SACRAMENTS

SACRAMENTS

The word “Sacrament” literally means, “Something Holy”.

According to the Catholic Church God’s Grace is the means by which we are absolved of all sin and we receive Spiritual Gifts.  This Grace is channeled to the person via the Seven Sacraments of the Church.  These seven are:

  • Water Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • The Eucharist
  • Penances
  • The Sacrament of the Sick (Formerly known as the Extreme Unction, i.e. Last Rites)
  • Holy Orders
  • Matrimony

The chief of these seven is the Eucharist, as the Eucharist plays a unique role within the Sacraments of the Catholic Church as well as being an essential ingredient of the other six.  For this reason I shall cover the subject of the Eucharist first.

The Eucharist

During the Mass the priests performs an elaborate ritual of prayers, bowing and curtseying around the Altar of the church.  Bells are rung and invocations are made culminating in the blessing of the Eucharist.  The priest will take the wafer, or Host, (also known as the”Victim”) and the substance of the wafer undergoes a mystical transformation from simple bread into the actual flesh of Jesus Christ.  By re-enacting this the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary is made ever present and is offered for, and received by, the communicants (those present during the Mass, whether they actually eat the wafer or not).

The Eucharist is the only one of the seven that is an object of actual worship.  It is believed that God the Son is literally present.  As the priest lifts up the wafer (sometimes contained in an ornate object called a Monstrance) he will draw the attention of the congregation to it and declare it to be “The Lamb of God that takes away the Sins of the World.”

Another important feature of the Mass is the repetition of a prayer for mercy and peace called the “Agnus Dei” offered as the priest takes the host and breaks it.

In the Mass we see the Son of God reduced to mere wafer which becomes an object of worship.  This is nothing less than idolatry.

Water Baptism

Water Baptism is generally performed upon infants.  Baptism of infants is seen as essential as every baby born into the world is believed to be corrupted by “Original Sin” and baptism removes the guilt of Original Sin (the sin imparted to all mankind by the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden).

It is also taught that Baptism brings the remission of all punishment that we owe because of sin, both temporal (in this world and in Purgatory) and eternal (the punishment that we would suffer in hell) thus the person receives the Holy Spirit by, and is sanctified through baptism.  Through this baptism the person becomes part of Christ and part of the Church.

Whilst Mark does write, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;” he also states straight after, “but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16) thus making it clear that to be Baptised a person MUST be a believer.  The exhortation to be baptised was ALWAYS preached to those who could understand and believe.  Nowhere do the New Testament Scriptures infer that infants were ever baptised.  All men will be judged on account of their own sins because when a person comes of an age where they understand God’s Law (and they break it) sin is then imputed to them, “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” (Romans 5:13)

The scriptures which state;
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.” (Acts 2:38)
and;
The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (1Peter 3:21)
are not saying that it is baptism that brings remission of sins, baptism is shown throughout the New Testament as an outward sign of that which God has wrought already in the believer, as A.R Faussett explains, “The antitypical water, namely, baptism, saves you also not of itself, nor the mere material water, but the spiritual thing conjoined with it, repentance and faith, of which it is the sign and seal, as Peter proceeds to explain.”

It is by FAITH that we receive salvation.  Baptism follows after faith as a sign of obedience as Peter states, “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God

Baptism comes as the answer of a good conscience towards God, an act of obedience, and as such can only be something a believer can submit to.

Confirmation

Confirmation is a rite found nowhere in the practice of the New Testament churches. Hence it cannot be considered valid.

