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July 22, 2008 / vivator

On the Communion of Saints

Every time Catholics recite the apostolic creed they will say “I believe in the communion of saints“.  What does communion of saints mean?  Catholics understand that the Church is communion of saints.  Who are those saints, literally means “the holy ones”?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church # 962 declares: We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always [attentive] to our prayers.  Most, even Catholics, might think that in Catholicism the title saint is only applied to already deceased persons who have been known to lead exemplary holy life, have a number of miracles attributed to them and their sainthood will be declared solemnly by the Church.  They, in fact, are the canonized saints – they serve as role models and intercessors, the latter may scandalize some Protestants.  However all members of the Church are saints. The Church, then, is ‘the holy People of God’, and her members are called ‘saints’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 823). Saint is not the opposite of sinner – in fact ‘All members of the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are sinners (ibid, # 827). As long as we are still on earth we are both saints and sinners at the same time.

Catholic’s belief that saints in heaven can intercede for us may scandalize some Protestants and “Bible only” Christians.  Some may even accuse Catholics of practising necromancy, a practice condemned in Deuteronomy 18:10-11. Others says asking saints in heaven to intercede for us is robbing Christ’s position as the only mediator between God and us (1 Timothy 2:5). Protestants and “Bible only” Christians have no problem in asking other saints on earth to pray for them and vice versa – Scripture says “pray for one another” (James 5:15). Asking somebody to pray for us requires communication.  We can communicate with saints on earth orally (directly or via telephone) or through letter, email, SMS etc.  Protestants and “Bible only” Christians avoid communication with the dead – as scriptural proof usually they quote 1 Samuel 28:8-19 where Saul, through a medium, communicated with (what is supposed to be) Samuel.  What Saul did was necromancy – he consulted the dead to get information of his future.  The Catholic Church forbids such practice – all forms of divination are to be rejected; recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2116).  From Scripture we know that it is possible to communicate with saints in heaven.  John of Revelation was able to talk with one of the twenty-four elders who are in heaven (Revelation 5:5, 7:13-14). If communication with saints is heaven is forbidden then Christ gave bad example when He talked with Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:3).  Christ said “he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).  Thus Catholics believe all saints, whether they are alive on earth or alive in heaven, are able to communicate with us. We can ask saints, on earth or in heaven, to pray for us and their prayers will go through Christ, the only mediator, to God. Our communication with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 957). Keep in mind that Catholics do not pray to the saints in heaven – we ask them to pray for us, just like we ask saints on earth to do the same.  It is God who ultimately answers their prayers – those saints; whether they are on earth or in heaven, only intercede for us.  In necromancy it is the dead whom we expect to provide us with information, usually about our future (life, marriage, business, investment etc.)  Finally Catholics also can pray and intercede for saints who are also alive and are being purified in purgatory (ibid # 958).

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  1. andrealudwig / Jul 26 2008 9:18 am

    Hello Vivator,
    One thing you forgot to mention is that conversing with the saints in heaven could put you in contact with a demon who is pretending to be the person you’d like to talk to. It is not wise or safe to be trying to contact the dead, though they may be alive in Christ.

    What if you are trying to converse with someone you thought was saved but was not? Then you would be contacting someone in hell. That can’t be good.

    I fully believe that necromancy is trying to contact anyone who used to live here on earth, and it is forbidden. Jesus indeed talked to Moses and Elijah, but he has full reign, unlike us. He can talk to anyone he wishes. We are forbidden from trying to talk to the dead. About anything.

  2. vivator / Jul 26 2008 12:34 pm

    Andrea,
    That is the reason why we only ask canonized saints to pray for us – we do not ask every dead person to pray for us. Christ can talk with anyone He wishes – but He would not do something that He asked His disciples not to do.

  3. Andrea Ludwig / Jul 28 2008 9:47 am

    Hi,
    Can you describe what it takes to become a canonized saint? I seems to remember the qualifications spooked me. Remember, any Christian is a saint. Soem canonized saints may have done miracles,but spurious ones, if they never knew Jesus.

