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1Jn 1:9 Confessing our Sins

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Confessing our Sins

 

1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

A issue arises here in that if forgiveness is contingent upon our confession of particular sins then that would mean that each time a person sins they lose their salvation until they confess their sins, which seems a bit of a works-based salvation among other things.

 

But there are two things about what is actually been said in the Greek manuscript here. First with John's usage of the Greek Present (lifestyle) Tense for "confess" as opposed to an Aorist punctilinear confession, what I believe he's referring to is the idea that if we are the kind of people who characteristically acknowledge our sins, then we are those whom, in accordance with his promise, God forgives, and forgives not only with respect to sins of which we are aware of but also all other unrighteousness which infects our lives, of which He is in the process of purifying us.

 

Secondly "forgive" and "purify" are actually in the aorist, often used for the past tense, not the future tense implied in the translation. Thus this could be rendered, "If confessing our sins is characteristic of our life, He being faith and just forgave our sins and cleansed us from all unrighteousness." Or to paraphrase, "If confessing our sins is characteristic of our life, this indicates that God, who is faithful to his New Covenant and just to have provided a sacrifice of atonement for us, forgave our sins when we were saved and at that time purified us from all unrighteousness."

 

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Confessing our Sins

 

1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

A issue arises here in that if forgiveness is contingent upon our confession of particular sins then that would mean that each time a person sins they lose their salvation until they confess their sins, which seems a bit of a works-based salvation among other things.

 

1. What do you mean by lose our salvation and why would we lose it?

 

2. Why would this be works-based salvation?

 

But there are two things about what is actually been said in the Greek manuscript here. First with John's usage of the Greek Present (lifestyle) Tense for "confess" as opposed to an Aorist punctilinear confession, what I believe he's referring to is the idea that if we are the kind of people who characteristically acknowledge our sins, then we are those whom, in accordance with his promise, God forgives, and forgives not only with respect to sins of which we are aware of but also all other unrighteousness which infects our lives, of which He is in the process of purifying us.

 

Secondly "forgive" and "purify" are actually in the aorist, often used for the past tense, not the future tense implied in the translation. Thus this could be rendered, "If confessing our sins is characteristic of our life, He being faith and just forgave our sins and cleansed us from all unrighteousness." Or to paraphrase, "If confessing our sins is characteristic of our life, this indicates that God, who is faithful to his New Covenant and just to have provided a sacrifice of atonement for us, forgave our sins when we were saved and at that time purified us from all unrighteousness."

 

I’m always very dubious when people have to resort to personal translations. I’ve looked at several translations and none of them translate it the way you think it should be done. All them link the forgiveness of sin directly with the confession of them.

 

Your paraphrase implies that God forgives sins in advance. Can you supply any evidence of that?

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1. What do you mean by lose our salvation and why would we lose it?

 

2. Why would this be works-based salvation?

 

I’m always very dubious when people have to resort to personal translations. I’ve looked at several translations and none of them translate it the way you think it should be done. All them link the forgiveness of sin directly with the confession of them.

 

Your paraphrase implies that God forgives sins in advance. Can you supply any evidence of that?

 

As for your first question, what I said already answered that

"if forgiveness is contingent upon our confession of particular sins then that would mean that each time a person sins they lose their salvation."

 

It's not my position, but it's an argument people often give, so I deal with it. In fact given your third question it seems like you're one of the people holding that position. Is that right?

 

As for your second question, a person's salvation being contingent upon his on going performance is kind of the definition of works based salvation.

 

As for your third question as to God forgiving sin in advance, that's inherent to the gospel itself.

"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
Heb 10:16-18

 

"Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."
Rom 4:4-8

 

 

 

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As for your first question, what I said already answered that

"if forgiveness is contingent upon our confession of particular sins then that would mean that each time a person sins they lose their salvation."

 

Perhaps I didn’t make my question clear enough.

 

1. What exactly are we losing when you say we lose our salvation?

 

2. Why would sinning cause us to lose our salvation?

 

It's not my position, but it's an argument people often give, so I deal with it. In fact given your third question it seems like you're one of the people holding that position. Is that right?

 

Holding what position?

 

As for your second question, a person's salvation being contingent upon his on going performance is kind of the definition of works based salvation.

 

Why?

 

As for your third question as to God forgiving sin in advance, that's inherent to the gospel itself.

"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
Heb 10:16-18

 

I can’t see how they say that God forgives sins in advance.

 

I see them saying that when God forgives sins he will forget them. You quote 1John but John also says

“My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1Jn 2:1).

 

If God has already forgiven us our sins why do we need an advocate when we sin?

 

"Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:" Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."
Rom 4:4-8

 

When Paul talks about works he is referring to works done under the (Jewish) Law.

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Perhaps I didn’t make my question clear enough.

 

1. What exactly are we losing when you say we lose our salvation?

 

2. Why would sinning cause us to lose our salvation?

 

I can’t see how they say that God forgives sins in advance.

 

If God has already forgiven us our sins why do we need an advocate when we sin?

 

When Paul talks about works he is referring to works done under the (Jewish) Law.

 

Apparently you're unfamiliar with the gospel of salvation. Let me help you out there. Paul writes, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." Rom 1:16

 

"Salvation" is referring to salvation from God's wrath, namely being saved from hell fire. Paul notes in Romans that people are subject to condemnation due to sin. To be saved one has to be justified.

