Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Why I Call Roman Catholics "Brethren"
I was listening to some people discussing sanctification. Here is the gist of the conversation: Yes, we are to obey the law. The Holy Spirit empowers us with grace to be able to follow the commandments of God. When we sin, we just need to resist harder. We are to mortify our flesh.
Do you hear Roman Catholicism in those ideas?
The penance there is all the things we must do. "We must mortify our flesh. We must obey the law." How do we mortify the flesh? The answer was that we are to crucify our flesh. More things we must do, more penance.
Scripture says in Romans 6, But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.
and in 1 Corinthians 1, But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
Our sanctification is Jesus Christ. We don't do the best we can, and then God finishes what we cannot do.
Why can I call Roman Catholics brethren? Because they err the same way the Calvinists do, going back under the law after salvation. And not only do the Calvinists make this grave error, but so do all her step-children, the Arminians.
Paul warns us about returning to the law this way in Galatians 4, Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
Dear Reader, did you hear the idea of penance in that conversation? Did it sound like Roman Catholicism to you, too? Self-flagellation was equated to sanctification. The conversation was amongst Calvinists, not Roman Catholics; but to my ears they sound the same.