  4. vivator / Jul 28 2008 7:10 pm

    Andrea,
    Any Christian is saint – Catholics believe that and I already stated it over and over (read again my post thoroughly). Those who do not believe Christ as Saviour cannot call themselves Catholics, let alone become canonized saints. The process how to give (canonized) sainthood is in the Church Canon Law – having miracles (how many I am not clear) is one of the requirements. Keep in mind that it is God who worked those miracles through their intercession.

  5. Andrea Ludwig / Jul 28 2008 9:37 pm

    Hello,
    I looked up the process of canonization for you. I found it on people.howstuffworks.com

    “Here are the steps that must be followed in the process of canonization:

    1. A local bishop investigates the candidate’s life and writings for evidence of heroic virtue. The information uncovered by the bishop is sent to the Vatican.
    2. A panel of theologians and the cardinals of the Congregation for Cause of Saints evaluate the candidate’s life.
    3. If the panel approves, the pope proclaims that the candidate is venerable, which means that the person is a role model of Catholic virtues.
    4. The next step toward sainthood is beatification, which allows a person to be honored by a particular group or region. In order to beatify a candidate, it must be shown that the person is responsible for a posthumous miracle. Martyrs — those who died for their religious cause — can be beatified without evidence of a miracle.
    5. In order for the candidate to be considered a saint, there must be proof of a second posthumous miracle. If there is, the person is canonized. These alleged miracles must be submitted to the Vatican for verification.”

    I looked up “posthumous” because I hadn’t heard that term before. It means after death. So to be canonized a Catholic saint a person must have 2 miracles after death. That is creepy to me.

    You see, there is no requirement that the person ever have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior.

    I do know that all true Christians are called saints, as you pointed out. I have no problem with that. The problem lies with this other defintion of saint, as exeplified by this process of canonization. I don’t agree with it at all.

    I

  6. Andrea Ludwig / Jul 28 2008 9:38 pm

    Sorry, I spelled “exemplified” wrong.

  7. vivator / Jul 29 2008 9:29 pm

    Andrea,
    I am surprised that you call miracles creepy? Then the Bible has creepy thing. In 2 Kings 13:21 one dead man came back to live after touching bones of prophet Elisha. This is an example how God worked miracles through intercession of saint in heaven.
    There is no requirement of having accepted Christ as Saviour? It is in number 1 when the bishop investigated candidate’s life. The procedure you quote (assuming it is correct source) gives only outline, not detailed procedure. I would like to remind you again and again that it is necessary for Catholic to believe in Christ as Saviour. You apologized for being arrogance – yet now you take it for granted that Catholics do not have personal relation with Christ unless they have written (or recorded) statement of their faith in Christ as Saviour – which you need to endorse. Perhaps most Catholics you met are nominal or cultural Catholics who do not know their faith – that is how you get your negative perception. On the other hand I met “born again” Christians (who personally told me their faith in Christ) who behave even worse than non-Christians when they deal with money and business.
    Canonized saints are meant to be role model and intercessors. You already pointed out the danger of asking any deceased saint to pray for you, that is why we have canonized saints. Interestingly you believe in assurance of salvation – this means your “born again” friends (a.k.a. saints) will guaranteed heaven upon dying. Then why don’t you ask them to continue praying for you after they die? In your case you don’t need canonized saints with all those complicated and lengthy procedure – because for you any saint will do. You already agreed that, though they died on earth, they are still alive in heaven.

  8. "boxerpaws" / Aug 1 2008 7:22 pm

    The communion of saints could very well include my recently deceased father.Yes,you can ask someone to intercede for you,including my father and JPII.
    However,the difference is that this is a private not a public devotion.Anotherwords the Church is not going to promote praying to my deceased father.