 

"God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!" Rom 5:8,9

 

And elsewhere he writes

 

"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

 

Notice the tenses here. "have been", means that those whom he is referring to are already saved, already justified. They have been saved from God's wrath to come.

 

1Th 5:9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Those who believe, have eternal life and will not be condemned. As Jesus said, "whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24. And "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him." John 3:36

 

So I ask with the same rhetoric the Bible uses, "Have you been saved from God's wrath?"

 

As for correlating salvation, justification and the forgiveness of sins, Paul makes this clear in Romans, which I suggest you read. But to point out a couple of passages.

 

Rom 3:20-24 No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

 

This is another way of summarizing Paul's gospel. Under a works based salvation system, being declared righteous on the judgment day is a matter of one's performance. But now under the gospel righteousness is attained not by works, but by faith and is characterized as free as opposed to something you work for. "Justified", though spelled differently than "Righteous" in English is in fact the verb form of "righteous" in the Greek. Justified = made righteous. And it's free.

 

A few verses later Paul elaborates on this, supporting this concept saying:

 

Rom 4:

1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?

2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about— but not before God.

3 What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.

5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

7 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."

 

And notice at the end he equates justification, the imparting of righteousness apart from works, and forgiveness of sins.

 

So the idea of that one's forgiveness of sins has not been finalized, is the same as saying one's justification and thus one's salvation has not been finalized, which is contrary to the rhetoric Paul uses here. Which is also to say that a person who believes they can lose the forgiveness of sins, is a person who believes one can lose their salvation. Is that clear enough for you?

 

Notice also in verse 5 he contrasts working to be justified with trusting God to be justified as two opposite and incompatible ideas. Either you are working to be saved from God's wrath or you are trust God to justify you.

 

As for your hypothesis that, "When Paul talks about works he is referring to works done under the (Jewish) Law.", if you mean to restrict "works" to merely some regulations under the Law of Moses, you're wrong. But let's entertain the notion. So which of the Laws of Moses are you restricting "works" to? What about the 10 commandments, which are in the Law of Moses. Do you throw those out as not the works Paul is referring to? What about Deut 6:5 "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." or Lev 19:18 "Love your neighbor as yourself". Are those or are those not the "works of the law" Paul was referring to? Which laws would you like to remove from the Law to satisfy your hypothesis.

 

If you read Romans all the way from Chapter 1 you'll note that what he's talking by "works" is the idea of person attaining righteousness through his behavior, the bar being set by the Law of Moses. Note also, again, the rhetoric he uses in Romans 4:

 

Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.

However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

 

As anyone, not mindlessly indoctrinated into some denominational belief, can see, "work" here is clearly be used as the idea of working, as one would do on a job, to earn one's salvation. No indication "work" here is referring to one's compliance to particular ceremonial regulations. It's referring to the idea of working.

 

Let me know if that's simple enough for you to understand. Else perhaps I could make it clearer to you.

 

As for why we need an advocate when we sin, it's because if we had no advocate a sinner must answer for his own sin. But in the case of the believe, Jesus answers for our sin.

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Thank you for that explanation.

 

As I see it there are 3 issues here:

 

1. We are brought out of condemnation and saved from God’s wrath. But that does not mean that we cannot return to condemnation by serious sin. There are many scriptures that warn us of returning to sin, for example Gal 5:19-21.

 

If you believe that all sins are forgiven in advance then you must believe that there are no consequences for sinning and we can murder, steal etc. as much as we like and still go to heaven. That is not the gospel.

 

2. Yes, we cannot earn salvation. But what is earn? Do you think confessing sins is earning salvation?

 

3. No, we are not bound by the Ten Commandments. They are the covenant Law of the Old (Mosaic) Covenant. We live in the New Covenant. And no, that does not mean we can murder etc. Those are also condemned under the New Covenant (e.g. 1Jn 3;15). But we need to understand which Covenant we are in.

 

 

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Thank you for that explanation.

 

As I see it there are 3 issues here:

 

1. We are brought out of condemnation and saved from God’s wrath. But that does not mean that we cannot return to condemnation by serious sin. There are many scriptures that warn us of returning to sin, for example Gal 5:19-21.

 

If you believe that all sins are forgiven in advance then you must believe that there are no consequences for sinning and we can murder, steal etc. as much as we like and still go to heaven. That is not the gospel.

 

2. Yes, we cannot earn salvation. But what is earn? Do you think confessing sins is earning salvation?

 

3. No, we are not bound by the Ten Commandments. They are the covenant Law of the Old (Mosaic) Covenant. We live in the New Covenant. And no, that does not mean we can murder etc. Those are also condemned under the New Covenant (e.g. 1Jn 3;15). But we need to understand which Covenant we are in.

 

 

 

You say,

 

As I see it there are 3 issues here:

 

1. We are brought out of condemnation and saved from God’s wrath. But that does not mean that we cannot return to condemnation by serious sin. There are many scriptures that warn us of returning to sin, for example Gal 5:19-21.

 

Seems you do understand the concept of losing your salvation. Given that you're using that passage as examples of "serious sin", you're saying that if a person envies someone or does something out of selfish ambition they lose their salvation. So if these are "serious" sins, what would be a non-serious sin?

