the point clear that the New Testament is superior and that the justification of the sinner in the New Testament is superior to that of the Old.
Matthew 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
At the time when Jesus made this statement, the OT Patriarchs had not been Baptized of the Holy Spirit. They were only born of woman. They had not been renewed and regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
And Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest of these. John the Baptist had also not received the Baptism of Jesus Christ.  But we, who are baptized, are citizens of the Kingdom of heaven.
Hebrews 12:22  King James Version (KJV)
22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Therefore, justification in the NT is greater than justification in the OT.
Therefore, when Scripture says in
Gen 15:6 “He believed and it was credited to him as righteousness”,
Abraham did not receive at that moment, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit nor a new life in Christ. He was not born again.
Certainly, after many centuries, he received what we receive the moment we are justified. And of course, the Catholic Church teaches that this happens in the Sacrament of Baptism.  But that brings us back to “imputation”. And I think I can ask this in a different manner.
“Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.”
Protestants frequently say it this way, “The righteousness of Christ was imputed unto Abraham”.
Does that Protestant terminology mean the same thing as “being born again in the image of Christ”?  and does it result in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?
Because I don’t see that in Scripture.
Scripture says that we are promised the Holy Spirit in Baptism:
Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
And Scripture says that Abraham did not receive that promise:
Hebrews 11:39New International Version (NIV)
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,
Nor could he, since the Holy Spirit was not yet given:
John 7:39  New International Version
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Does that make sense?