    You see the ppl in heaven(canonized saints included)can hear us,see us,have some knowledge of what is taking place here.They have entered into the beatific vision.
    I don’t think they are limited as we are here.
    Necromancy is NOT the same thing but anti Catholics do try to make a comparison.
    There is NONE.
    Necromancy:
    ” 1. The practice of supposedly communicating with the spirits of the dead in order to predict the future.”
    This is strictly FORBIDDEN by the Catholic Church.We’re not trying to communicate with the dead much less predict the future.
    To pray means TO ASK.
    Now if i am going to ask for the intercession of the saints(canonized)in heaven what they will desire will be one with God’s Will(not mine).
    Let’s put it this way;Jesus has a Body-a visible one. According to scripture we are his arms,legs..his VISIBLE body on earth(as well as invisible in heaven)and that VISIBLE BODY must have a VISIBILE HEAD(scripture says so).That visible head is the Pope-the invisible head is Jesus Himself. Now the saints are still part of the Body of Christ in communion with Him and with us.ONE BODY.
    This is NOT the same as necromancy.
    In necromancy you are trying to contact the spirits and that means powers and principalities of which we cannot be certain and the purpose is to predict the future.NONE of which we ask for the intercession of our brothers and sisters in Christ to let us know.We leave that in God’s hands.
    Period.End of story.
    I ‘talk’ to my dad all the time.I am NOT assuming he’s in heaven.However,if he is then i know that he is very much alive.We DO beleive in eternal life after all.
    If he’s not-then i am certain this will not be heard anyway.
    I can also pray FOR him-because he may very well be in purgatory.
    The bottom line is if there’s no communion of saints then none of us have much hope.
    Yet,scripture-the Book of Revelation-tells us there are.

    God Bless,
    “boxerpaws”

  9. "boxerpaws" / Aug 1 2008 7:31 pm

    “Soem canonized saints may have done miracles,but spurious ones, if they never knew Jesus.”
    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘if they ever knew Jesus’.
    You couldn’t possibly be considered for beatification let alone canonization unless you did know Jesus.For that matter you cannot BE Catholic and not know Jesus.
    There’s no way on earth.Now what you do with that knowledge is another matter;but that’s true of anyone.Catholic or Protestant.
    Necormany is an attempt through sorcery/magic to communicate with the dead(spirits)in order to predict the future.Doesn’t even remotely resemble what we refer to as the communion of saints.
    Yes,all Catholics-for that matter ALL Christians-are called to be saints.
    One does not have to be canonized to be a saint;but there have been persons down through the ages who have done the will of God with such a heroic life that we do have canonized saints.They are great role models in following Christ and ironically many come in pairs.
    It also seems that in times of great trial and crisis in the Church that is when God raises up great saints.
    Remember,the book of Revelation even tells us the saints in heaven offer prayers for us.

  10. andrealudwig / Aug 3 2008 1:12 am

    I was away from the internet for a few days. I do not agree that the “prayers of the saints” cited in Revelation refer to the prayers of saints in heaven praying for us here on earth. Jesus is our ONLY intercessor in heaven. The prayers of the saints in Revelation 5:8 and 8:3 surely refer to the prayers of Christians on earth. If you type the word “intercede” into http://www.biblegateway.com, you will come up with only instances of the Holy Spirit or Jesus interceding for us, or Christians on earth interceding for other Christians on earth. There are no other instances. Asking “saints in heaven” to pray for us here on earth is just not biblical nor advised.

  11. vivator / Aug 3 2008 4:24 pm

    Andrea,
    Revelation 5:8 and 8:3 do not say those prayers belong to saints on earth. You are entitled to interpret those verses that way, but if this is the case then those prayers (of saints on earth) must be carried by saints in heaven in golden bowls before they go to God through Christ – in other words you contradict the Bible that Christ is the only mediator. You wrote that only Christians on earth can intercede for us – where does the Bible say that, i.e. with the phrase “on earth”? The Bible nowhere says that saints in heaven cannot pray for us. You already agreed that saints in heaven are much alive as those on earth. If they are alive then why can’t we ask them to pray for us? If God can perform miracle through prophet Elisha who is in heaven (2 Kings 13:21), what makes you think He can (or will) only listen to prayers from saints on earth?