 

You say

If you believe that all sins are forgiven in advance then you must believe that there are no consequences for sinning and we can murder, steal etc. as much as we like and still go to heaven. That is not the gospel.

 

According to the New Covenant God says, "I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." So yes, there are sins which are committed which have no consequence with regards to preventing one from going to heaven.

 

But with regards to the strawman argument I typically run across by those who don't embrace the grace of God inherent in the gospel, there doesn't exist such a person who believes the gospel and is subsequently born of God who lives a lifestyle of sin. John states that explicitly saying, "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." 1John 3:9 And John goes on to indicate this is how to distinguish between children of God and children of the devil. "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John 3:10

 

In particular note the caveat in Gal 5:19-21 "those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." He's not talking about commit particular acts, but rather living a lifestyle. Those born of God simply don't have the ability to do so.

 

Jeremiah writes of the New Covenant, "I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me." Jer 32:40,41

 

That's why when John sees people leaving the faith, "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1John 2:19

 

Those who leave the faith, either by living in sin or rejecting the teaching, indicate by doing so that they were never of the faith to begin with. In Gal 2:4 Paul said of some of leadership in the Jerusalem church that some were false brothers, "This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves." Gal 2:4

 

Likewise in the history of post-Biblical churchianity one could argue there being whole denominations filled false brethren. So the argument "I knew such and such a person who called himself a Christian but lived a lifestyle of sin", simply has no impact on my argument.

 

You say

2. Yes, we cannot earn salvation. But what is earn? Do you think confessing sins is earning salvation?

 

Given your Catholic background, what are you really talking about when you speak of "confessing sin". In Catholicism you have to go through a religious ritual. You have to go to the priests and recite a dialog you memorized in CCD and then he, seemingly arbitrarily, will tell you, as your ACT (deed, work) of contrition you have to recite so many "Our Fathers" and so many "Hail Marys", despite Jesus' command, "When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." Mt 6:7

 

Is going through a religious ritual to obtain forgiveness in order to maintain your salvation status, a "work", according to Paul?

 

Circumcision is a religious ritual which some misconstrued as necessary to qualify one for salvation. But Paul was vehemently against the idea. Is the idea in Catholicism to simply replace some religious rituals with other religious rituals upon which your salvation is contingent?

 

Anyone with basic reading comprehension skills can see that Paul was not advocating replacing some religious rituals with other religious rituals. Rather salvation according to the gospel is contingent upon faith alone apart from works, apart from religious rituals.

 

You say

3. No, we are not bound by the Ten Commandments. They are the covenant Law of the Old (Mosaic) Covenant. We live in the New Covenant. And no, that does not mean we can murder etc. Those are also condemned under the New Covenant (e.g. 1Jn 3;15). But we need to understand which Covenant we are in.

 

I don't understand what you mean by "not bound". Paul writes, "All who rely on observing the law (like observing the 10 commandments) are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." Gal 3:9

 

Are you relying on complying with the 10 commandments (for example) to not lose your salvation status?

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1. What do you mean by lose our salvation and why would we lose it?

 

2. Why would this be works-based salvation?

 

As for your first question, what I said already answered that

"if forgiveness is contingent upon our confession of particular sins then that would mean that each time a person sins they lose their salvation."

 

 

I think it is has to do with the object of our faith, our motivation for obedience, and finally the Person of our praise. If I focus upon myself and my own works then I miss the mark and rely upon my own performance rather than faith. If I focus upon my own performance rather than the giver of promises received in faith then I miss the mark and circle myself as not only the object but as the gift of faith. There's an eschatological element to our obedience and it defines our motivation, and I believe it begins by properly recognizing and responding to our "motivator".

 

It is addressing Romans 3:11 or the difference between "no one seeks God" vs "no one seeks for God".

 

Our enable-ment by God after regeneration to produce good fruit is the result of monergism. While it is absurd to think that a person is forgiven without confession or repentance, we must acknowledge that a regenerated person will confess and repent. But a person is not saved because he confesses and repents. In this way salvation is solely monergistic (cause), but there is an arguably synergistic (effect) result of our regeneration. Again, it appears to be a matter of staying focused upon the object of our faith, and especially glorifying God rather than ourselves throughout salvation.

 

As an observer of your debate I think that you both need to clarify Justification. I hear the word being used but I believe the dialogue between Catholic and Protestant soteriology can be expanded upon by defining not only the meaning of Justification, but by either one of you addressing the Catholic meaning of "Initial" Justification, Sanctification, and then the eschatological element to Glorification.

 

Just some friendly input,

God bless,

William

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You say,

 

As I see it there are 3 issues here:

 

1. We are brought out of condemnation and saved from God’s wrath. But that does not mean that we cannot return to condemnation by serious sin. There are many scriptures that warn us of returning to sin, for example Gal 5:19-21.

 

Seems you do understand the concept of losing your salvation. Given that you're using that passage as examples of "serious sin", you're saying that if a person envies someone or does something out of selfish ambition they lose their salvation. So if these are "serious" sins, what would be a non-serious sin?

 

Catholics divide sins into mortal and venial.

“If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal” (1Jn 5:16-17).

 

Mortal sin destroys the sanctifying grace in our souls and cuts us off from our relationship with God.