Penances

This sacrament is given by which a person may be absolved from sins committed after baptism.  It is a means by which a person can make restitution for wrongs done thus enables a person to be cleansed of such sins as these are not covered by the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary. Penances are given as part of the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest and such confession is an essential element of this sacrament.  Only the priest can offer absolution of sins, and only the priest can prescribe a suitable penance. (See The Catechism of the Catholic Church,  Article 4)

We are taught in the Holy Scriptures that the blood that Jesus Christ shed at Calvary, “cleanseth us from all sin.”(1 John 1:7)  We are also taught that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”(1 John 1:9)  Thus we see that confession should be made to Jesus Christ alone and HE will forgive and cleanse from all unrighteousness!  Penances are only necessary because the Catholic Church teaches that Christ’s atonement was not sufficient to redeem the sinner from sin and death.  The Apostle John declares that we can HAVE the assurance of forgiveness and KNOW that we HAVE Eternal Life on the basis that we believe on the name of the Son of God! “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)

Sacrament of the Sick

Also known as “Extreme Anointing “or “Last Rites”.  This is offered so that the dying person, whether conscious or not, can be given the hope of the possibility of dying in a “State of Grace”.  Yet more evidence of the lack of assurance given by the Catholic Church’s system of salvation.

Holy Orders

Holy Orders are seen as necessary for the ordination of priests.  Unless the priest has been through this sacrament he is unable to minister the sacraments to the congregation.  Such Sacraments are invalid and so the need for an ordained priesthood is also unnecessary.

Matrimony

Matrimony, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, is much more than “marriage”.  For this sacrament to be legitimate the two parties must also participate in the Sacrament of Penance.  Also the solemnization must be done as a part of a Liturgical Act, in public, accompanied by a Mass. (Re-Article 7- the Sacrament of Matrimony, Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Conclusion

From birth (or conversion) until death the Roman Catholic has a faith based upon the need for Sacraments in order to receive, and partake of, the Grace of God.  The Catholic cannot go directly to Christ Himself but must submit to these seven Sacraments through a priestly intermediary who is ordained by the Catholic Church.  The whole Sacramental system stands, and falls, on these things;

  • That faith alone is not sufficient for salvation.
  • That a person cannot enter the presence of God alone on the merit of being justified solely by faith.
  • That the Blood of Christ does NOT redeem from ALL sin!
  • That a person can NOT know that they have eternal Life!
  • That unless an ordained priest officiates over these sacraments a person CANNOT receive Grace from God!

As we have seen the foundational Sacrament upon which all other Sacraments rest is the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is fundamental for all the other sacraments, and all the other Sacraments MUST be accompanied by the Eucharist!

According to the Catholic Church the real bodily presence of Christ is found in the Eucharist.  The substance of the wafer is changed into the actual flesh of the Son of God.  The wafer becomes the “Lamb of God” that takes away the sins of the world and as such we literally take Jesus into our being every time we eat it!

The Bible is quite clear about this, that when Christ died 2000 years ago it was:

  • ONCE, for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
  • That, “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all].” (Hebrews 10:10)
  • That, “we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:10)
  • That, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
  • That He has reconciled us, “In the body of his flesh through death, to present (us) holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:22)

It is written, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
(1 John 5:13)

We have no need of such Sacraments in order to come before God, nor do we need any earthly priest to perform such, as it is written, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

It is NOT by Grace we are saved via Sacraments, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”(Ephesians 2:8-9)

Faith is the means by which we are saved and enter into God’s Grace.  Faith justifies a person,
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
(Romans 5:1) Simply believing God´s record of His Son justifies, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3)

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not lifeThese things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:11-13)

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; 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.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  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.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:8-13)

How can we stand by and allow Catholic people to wallow in the mire of Sacramentalism?  How can we simply stand by and watch them perish under such a system?  If we love them we should speak with them and enlighten them to the truth.  Such sacraments do NOT bring anyone into the Grace of God; rather they separate them from the truth of the Gospel of Grace by Faith alone!

If Christ reconciled us by His death on the cross, and it is by virtue of this (and this alone) that we ARE reconciled to the Father, what need have we of any other means to be reconciled?

If we are justified on the basis that we believe, what other means do we need other than faith alone?

If we can come before the throne of Grace simply because Jesus Christ opened the door for us to do so by His death on the cross, why do we need any other means of approaching the Throne of Grace?

To declare any other way is to preach another Gospel than the one the apostles preached, thus it is accursed!
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)

 

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