  12. andrealudwig / Aug 3 2008 5:25 pm

    As I stated earlier, the Bible gives no examples of praying to saints in heaven. Even the instance in 2 Kings 13 concerning Elisha does not refer to praying to Elisha. It only says that when a dead body touched Elisha’s bones, it came back to life. No intercessory prayer is mentioned.

    In Revelation 5 and 8, it is not the saints who are carrying the bowls full of incense {prayers} to God. In Rev 5:8 it is the living creatures and/or the elders, and in Rev 8:3 it is
    an angel.

    It doesn’t really matter if the saints are in heaven or on earth. What does matter is that it is not okay to ask saints in heaven to pray for you when Jesus is sufficient, a capable a holy mediator. He is all we need.

    If there is no instance of this type of prayer in the Bible, we’d best not do it, don’t you think?

  13. vivator / Aug 3 2008 5:58 pm

    Andrea,
    If those twenty-four elders are not saints in heaven, then who are they? Even if they are angels or other heavenly beings, then you believe the prayers of saints on earth must go through them, instead of going directly to God through Christ – this contradicts the Bible.
    When you say Jesus is sufficient then to be consistent you should stop asking other saints on earth to pray for you.
    In 2 Kings 13:21 shows that God can work miracles through intercession of saint in heaven, which you referred as creepy thing in your earlier comment. They came to bury the dead and why they chose the tomb of Elisha showed that being buried with a prophet is a blesing. They did not pray for his resurrection – in short they got more than what they expected.

  14. andrealudwig / Aug 3 2008 8:06 pm

    Hi Vivator,

    Where in the Bible does it say that Elisha interceded for anyone?

  15. vivator / Aug 3 2008 9:36 pm

    Andrea,
    I can ask the similar question: where does the Bible says that he cannot intercede for anyone?

  16. andrealudwig / Aug 3 2008 11:40 pm

    You can’t use this story as evidence of saints praying intercessory prayers unless it specifically says there was intercessory prayer here.

  17. vivator / Aug 4 2008 8:24 am

    Andrea,
    You missed the point. I cited 2 Kings 13:21 to show how wrong you to believe that God cannot work miracles through a saint in heaven. Let me help you to refresh your memory – below is what you wrote:
    “I looked up “posthumous” because I hadn’t heard that term before. It means after death. So to be canonized a Catholic saint a person must have 2 miracles after death. That is creepy to me.”

  18. andrealudwig / Aug 4 2008 10:50 am

    I believe it is you who has missed the point. Nowhere in the Bible is an example of anyone praying to a saint to intercede for them.

    The reason I called the process of canonizing a saint creepy is because it feels, and is, unbiblical. What is also creepy is any miracle done by with Satan’s power, such as those in Revelation 13:13. “And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.”

    Posthumous miracles are in Catholic doctrine, but I do not know of any in the Bible. In 2 Kings 13, it was God who performed the miracle, not Elisha.

  19. vivator / Aug 4 2008 11:24 am

    Andrea,
    You are right, the Bible does not mention praying TO the saints whether they are on earth or in heaven.
    What I don’t like from you is you twisted my words – I NEVER wrote Elisha performed that miracle, read my earlier comments again and again (unlike you I never erased any comments)- it was God who did it through his bones – it is post humous miracle, you like it or not. Just because the devil can perform wonderful things does not mean all miracles are from the devil. Do you believe that it was God who performed miracle through bones of Elisha (it means he was already dead) in 2 Kings 13:21?
    Note that I am not forcing you to believe in Catholicism – it is your business and you are fully entitled not to believe. I have the same right as you not to believe in whatever you wrote.

  20. andrealudwig / Aug 4 2008 12:41 pm

    I do not intend to twist your words. To me, talking to a deceased person is praying to that person, just as talking to God is praying to God. In any case, contacting the dead is forbidden and dangerous. Talking to God is safe.

    If a miracle ever occurred because someone contacted a deceased saint, that would be a posthumous miracle. But, 2 Kings 13 says nothing of the sort.

    We are talking around each other, which is a good illustration of how false religions and true religion can never agree with each other. It is also a good illustration of Satan’s use of deception.