Mortal sin requires three conditions:

1. Grave matter – such as murder & adultery.

2. Committed with full understanding of its seriousness.

3. Done with deliberate consent (not under coercion).

It is a deliberate rejection of God.

 

Venial sin is anything less than the above. It damages our relationship with God but does not destroy it.

 

You say

If you believe that all sins are forgiven in advance then you must believe that there are no consequences for sinning and we can murder, steal etc. as much as we like and still go to heaven. That is not the gospel.

 

According to the New Covenant God says, "I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." So yes, there are sins which are committed which have no consequence with regards to preventing one from going to heaven.

 

I agree, but then there are sins that do prevent one from going to heaven, as I explained above. But all sins have some consequences. Venial sins damage our relationship with God and if they become habitual can lead us into mortal sin.

 

But with regards to the strawman argument I typically run across by those who don't embrace the grace of God inherent in the gospel, there doesn't exist such a person who believes the gospel and is subsequently born of God who lives a lifestyle of sin. John states that explicitly saying, "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." 1John 3:9 And John goes on to indicate this is how to distinguish between children of God and children of the devil. "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John 3:10

 

In particular note the caveat in Gal 5:19-21 "those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." He's not talking about commit particular acts, but rather living a lifestyle. Those born of God simply don't have the ability to do so.

 

Jeremiah writes of the New Covenant, "I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me." Jer 32:40,41

 

That's why when John sees people leaving the faith, "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1John 2:19

 

Those who leave the faith, either by living in sin or rejecting the teaching, indicate by doing so that they were never of the faith to begin with. In Gal 2:4 Paul said of some of leadership in the Jerusalem church that some were false brothers, "This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves." Gal 2:4

 

Likewise in the history of post-Biblical churchianity one could argue there being whole denominations filled false brethren. So the argument "I knew such and such a person who called himself a Christian but lived a lifestyle of sin", simply has no impact on my argument.

 

That we can fall away is not a straw man. It is biblical.

 

It is not a matter of a lifestyle of serious sin but of one. One mortal sin is enough to cut us of from Christ. If we cut ourselves off from Christ it is quite possible that we will degenerate into a lifestyle of sin. That is why we must repent and seek reconciliation with God as soon as possible and pray that God will give us the grace to resist further temptations.

 

1 John 2:19 does not prove unconditional security.

 

One interpretation is that John was referring to a specific group he calls antichrists, false “christians” who never really believed.

 

Another interpretation is that John was referring to people who truly believed but have since apostatised. They didn’t belong because they had apostatised.

 

You say: John states that explicitly saying, "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." 1John 3:9

 

But John also states explicitly “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1Jn 1:8-10)

 

He continues: “My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father” (1Jn 2:1)

 

Clearly John believes that we can and do continue to sin.

 

Scripture is full of warning about the danger of returning to old ways – Romans 6, 8, 11, 1Cor 3, 6, Gal 5, 1Tim 6 etc. Why would Paul be giving so mnay warnings if it was not possible to fall back into sin?

 

 

You say

2. Yes, we cannot earn salvation. But what is earn? Do you think confessing sins is earning salvation?

 

Given your Catholic background, what are you really talking about when you speak of "confessing sin". In Catholicism you have to go through a religious ritual. You have to go to the priests and recite a dialog you memorized in CCD and then he, seemingly arbitrarily, will tell you, as your ACT (deed, work) of contrition you have to recite so many "Our Fathers" and so many "Hail Marys", despite Jesus' command, "When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." Mt 6:7

 

Is going through a religious ritual to obtain forgiveness in order to maintain your salvation status, a "work", according to Paul?

 

Circumcision is a religious ritual which some misconstrued as necessary to qualify one for salvation. But Paul was vehemently against the idea. Is the idea in Catholicism to simply replace some religious rituals with other religious rituals upon which your salvation is contingent?

 

Anyone with basic reading comprehension skills can see that Paul was not advocating replacing some religious rituals with other religious rituals. Rather salvation according to the gospel is contingent upon faith alone apart from works, apart from religious rituals.

 

Thank you, but I didn’t ask you for a garbled version of Catholic teaching and practices.

 

I asked you a simple question: Do you think confessing sins is earning salvation?

 

You say

3. No, we are not bound by the Ten Commandments. They are the covenant Law of the Old (Mosaic) Covenant. We live in the New Covenant. And no, that does not mean we can murder etc. Those are also condemned under the New Covenant (e.g. 1Jn 3;15). But we need to understand which Covenant we are in.

 

I don't understand what you mean by "not bound". Paul writes, "All who rely on observing the law (like observing the 10 commandments) are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." Gal 3:9

 

Are you relying on complying with the 10 commandments (for example) to not lose your salvation status?

 

What do you not understand? By “not bound” I mean we will not be convicted under them as Law because they do not apply to us, being given to the Jews as Covenant Law under the Old (Mosaic) Covenant.

 

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As an observer of your debate I think that you both need to clarify Justification. I hear the word being used but I believe the dialogue between Catholic and Protestant soteriology can be expanded upon by defining not only the meaning of Justification, but by either one of you addressing the Catholic meaning of "Initial" Justification, Sanctification, and then the eschatological element to Glorification.

 

Just some friendly input,

God bless,

William

 

Thank you William,

 

Regarding your point about Initial Justification, here is the Catholic understanding.

