THE GOD OF THE BIBLE
vs. THE GOD OF THE MASS
Some years ago a Roman Catholic priest informed his superiors that, in good conscience, he could no longer "say Mass." He was reluctantly excused from officiating at Mass, though not dismissed from the Priesthood. Altogether too many priests were resigning; the Church didnít want to lose him, and it was thought that he might, with patience, be won back to the official position of the Church.
I had the privilege of sitting in his New York study and hearing him describe his spiritual odyssey, beginning with his own personal salvation as a result of studying the Word of God. After being saved by believing the good news as he found it in the Pauline Epistles, and receiving assurance of salvation in the same way (Ephesians 2:8-9), he then became convinced that the Lord Jesus Christ is the sole Mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5) and consequently ceased to confess his sins to another priest or to himself hear confession from either priest or lay person. Needless to say, this hardly delighted his superiors; and then he made his great discovery concerning the Mass through studying the tenth chapter of Hebrews. In the tenth chapter of Hebrews God and Paul tell us that the Law with its many sacrifices offered on Jewish altars could not "take away sins" and therefore could not make the Jewish worshipper perfect (Hebrews 10:1-4). Then in the tenth verse comes the great contrast, "we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." In some of our English versions we find simply the word "once," but the meaning of the original Greek word is "once with finality," "once in perpetuity," "once for ever," or "once for all." In the eleventh and twelfth verses we find the contrast again. This time it is between the Jewish priest offering repeated sacrifices and "this Man," Christ, offering "one sacrifice for ever" and then sitting down--something the Jewish priest never did because his work was never completed. Christ offered only one sacrifice with finality, and sat down because His work was completed, and He sat down at the right hand of God! His finished work completely satisfied the holy nature and the righteous demands of the Father, and so He sat, perfectly accepted, at the Fatherís right hand (1 John 2:2). His death on Calvary paid the wages of sin for us (1 Corinthians 15:3; Romans 6:23). He had no sins of His own (2 Corinthians 5:21). His acceptance at the right hand of the Father was our acceptance since He did not need to die to have acceptance with the Father for Himself.
It is vitally important to notice that the great contrast here is a contrast between many sacrifices made by an earthly priesthood and one sacrifice made by the Heavenly High Priest. It is not a contrast between the many sacrifices of Old Testament times and many "unbloody sacrifices of the blood" now. It is many sacrifices that could not take away sin, versus the one sacrifice that did! Christ had to be both Priest and Lamb; He was, and with that God is satisfied for all Eternity..."one sacrifice forever" (Hebrews 10:14). According to God Himself, it is not the offering of the "Host," nor thousands of such offerings, nor countless millions of such offerings, but the once-for-ever offering of the Son of God upon the cross of Calvary that pleased the Father, fulfilled His desires, and answered eternally to His will (Hebrews 10:5-10).
Thousands of priests offering millions of animals for fifteen hundred years did not judge and put away one single Jewish sin. These sacrifices, like the many Gentile sacrifices before them, were ordained of God as a type, or foreshadowing, of the then future sacrifice of Christ. Christ the Anti-type, the Fulfillment, came, died on the cross and rose again, leaving no more need of the type. Substance took the place of shadow! Now, thousands of priests offering millions of wafers can accomplish nothing except to deny what God so clearly has said about the crosswork of His Son.
Father Angelo was right...right in believing that Christ on Calvary completed the work that the Father sent Him to do...right in recognizing the indisputable fact that Christís one offering need never, and can never, be repeated...right in refusing any longer to take part in a man-made substitute for that finished work...right in eventually leaving a community whose plan of salvation runs counter to the plan that God Himself has given us in His infallible Book...and right in continuing to love all his Catholic relatives and friends.
The issue is not Protestantism versus Catholicism. It is not one church versus another. It is Godís truth versus man's tradition, the Holy Bible speaking clearly versus the reasoning of man.
On Calvary, Christ did not merely "throw the door of Heaven open," leaving the work of our salvation unfinished...leaving something more to be done. On Calvary, Christ did everything necessary to bridge that otherwise unbridgeable chasm that, of necessity, existed between an infinitely holy God and sinners in abject ruin (Romans 5:9-10). God believes His Sonís work to be perfect, and we are saved when we believe it too (Acts 16:31).
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