  21. vivator / Aug 4 2008 12:54 pm

    Andrea,
    If you talk to saints on eartn are you praying to them? Remember you alreday agreed that saints in heaven are much alive as those on earth. God does not need intercession prayer to perform miracle and it is still post-homous miracle – Elisha was dead when miracle occured. You claim that your religion (not relationship) is true and Catholicism is false – you are entitled to believe so (and I am entitled to disagree with you). There are many out there who believe the Bible is the only aithority and made the same claim as yours yet they don’t agree with you in everything. What makes you think you are right and the other “Bible only” Christians are wrong and are under Satan’s deception?

  22. andrealudwig / Aug 4 2008 1:05 pm

    Some beliefs are essential for salvation, and all saved people agree on them, because the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. My beliefs happen to agree with the Southern Baptists’.

  23. mirpeace / Aug 25 2008 12:14 pm

    Andrea,

    I am confused. If the Holy Spirit is guiding all 25,000+ protestant denominations how come they contradict each other? The Holy Spirit which is truth itself cannot contradict itself. Do you agree with that?

    Or is it that Jesus desired His Church to be divided?

    Your belief’s are Southern Baptist. So you follow a church which began on May 8-12, 1845 in the United States? Are you aware that the Catholic (Universal) Church began over 2,000 years ago and by the authority of Jesus Christ when he said “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18

    Jesus Himself also said that the gates of Hades will not overcome it so unless you don’t believe Jesus and the Living Word of God then you have to agree that the Church, the Catholic Church established by Jesus could not go astray. Do you agree with Jesus here?

    By what authority was your church started in 1845?

    God bless!
    Jordan

  24. andrealudwig / Aug 25 2008 9:54 pm

    Hi Mirpeace,

    Here are the verses you were speaking of:

    ~ Matthew 16:13-18 ~

    {Peter’s Confession of Christ}

    When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

    They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

    “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

    Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ,the Son of the living God.”

    Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

    These verses are calling Jesus the Rock. Also, Peter’s name means Rock. These verses have nothing to do with the Catholic church.

    I was not saying that there was no real Christianity until the Southern Baptists came along. i was saying that my beliefs agree with the beliefs of the Southern Baptists. Before the Southern Baptists came along, there was still Real and Pure Christianity, based on Christ and his teachings.

    About the Holy Spirit, you would think that everyone who has the indwelling Holy Spirit would agree on everything. But, being fallible people, we often cater to our own whims. My goal is to be true to Scripture, and true to God, in everything.

  25. mirpeace / Aug 27 2008 3:09 pm

    Hello,

    Peace and all that is good.

    We have the same goal, to be true to God. “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

    You wrote “These verses are calling Jesus the Rock.” However in scripture Jesus clearly says “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church”. Scripture does not have Jesus saying “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on me the rock I will build my church”. No, Jesus clearly says to Peter that He is Peter (he name was Simon Jesus renamed him Peter – the rock) and that Jesus will build His church on Peter (the rock). Peter was the first Pope of the Catholic church or as Jesus said His church.

    You cannot say that scripture is saying that Jesus is the rock though but Jesus Himself is saying otherwise “You are Peter AND upon this rock I will build my church”

    While we can agree that the Holy Spirit IS Truth and cannot contradict Itself, it can, nonetheless, lead, and therefore be present in all 25,000+ protestant denominations. The mystery of God’s Love, is a mystery, and therefore we cannot know for certain why He allows this. However, you are correct that Jesus Christ does not want a divided Church. This means that all Christians must work towards real unification. So, while Truth is not divided, it does, however, reside in its fullness in the Catholic church. Truth which exist in other churches, I believe, exist through the love of God and SHOULD led every person of goodwill towards the fullness of the Truth found in the Catholic Church.

    If you have questions I am here to help BUT you have to leave YOUR beliefs (being fallible people, we often cater to our own whims) and be open to being true to Scripture.

    It is my understanding that Southern Baptists believe and teach that their salvation although above all is by grace is by Faith Alone which is a false and dangerous teaching.