 

Justification is both and event and a process so Catholics refer to Initial Justification (an event) and Progressive Justification (a process) leading to Final Justification (an event) when we enter heaven. (It might be more accurate to say that Progressive Justification is a series of events.)

 

Salvation is not a once only event. We believe it has a past, present and future dimension. In Catholic teaching Justification and Sanctification are the same things. Therefore Sanctification also has a past, present and future dimension.

 

In Protestantism these three stages are Justification, Sanctification and Glorification. Protestants therefore use the term Sanctification very differently to Catholics.

 

 

Initial Justification happens at Baptism and is defined By the Council of Trent, Session 6, in chapter IV as “being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour.”

 

And from chapter VII Justification “is not remission of sins merely, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man, through the voluntary reception of the grace, and of the gifts, whereby man of unjust becomes just, and of an enemy a friend, that so he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting.”

 

And Sanctification from Pocket Catholic Dictionary by Fr John Hardon SJ

“Sanctification. Being made holy. The first sanctification takes place at baptism, by which the love of God is infused by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5)...

 

The second sanctification is a lifelong process in which a person already in the state of grace grows in the possession of grace and in likeness to God by faithfully corresponding with divine inspirations.

 

The third sanctification takes place when a person enters heaven and becomes totally and irrevocably united with God in the beatific vision. (Etym. Latin sanctificare, to make holy.”

 

 

 

 

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Concerning your proposition, "One mortal sin is enough to cut us of from Christ."

 

Concerning the performance based salvation gospel of Catholicism, first, the idea is simply a derivation of the theology of the circumcision.

 

Under Catholicism, salvation is by one's compliance to Catholic Law. Catholic Law insists that Justification is by Works. Yes, even ceremonial works.

CANON IV of their "Council of Trent" states,
"If any one saith, that
the sacrament
s of the
New Law
are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof,
men obtain of God, through faith alone
, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema."

That works are not simply a sign or fruit of one's justification, as Paul teaches, but a cause of it.

Council of Trent

SIXTH SESSION, CANONS CONCERNING JUSTIFICATION:
"If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works,
but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase
, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA" (Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 24).

Thus in terms of doctrinal mortal sins, Catholicisms holds that Christians like myself are going to hell.

 

Another doctrinal "mortal sin" under Catholic Law is if one doesn't believe in infant baptism, such as Baptists, they have committed a mortal sin and are going to hell.

SEVENTH SESSION, CANONS ON BAPTISM:
"If anyone says that children, because they have not the act of believing, are not after having received baptism to be numbered among the faithful, and that for this reason are to be rebaptized when they have reached the years of discretion; or that it is better that the baptism of such be omitted than that, while not believing by their own act, they should be baptized in the faith of the Church alone, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA"
(Canons on Baptism, Canon 13). Council of Trent

But let's consider also Catholic "mortal sins" associated with behavior.

 

For example, fasting on Sunday for spiritual pursuit is a mortal sin under Catholic Law.

Canon XVIII.
IF any one, under pretence of asceticism, shall fast on Sunday, let him be anathema.

Asceticism is by definition; "
abstinence from worldly pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goal."

Working on Saturday is a Mortal sin under Catholic Law.

Canon XXIX.
CHRISTIANS must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.

Usage of a contraceptive is a mortal sin under Catholic Law

 

As for Catholicism's arbitrary distinction between "moral sins" and "venial sins", concerning 1John 5:16, which you yourself referenced, you seem to have overlooked the fact that it says, "There is a sin that leads to death.", not "there are sins which lead to death". And as John doesn't define here what the "a sin" is, Catholicism takes the opportunity to invent it's own Law. And to make salvation contingent on that Law.

 

Furthermore you claim that the 10 commandments don't apply to us even though Paul's references them, and other things in the law, which he applies to the Christian life. And you yourself do so in claiming that to not murder, which is spoken of in the 10 commandments, is a law that we are bound to keep to not lose our salvation. So you contradict yourself in claiming that Catholicism holds we are not bound by the 10 commandments.

 

Concerning 1John 2:19 that "John was referring to people who truly believed but have since apostatised. They didn’t belong because they had apostatised. " Again not well thought out, seeing as that idea John logically contradicts in his statement there.

 

As for the reason for the warnings, one reason is "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you— unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2Cor 13:5, which is not a denial of the doctrine of Eternal Security, but a question as to whether one has entered the faith. Another, particularly when he speaks in the third person, such as in 1John 2:19, he is speaking of those who were never genuinely in the faith, living a lifestyle of sin, but that those who are in the faith should avoid committing any act of sin. (Lifestyle versus snapshot)

 

While Catholic Law says that one should not Judaize, that's just what Catholicism has done. They replaced the Law of Moses with their own Law and made salvation contingent upon compliance with that Law. What could be said of the circumcision could be said of them. "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"

 

 

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bcbsr,

 

Still waiting for an answer: Do you think confessing sins is earning salvation?

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Concerning your proposition, "One mortal sin is enough to cut us of from Christ."

 

Concerning the performance based salvation gospel of Catholicism, first, the idea is simply a derivation of the theology of the circumcision.

 

No it isn’t

 

Under Catholicism, salvation is by one's compliance to Catholic Law.

