Jesus Christ is Sufficient to Save Sinners Completely
|By: Mike Gendron; ©2001|
|Whenever man is engaged in attaining and preserving his salvation, there can never be any assurance. But, as Mike Gendron explains this month, we CAN have assurance, and the reason is Christ!|
Jesus Christ is Sufficient to Save Sinners Completely
Whenever man is engaged in attaining and preserving his salvation, there can never be any assurance of spending eternity in the loving presence of Jesus. Such is the predicament for many Catholics. Their eternal destiny hangs in the balance because their salvation depends on what they do for God rather than trusting what God has done through Jesus Christ. They are taught to depend on their own merits to reach God rather than trust the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Roman Catholics are taught that the death of Jesus opened the gates of heaven but now Catholics must merit all the graces needed to attain eternal life. The fruit of these teachings are evident when you engage Catholics in spiritual conversations. When Catholics are asked how they hope to get to heaven, most of them will respond—through their good works, or by being a good person. Rarely will Catholics even mention the name of Jesus as the way of salvation. How can we persuade Catholics to repent of their dead works and trust Jesus alone? We must proclaim that Jesus Christ is sufficient to save sinners completely and forever!
His word is sufficient
Paul wrote, “faith comes from hearing the Word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). His word is sufficient for wisdom unto salvation. “The Holy Scriptures… are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15). The glorious Gospel of grace is contained entirely in Scripture (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Yet the Catholic clergy has added many traditions and extra biblical teachings to the Word of God. In doing so, they have nullified God’s Word and the saving power of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). The Roman Catholic Church ignores Christ’s rebuke of man’s tradition:
- “They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions…Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down” (Mark 7:7-13).
His mercy and grace are sufficient
The only way sinners can be saved is to rely solely on the mercy and grace of God our savior. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9). Catholics might ask, “What is wrong with doing good works to merit salvation?” Paul made it clear that you cannot mix grace with works: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9); “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5); God “has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Tim. 1:8-9); “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works” (Romans 11:6).
Amazingly, the Catholic Church condemns and curses anyone who believes the wonderful truths revealed in the above verses. Two examples of this follow:
- “If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, let him be anathema” (Canon 12, Council of Trent).
- “If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out that no debt of temporal punishment remains…let him be anathema (Canon 30, Council of Trent).
His shed blood is sufficient
The precious blood that Jesus shed on Calvary’s cross is sufficient to justify and redeem us, to reconcile us to God and to provide forgiveness of our sins: “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him” (Romans 5:9); “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Eph. 1:7); “For God was pleased…to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Col. 1:19-20). These verses soundly rebuke the Catholic teaching of sins being expiated by purgatorial fire or sin’s punishment being remitted by indulgences.
His sacrifice is sufficient
The sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ is not only sufficient, but it is necessary and finished. The sacrifices that continue on Catholic altars are a blatant rejection of the last words of Christ, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
- “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God…because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:10-14).
Nothing can be added to His perfect sacrifice because there is nothing lacking in it. Yet Catholics deny this by adding the merits of Mary and other saints to the infinite merits of Christ. Amazingly, Rome condemns with anathema anyone who believes the sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient to remit the punishment for all sin (Vatican Council II, “Indulgences”).
His righteousness is sufficient
The righteousness of Christ is not only sufficient but also necessary for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. It is necessary because the Lord Jesus proclaimed, “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 5:20). No one can enter heaven on their own righteousness because by God’s standard is perfection. Paul noted how imperfect we all are when he wrote, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). Furthermore the Bible declares that “nothing impure will ever enter” into heaven (Rev. 21:27). Those who do not know that God’s righteousness requires perfect righteousness try to establish their own as the Israelites did: “ For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3). Their only hope is to receive the perfect righteousness of God “the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Phil. 3:9).
His intercession is sufficient
His intercession as our high priest is sufficient to save repentant sinners and to preserve their gift of eternal life. The Bible proclaims: “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens” (Hebrews 7:25). When you trust Jesus completely, He is “able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 24).
What a contrast to the “Jesus” that is presented in the official teachings of the Catholic Church. The “Catholic Jesus” is not the all-sufficient Jesus of the Scriptures. Rome offers another Jesus—a Jesus that is unable to expiate all sins, a Jesus that can be reduced to the inner substance of a lifeless inanimate wafer, a Jesus that must be represented daily as a sacrificial “victim” to appease the wrath of the Father, and a Jesus that is powerless to keep His flock from falling.
To know and trust the real Jesus, one must abide in His teachings. Those who seek other mediators and other sources for truth should heed the warning of John: “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teachings of Christ does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).
What a wonderful opportunity and privilege Christians have to proclaim the all-sufficient Jesus Christ to those who are making futile attempts to become acceptable to God on their own merit. Let us call those who are lost in their religion to repentance. Perhaps they will hear the voice of the good Shepherd and come to Him for everlasting life. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish” (John 10:27-28).