    Revelation 2
    Message to Ephesus
    1″To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:

    2’I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;

    3and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.

    4’But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

    5’Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent.

    6’Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

    7’He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

    I urge you to read this passage as Jesus who is talking to one of the Churches tells them that they have “fallen away” and unless they “REPENT and do the DEEDS” (works) that He is coming and He will REMOVE their lampstand out of its place – unless they repent. Once saved always saved – I don’t think so. This is not what Jesus says or teaches.

    Or just as clear we here scripture clearly tell us in James 2:24 (King James Version)

    “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

    A man is justified by works “and not by faith alone”. Do you believe or follow a church that teaches otherwise?

    God bless!
    Jordan

  26. andrealudwig / Aug 28 2008 11:41 am

    Ah, so interesting. I am still certain Jesus was not referring to Peter nor the Catholic chruch when he said, on this rock I will build my church. Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone, our Only Sure Foundation. Why would he build his church on anyone else? Why would he build his church on fallible human being? Then the foundation would surely crumble, like the wise man who built his house upon the sand.

    About being justified by works…. Ah so interesting… James 2:14-24 says

    14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
    18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

    19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

    20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

    I believe if we are truly saved it will be evident by what we do. If someone claims to be a Chrsitian but has no good deeds, it is unlikely that person is saved.

    But, I fully believe that we are saved by faith, not works. I have researched this so many times, by reading and searching the Bible. That is why I am excitede to discuss this with you. When Jesus died on the cross he said, “It is finished,” meaning he fully paid for all of our sins. If we beleive that we can do something to earn our salvation, it is like telling Jesus that he didn’t do enough for us. He is sufficient. How dare we say he is not?
    And, what good work could we do to earn our salvation? There is nothing.

    Do Christians, after they have been saved, go on to do good works? Yes, indeed. But we are saved in spite of ourselves, and our salvation can never be lost. God is that good!

  27. andrealudwig / Aug 28 2008 11:43 am

    Ephesians 2 is important to mention here:

    1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

  28. mirpeace / Aug 29 2008 1:15 am

    That is a lot to respond to! Please if I do not answer any of the questions you asked just remind me and I would love to do so. I am also excited to talk about God and our faith with someone who seeks the Lord with their heart.

    Peace be with you and may the Lord Jesus Christ also be with you all.

    ‘Ah, so interesting. I am still certain Jesus was not referring to Peter nor the Catholic church when he said, on this rock I will build my church.’
    Jesus was instituting His Church though (He said it) and Peter was the first Pope of the Catholic Church. Let’s come back to that later. There is so much that you brought up.

    ‘About being justified by works…. Ah so interesting… James 2:14-24 says’
    I believe Jehovah Witnesses believe in being justified by works or “works alone”. Catholics believe we are “saved”, not justified, by “faith and works”. Above all I believe all Christians know we are saved by the “grace” of God alone. Like it says in Ephesians 2 which you shared “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” By grace God who is rich in mercy saved us when we were dead (in sin) because of His great love for us. It is important to note here that it was not us who choose Him as our Lord and Savior but by grace He “saved us”. Like James 2:20 says “You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?” Says right there in scripture that faith without deeds (works) is useless. I honestly never realized that before because verse 24 always stood out more “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” It again says it right there in scripture a person is justified by what he does (works) and not by “faith alone”. Yes faith is a must but not by faith alone.

    ‘I believe if we are truly saved it will be evident by what we do. If someone claims to be a Christian but has no good deeds, it is unlikely that person is saved.’
    I agree with you that I also believe if we are truly saved it will be evident by what we do. And I also agree with you on that if a Christian has no good deeds, it is unlikely that person is saved. Because that is exactly what scripture tells us.

    Let’s look at what Jesus says. In Matthew 25:31-46 which is known as the Final Judgment. I am not going to provide the passage here as it will take up a lot of page space so please look in your Bible and read what it says.