Now you are being ridiculous. And you accused me of creaing a staw man argument!

 

Catholic Law insists that Justification is by Works. Yes, even ceremonial works.

CANON IV of their "Council of Trent" states,
"If any one saith, that
the sacrament
s of the
New Law
are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof,
men obtain of God, through faith alone
, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema."

That works are not simply a sign or fruit of one's justification, as Paul teaches, but a cause of it.

Council of Trent

SIXTH SESSION, CANONS CONCERNING JUSTIFICATION:
"If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works,
but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase
, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA" (Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 24).

.

 

Initial Justification is not by works of any kind. The Council of Trent is quite emphatic about that.

“And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.” (Council of Trent, Session 6, chapter VIII – my emboldening)

 

“If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session 6, Canon I)

Progressive Justification is by good works.

 

"[God]. who will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honour, and immortality through perseverance in good works. "(Rom 2:7)

 

“For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them”. (Eph 2;10)

But these are not works under The Law but works under grace. Not that you appear to understand works. You can’t even answer my simple, question: Do you think confessing sins is earning salvation?

 

Whatever good acts we do are God’s actions in us not just our own. Catholics believe that grace comes in two kinds, sanctifying grace and actual grace. Actual grace is the prompts and help that God gives us to do good deeds. When we do a good deed it is God working in us.

 

Or, as Augustine of Hippo said "when you crown our merits, you crown your own gifts,"

 

Thus in terms of doctrinal mortal sins, Catholicisms holds that Christians like myself are going to hell

 

“Doctrinal mortal sin” – what is that? You are good at inventing terms (like “Catholic Law”). Another straw man.

 

The Catholic Church does say that anyone goes to hell. That is for God alone to decide.

Another doctrinal "mortal sin" under Catholic Law is if one doesn't believe in infant baptism, such as Baptists, they have committed a mortal sin and are going to hell.

SEVENTH SESSION, CANONS ON BAPTISM:
"If anyone says that children, because they have not the act of believing, are not after having received baptism to be numbered among the faithful, and that for this reason are to be rebaptized when they have reached the years of discretion; or that it is better that the baptism of such be omitted than that, while not believing by their own act, they should be baptized in the faith of the Church alone, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA"
(Canons on Baptism, Canon 13). Council of Trent

But let's consider also Catholic "mortal sins" associated with behavior.

 

For example, fasting on Sunday for spiritual pursuit is a mortal sin under Catholic Law.

Canon XVIII.
IF any one, under pretence of asceticism, shall fast on Sunday, let him be anathema.

Asceticism is by definition; "
abstinence from worldly pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goal."

Working on Saturday is a Mortal sin under Catholic Law.

Canon XXIX.
CHRISTIANS must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.

Usage of a contraceptive is a mortal sin under Catholic Law

 

You obviously haven’t read what I wrote about mortal sin.

 

I don’t know your Canon XVIII comes from (and I suspect you do not either as you give no citation) but Canon XXIX comes from the Synod of Laodicea, held around 343-381. It was a local Synod attended by a small number of bishops, dealing with a local problem with local applicability – that of Judaising. It is the same problem that the Council of Jerusalem addressed and that Paul addressed in Galatians.

 

None of your quotes mention mortal sin.

 

As for Catholicism's arbitrary distinction between "moral sins" and "venial sins", concerning 1John 5:16, which you yourself referenced, you seem to have overlooked the fact that it says, "There is a sin that leads to death.", not "there are sins which lead to death". And as John doesn't define here what the "a sin" is, Catholicism takes the opportunity to invent it's own Law. And to make salvation contingent on that Law.

 

“If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but There is sin which is mortal” (1Jn 5:16-17).

 

Sin in the singular (harmartia) can be used aa a general term for a groups of sins..

 

All wrongdoing is sin (harmartia)

There is sin (harmatia) which is mortal.

 

Paul describes many sins that lead to (spiritual) death:

“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:19-21)

 

“Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor 6:9-10)

 

And I could give you more examples if you need them.

 

 

Furthermore you claim that the 10 commandments don't apply to us even though Paul's references them, and other things in the law, which he applies to the Christian life. And you yourself do so in claiming that to not murder, which is spoken of in the 10 commandments, is a law that we are bound to keep to not lose our salvation. So you contradict yourself in claiming that Catholicism holds we are not bound by the 10 commandments.

 

 

I don’t contradict myself. You simple do not understand covenants and laws. Would you like an explanation of this?

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Catholicism is deceptive in trying to pass off its gospel as being conformed to Paul's gospel in its claim of INITIAL salvation being through faith apart from works. Under Catholicism, what they refer to as "initial salvation" is no salvation at all. What secures a person's salvation from God's wrath? What secures a person's salvation from going to hell. Under Catholicism it is not simply faith alone apart from works.

 

FINAL Salvation is what we're talking about. How is a person FINALLY justified, FINALLY saved from the wrath of God under Catholic soteriology. It's by being a good Catholic, complying to the Catholic Law, the Catholic rules and regulations, one's involvement in the Catholic ceremonies. It's the gospel of the circumcision all over again.

 

Just as Paul said of those who rely on the Law of Moses in Gal 3:10, so also one could say of Catholics, "All who rely on observing Catholic Canon Law are under a curse, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in Catholic Canon Law."

