First of all, thank you for your enthusiastic participation on the blog this week. We sincerely hope this series will bear much spiritual fruit in the coming days and weeks, as current events provide you opportunities to interact with friends and family concerning God’s Word and the Roman Catholic Church.
We want to bring a close to this series by allowing John MacArthur to speak directly to you. Throughout the week we’ve repeatedly affirmed that Catholics are not the enemy, but the mission field. Nothing we’ve posted has any lasting value if we’re not actively using the truth presented here to call people out of the damning darkness of the Catholic Church to biblical repentance and faith.
With that in mind, we asked John how he would personally bring God’s truth to a Catholic friend or family member. We trust his words will be instructive and encouraging to you.
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#1 Posted by
Jennifer Phillips | Friday, March 01, 2013at
Thank you Grace to You!
My prayer is that anyone reading this series will realize that good works of any kind will not save you and you cannot establish your own righteousness. Read Romans 9:30-33 and Romans 10:1-4.
It can take some time (months or even years) to recognize and embrace that truth, especially because during our whole human existence we are accustomed to a life based on earning and working for things for our reward. Once you get past that for salvation, it is liberating and a source of freedom. I think of the the song “And Can it Be” that states:
Amazing love, how can it be
That thou my God should die for me
Amazing love, how can it be
That thou my Lord shouldst die for me
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature's night
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light
MY CHAINS FELL OFF, MY HEART WAS FREE,
I rose, went forth
and followed thee
My chains fell off, my heart was free
I rose, went forth and followed thee
No condemnation now I dread,
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine
Alive in Him, my living Head
And clothed with righteousness divine
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown,
through Christ, my own
Bold I approach the eternal throne
And claim the crown, through Christ my own
A life of faith and repentance will naturally produce good works. A life of only good works will not produce faith. You need a steady diet of God’s Word. The good news is, even though Christians have ups and downs in their life (no one can do this perfectly), He will accept you back when you repent (turn around) 1 John 1:9. Your confession of sin needs to be directly to God, not through someone else, since only God has the power to forgive sin. It is when you have no sorrow for your sin and have no desire to repent that you need to worry.
A great sermon from John MacArthur is below. It really helped me years ago when I felt like a failure and was disappointed about my sin and not being good enough for God. None of us are good enough for God – you will ever meet that standard of holiness no matter what you do - that is why Christ died once for sinners. Note in the sermon or transcript about John MacArthur’s reference to “the holy hop”. It helped me tremendously when I was a new Christian and struggling with my failures.
#2 Posted by
Joseph Hoffman | Friday, March 01, 2013at
Thank you again Pastor Macarthur for giving us the truth. The Spirit through you will save many.
#3 Posted by
David Barrow | Friday, March 01, 2013at
Dear Catholic friends
As Pastor MacArthur mentioned, we cannot cause ourselves to be born again (John 3:8). It is a work of God in the believer's heart (Ezekiel 36:25-27). Read God's word. One cannot be born again without reading the Bible (1 Peter 1:23). Water baptism does not save. Spiritual things cannot be obtained through physical means. That’s idolatry. An appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Christ is what saves us (1 Peter 3:21), an appeal to be clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27), to be immersed in Christ, to be one with Christ. This is what it means to be baptized into Christ. And yes, if we are not baptized into Christ this way (again, not by water Romans 6:3-4), we are not saved. This appeal for the unmerited forgiveness of our sins and Christ's righteousness being credited to our account (2 Corinthians 5:21), with repentance and belief in his gospel as being the evidence of our new life in Christ (Mark 1:15), made with a sincere conscience, is what saves us (John 6:37) by means of the person and work of Christ alone.
Let me say one more thing. You WILL know if you have been born again. God's word will come alive to you (Hebrews 4:12). You will not be able to get Jesus Christ off of your mind. He will be the only thing that matters to you. You will think about him night and day. You will be in awe of what he went through to save you (Isaiah 53:10-11) even though you will never be able to comprehend the magnitude of it in this lifetime. You will be joyous to know that you will be worshiping and serving him day and night for all eternity (Revelation 7:15), and joyous to know that heaven isn’t going to be some type of earthly party in the sky.
Thank you all for your posts this week. And thank you Pastor John for all your hard work on this very crucial subject. May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ bless us all through the reading and understanding of his word.