    Which people were saved and why where they saved? Jesus says “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” What where are all of those? Works. And what does Jesus tell us. He says that while we are doing these works it is Him we are honoring “‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

    Who was not saved. Jesus says that they were not saved because “for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.” He says because they did not have works. That they did not honor Him “‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”

    Now let’s look what else Jesus says. In Matthew 7:21-23

    21″Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

    22″Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’

    23″And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

    Jesus says here that not all that call Him Lord (proclaim Him as their personal Lord and savior) will enter heaven. But he who does (works) the will of His Father. We must do the will of the Father to enter heaven. That is what is says in scripture, that is what Jesus tells us. He also said that these people prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name, and even performed miracles in His name. Surely they had faith to do that all in Jesus’ name and we know they proclaimed Him Lord. But without doing the Will of the Father they will not enter Heaven. Faith alone? Faith and works.

    Well what about once saved always saved? It says the opposite in the Bible. And the Bible is the Living Word of God.

    Revelation 2:5

    ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and “do the deeds” you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent.’

    Jesus says that they have fallen (once saved always saved?) and that unless they “repent and so the deeds” (works) He is coming and will “remove” the church “unless you repent”.

    That brings up how do we repent once we have fallen. We will get to that, the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance.

    There is also a Gospel about this with the Vine (Jesus) and the branches (us the Body of Christ of the Church) and Jesus says those branches which do not “produce fruit” (works) will be removed (once saved always saved?) and burned in the fire.

    ‘If we believe that we can do something to earn our salvation, it is like telling Jesus that he didn’t do enough for us. He is sufficient. How dare we say he is not?’
    Amen! There is no way we can earn our salvation. No Catholic would ever tell you that. We are saved by grace.

    ‘And, what good work could we do to earn our salvation? There is nothing.’
    Amen! I agree. We know that we are saved by grace alone. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

    ‘But we are saved in spite of ourselves, and our salvation can never be lost.’
    This is not true. Our salvation is lost when we commit mortal sin and separate ourselves from God. In His mercy he draws us back and when we repent we are forgiven.

    Before Jesus died on the Cross when he said, ““It is finished” it was because everything had been fulfilled. Jesus had come to do the will of His Father and He was now done or finished. Yes this includes He fully paid for all of our sins but Jesus did a lot more than that aside from establishing His Church . Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit and gave us Himself in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus, Himself, in of all of His Soul & Divinity in His fullness is present in the Eucharist.

    It is the Church alone, “the pillar and ground of truth”, imbued with and directed by the Holy Spirit, that guarantees to her children through her infallible teaching the full and unadulterated revelation of God. Consequently, it is the first duty of Catholics to adhere to what the Church proposes as the “proximate norm of faith” (regula fidei proxima), which, in reference to the Eucharist, is set forth in a particularly clear and detailed manner in Sessions XIII, XXI, and XXII of the Council of Trent.

    The quintessence of these doctrinal decisions consists in this, that in the Eucharist the Body and Blood of the God-man are truly, really, and substantially present for the nourishment of our souls, by reason of the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, and that in this change of substances the unbloody Sacrifice of the New Testament is also contained.

    “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53) Please pray. And please read John 6:48-68. The Bread of Life Discourse and see what Jesus says.

    Peace and all that is good. Pray, pray, pray. The Blessed Mother always reminds us to pray, pray, pray.

    Mir Peace Shalom
    Jordan

  29. andrealudwig / Aug 30 2008 1:08 am

    I am sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Thank you for all the rsponses. We disagree on a lot but we can talk about it. if you want to, we can discuss this on my blog and I can get back to you sooner, because I notice those comments quickly. http://www.phenomenaltruths.wordpress.com.

  30. Carla / Jul 20 2012 8:32 am

    To Andrea: Galations 3:9-10 And to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things that through the CHURCH the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. The wisdom of God is made through the Church. It doesn’t say churches….implies only one. We have to determine what Church that is. The one that was from the beginning and has maintained the orignal teachings. In the bible it says to hold fast to tradition. What is that tradition??? As Christians we need to study and know what the early church practiced. Please study that and you will know that it is the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic church.

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