 

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bcbsr,

 

First let me note that you have again failed to answer the simple question: Do you think confessing sins is earning salvation?

 

Catholicism is deceptive in trying to pass off its gospel as being conformed to Paul's gospel in its claim of INITIAL salvation being through faith apart from works. Under Catholicism, what they refer to as "initial salvation" is no salvation at all. What secures a person's salvation from God's wrath? What secures a person's salvation from going to hell. Under Catholicism it is not simply faith alone apart from works.

 

FINAL Salvation is what we're talking about. How is a person FINALLY justified, FINALLY saved from the wrath of God under Catholic soteriology. It's by being a good Catholic, complying to the Catholic Law, the Catholic rules and regulations, one's involvement in the Catholic ceremonies. It's the gospel of the circumcision all over again.

 

Just as Paul said of those who rely on the Law of Moses in Gal 3:10, so also one could say of Catholics, "All who rely on observing Catholic Canon Law are under a curse, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in Catholic Canon Law."

 

There is a maxim – “that which is asserted without evidence cane be dismissed without evidence.”

 

You provide no evidence of the above claims and there I can dismiss it as a load of rubbish.

 

 

 

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First of all, as I had stated from the beginning, nothing we do earns salvation. But the saved call sin for what it is.

 

As for "proof", you are simply being disingenuous. Do you deny that one's FINAL salvation from the wrath of God under Catholicism is contingent upon a person's performance and one's involvement in religious rituals? You want proof? You yourself can testify that what I said is true.

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bcbsr,

 

You seem to find it impossible to give a straight answer to the simple question: Do you think confessing sins is earning salvation?

 

However you say:

First of all, as I had stated from the beginning, nothing we do earns salvation.

 

So let’s take that as a NO.

 

But in the OP you say:

A issue arises here in that if forgiveness is contingent upon our confession of particular sins then that would mean that each time a person sins they lose their salvation until they confess their sins, which seems a bit of a works-based salvation among other things.”

 

So which is it?

Is confessing your sins works based salvation as you suggest in the OP?

Or is it not works based salvation as you are now saying?

 

Let’s have an answer and not just ignore it.

 

As for "proof", you are simply being disingenuous. Do you deny that one's FINAL salvation from the wrath of God under Catholicism is contingent upon a person's performance and one's involvement in religious rituals? You want proof? You yourself can testify that what I said is true.

 

Yes, I do deny that in the loaded way you put it.

 

It is not by doing good works that we enter heaven. Catholic teaching is that we enter heaven because we die in God’s grace and friendship. Good works are performed out of love. And they are not our works, but God at work in us.

“God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13)

 

Consider these two texts:

First Matthew 25

31"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.

32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,

33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.

34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;

35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'

37 Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?

38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'

40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'

41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;

42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,

43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'

44 Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?'

45 Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.'

46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

 

Which ones went into eternal life - the ones who did good works or the ones who did no good works?

 

James 2

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food,

16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?

17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18 But some one will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith…..

20 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren?

24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone……

26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

 

James compares the faith of someone with no works as being like a dead body. Can a dead faith save him. James says no. And James says: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

 

So works are necessary. But what they do not do is earn salvation. Neither are they the automatic fruit of our Initial Justification. They are part of our building our relationship with God, which in itself is dependant on God’s grace.

 

As I said before: “Whatever good acts we do are God’s actions in us not just our own. Catholics believe that grace comes in two kinds, sanctifying grace and actual grace. Actual grace is the prompts and help that God gives us to do good deeds. When we do a good deed it is God working in us.”

Grace always comes first.

 

Paul writes:

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.” (Rom 5:1-2)

 

Paul is writing about our Initial Justification. This gives us:

1. access to grace

2. the hope (not certainty) of sharing in the glory of God

 

Then Paul writes

“Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.” (2Cor 6:1)

How would we accept the grace of God in vain? By not using it in good works.

 

And finally as I quoted earlier:

“God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13)

 

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You seem to have a problem with basic reading comprehension. I stated "nothing we do earns salvation." Somehow you misconstrued that to mean that I was saying that repentance was not a work. Don't know how you managed to do that. Even in your own Catholic terms, if repentance is a work of God in the person, then repentance, including confession of sin is a work, under Catholicism, and as such Catholicism contradicts itself in saying that salvation is contingent upon works and is not contingent upon works.

 

As I stated and is well known, the Catholic position is that one's final salvation from hell is contingent upon their ongoing behavior, in particular to the compliance to Catholic Canon Law, which you now deny! Another contradiction.

 

It's just like when you said that we are not bound by the 10 commandments, but commit murder, which is one of the 10 commandments, and one loses their salvation status and is on their way to hell. You just can't keep your answers straight.

 

Given your constant and unresolved contradictions and your difficulties with basic reading comprehension I see little point in discussing this matter further on this thread. Though it serves as an example to the public how obfuscated the Catholic soteriology is.

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Given your constant and unresolved contradictions and your difficulties with basic reading comprehension I see little point in discussing this matter further on this thread. Though it serves as an example to the public how obfuscated the Catholic soteriology is.

 

If you had signed off with a neutral comment I would have pursued this no further. However as you chose to make a personal attck on me and yet again give a false version of Catholic teaching I will give a response.