#4 Posted by
Charlotte Odum | Friday, March 01, 2013at
From Benedict's final public appearance:
"I would like to invite everyone to renew firm trust in the Lord. I would like that we all, entrust ourselves as children to the arms of God, and rest assured that those arms support us and us to walk every day, even in times of struggle. I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave His Son for us and showed us His boundless love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer to be recited daily in the morning says, “I adore you, my God, I love you with all my heart. I thank You for having created me, for having made me a Christian.” Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith: it is the most precious good, that no one can take from us! Let us thank God for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but He also expects that we love Him!"
Sure sounds like the antichrist to me.
#5 Posted by
Brad Kennedy | Friday, March 01, 2013at
Do not marvel, Charlotte (4). 2 Corinthians 11:13-19
But be transformed. Romans 12:2
#6 Posted by
Charles Haase | Friday, March 01, 2013at
I missed the anti-christ part of Charlettes reply. Please enlighten me. I seem dense today.
#7 Posted by
Eizabeth Prata | Friday, March 01, 2013at
#4 Charlotte, Pope Benedict wrote this in 1969, when he was cardinal Ratzinger, in a paper covering the RCC's doctrine on The Primacy of the Pope:
""The Pope,' writes Cardinal Ratzinger, 'is not just someone who speaks in the name of the bishops, a kind of mouthpiece they give themselves and which is there to do their bidding. The Pope is where he is, with a direct responsibility before God, to take the place of the Lord,"
The Catholic position paper reaffirms Ratzinger's statement, saying again and again, "Of the Pope it can truly be said: he acts in the person of Christ." [http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/papab3.htm]
This week in his farewell speech, Pope Benedict "told the crowd he was not "coming down from the Cross", but would remain in the service of the Church through prayer." [Sky News]
Ratzinger believed then as now that the pope is the substitute of Christ on earth.
That is exactly the antichrist spirit.
#8 Posted by
Peter Epps | Friday, March 01, 2013at
I have long enjoyed confidence that Christ's work was for me, learned from John's Gospel and Epistles early in life. I'm never sorry anyone shares the Gospel as St. John the Evangelist received it from the Holy Spirit.
I can't help being sorry that you should choose to misread it to contradict the faith itself, though. True, we all offend; and so we must trust God's work rather than our understandings. Even Biblicists garble fundamental doctrines [ http://www.gty.org/Resources/articles/593 ]. I certainly did; as a TMC student eager to use inerrant Scriptures to "justify the ways of God to man," I erred into the blind alley of Pelagianism. In those days, as in painful years of return to orthodoxy, my enemy and most surprising friend was Augustine.
Protestants from Luther to today's Calvinists* stake their Augustine's reading of Paul against the Augustine who declared while preaching John 6:53 that "already have two councils on this question been sent to the Apostolic see; and rescripts also have come from thence. The question has been brought to an issue; would that their error may sometime be brought to an issue too! " [ http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf106.vii.lxxxiii.html ].
You should read, then, what Augustine has to say concerning John 3--from a series of expository sermons:
[ http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf107.iii.xii.html ] [continue from xii to xv]
When we read John 3:1-21, we should do so with joyful understanding, for we know the Spirit has been teaching through these words without interruption for 2000 years. And we will understand them better if we read the pericope John 2:1-John 1:46. [ http://www.esvbible.org/search/john+2%3A1%2C6-11%2C19%2C21-25%3B+3%3A1-27%3B+4%3A1-3%2C7%2C10%2C46/ ]
We see here not only Christ's signs of Deity, but his institution among his disciples of a baptism with greater sacramental meaning and more miraculous reality than Jewish purifications or even John's baptism. Is this not the teaching John 1 outlined, which the Baptist preached? Or do we think water-to-wine, birth by water and Spirit, and a colloquy on baptisms are clumsily juxtaposed by our most literate Evangelist?
That is what Augustine saw. And that is precisely the sense in which Trent cites John 3:
"if [sinners] were not born again in Christ, they never would be justified; ... in that new birth, there is bestowed upon them, through the merit of His passion, the grace whereby they are made just.
Justification of the impious is ... a translation, from that state wherein man is born ... to the state of grace [which] cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." [ http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct06.html ]
* cf. http://www.spurgeon.org/calvinis.htm ; http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/augustine ; http://www.wts.edu/about/beliefs/statements/creation.html .
#9 Posted by
Danny Decker | Sunday, March 03, 2013at
This was a great word and a great encouragement for engaging the "works salvation" folks in an evangelistic conversation. Thanks Dr. MacArthur.
#10 Posted by
Daniel Wilson | Sunday, March 03, 2013at
Only Jesus can change their hearts and draw them to Himself.. and our duty is to preach to them the truth... and pray for them..