 

You seem to have a problem with basic reading comprehension. I stated "nothing we do earns salvation." Somehow you misconstrued that to mean that I was saying that repentance was not a work.

 

Let’s get the facts on this.

You made a statement in the OP:

A issue arises here in that if forgiveness is contingent upon our confession of particular sins then that would mean that each time a person sins they lose their salvation until they confess their sins, which seems a bit of a works-based salvation among other things.” (my emboldening).

 

In post #6 I said: Yes, we cannot earn salvation. But what is earn? Do you think confessing sins is earning salvation?

 

You did not reply directly to my questions but just gave some garbled version of catholic teaching and practices.

So I asked you again: “Do you think confessing sins is earning salvation?” (post #9)

And again in post #12

And in post #15 I noted you have failed to answer the question.

 

Finally in post #16 you say “nothing we do earns salvation.” Which I reasonably take to be an answer to my question.

Confessing sins is something we do. God does not do it for us. Other people do not do it for us.

So a contradiction appears with what you stated in the OP.

So I asked:

Is confessing your sins works based salvation as you suggest in the OP?

Or is it not works based salvation as you are now saying?

 

Did I get an straight answer? NO.

You diverted into something else:

Somehow you misconstrued that to mean that I was saying that repentance was not a work”.

What?

I didn’t mention repentance. You dragged that in and then gave me another garbled account of what you think the Catholic Church teaches.

 

 

As I stated and is well known, the Catholic position is that one's final salvation from hell is contingent upon their ongoing behavior,

 

I gave you what the Catholic Church teaches in this.

Catholic teaching is that we enter heaven because we die in God’s grace and friendship.”

 

Do you think you are going to heaven if you are not a friend of God?

Do you think enemies of God go to heaven?

Do you really think being a friend of God is salvation by works?

 

in particular to the compliance to Catholic Canon Law, which you now deny! Another contradiction.

 

Now you really show your ignorance of Catholicism. You invent a term Catholic Law, and then invent another term Catholic Canon Law.

 

Do you know what Canon Law actually is in Catholicism?

Canon Law is the internal rules and regulations that any organisation needs for its internal functioning. It is nothing to do with doctrine. It’s something of relevance to clergy not the “Catholic in the pew”.

 

I assume to have made up the phrase based on the Canons of Councils or Synods, such as those you quoted from Trent and Laodocia. But it’s nothing to do with them. They are doctrinal statements. Canon Law is not.

 

It's just like when you said that we are not bound by the 10 commandments, but commit murder, which is one of the 10 commandments, and one loses their salvation status and is on their way to hell. You just can't keep your answers straight.

 

You do not understand. I gave you a brief explanation in post #6

No, we are not bound by the Ten Commandments. They are the covenant Law of the Old (Mosaic) Covenant. We live in the New Covenant. And no, that does not mean we can murder etc. Those are also condemned under the New Covenant (e.g. 1Jn 3;15). But we need to understand which Covenant we are in.”

 

I offered to give you a fuller explanation in post#13 but you did not take up my offer. You would appear to prefer ignorance. But for others here is a fuller explanation.

 

The first murder was committed by Cain when he killed Abel. Cain knew he had done wrong and when God challenged him. "Where is Abel your brother?" Cain replied, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen 4:9). God punished Cain.

 

But how did Cain knew it was wrong to murder his brother? There is nothing to indicate God had given such instruction to Cain.

 

From the beginning God made certain moral laws that are applicable to all men in all times. We call them eternal moral laws.

 

Mankind knew these laws from the beginning because they were made known to him by his conscience. Thus Cain knew that he had done wrong when he murdered Abel. We believe that man can know something about God and his moral laws from our nature and our consciences.

 

As the psalmist says:

"The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge." (Ps 19:1-2)

 

Paul says:

"Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him" (Rom 1:20-21)

 

And

"When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them" (Rom 2:14-15)

 

Thus God’s eternal moral law already exists before man is created and is embedded in our hearts.

 

When God called the Israelites of Egypt he had to build them into a nation, a kingdom. He did this by means of a Covenant where he bound them to a set of laws, a code of law. This Covenant was accompanied by blessings for keeping the covenant and curses for breaking it. This was standard for Ancient Near East Covenants ( ANE Covenants).

 

All these laws were written down and can be found particularly in Exodus and Leviticus or in Deuteronomy. The Book of the Law (which contained the Ten Commandments) was put on the outside of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ten Commandments were also written on stone, by God, and placed inside the Ark.

 

The Ten Commandments are a codification of (some of) God’s eternal moral law given to the Israelites at Sinai. That codification is not applicable to us. We are not Israelites. We are not living under the Old (Sinai) Covenant.

 

But God’s eternal moral laws are still, applicable to us and we will find them expressed in the New Testament.

 

We need to distinguish between God's eternal moral laws and a particular expression or codification of them at a point in time for a particular people.

 

We need to understand which jurisdiction we will be judged under.

 

I’m English and if I commit murder in England I will be judged under English law.

But if I go to the USA and commit murder there I will be judged under American law.

Both are implementing God’s eternal moral law.

I am bound by the particular jurisdiction I am in at the time.

 

We do not live under the Old (Sinai) Covenant therefore we are not bound by the Ten Commandments as a legal code.

 

Now do you understand? There is no contradiction what I said.

 

 

 

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