Beware of False Prophets…..

Mat 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them ”

The following is one of the examples of scriptural error found in our world today. Sadly many biblical Christians do not recognize error. One of the reasons is that our enemy is very good at disguising it. The enemy takes truth and mixes in error which deceives many. His biggest deception is adding works to Jesus sacrifice for our sins as a requirement for being ‘born again’. The last chapter of II Corinthians says the enemy teaches another Jesus who is not sufficient for our salvation. There is only one sacrifice that can be sufficient for my sins, and Jesus is the One who paid it. Do you feel this morning that you must be a certain person or belong to a certain organization or church to be saved?

The question becomes, is Jesus sacrifice sufficient for the forgiveness of my sins or does something else need to be added. The following in my opinion is a good example of taking truth and mixing in error. First, listen to what our God says about Jesus sacrifice’ if we can work our way to heaven.

Galatians 2:21 “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

In recent months, dioceses around the world have been offering Catholics a spiritual benefit that fell out of favor decades ago – the indulgence, a sort of amnesty from punishment in the afterlife – and reminding them of the church’s clout in mitigating the wages of sin. The fact that many Catholics under 50 have never sought one, and never heard of indulgences except in high school European history (Martin Luther denounced the selling of them in 1517 while igniting the Protestant Reformation), simply makes their reintroduction more urgent among church leaders bent on restoring fading traditions of penance in what they see as a self-satisfied world.
“Why are we bringing it back?” asked Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn, who has embraced the move. “Because there is sin in the world.” Like the Latin Mass and meatless Fridays, the indulgence was one of the traditions decoupled from mainstream Catholic practice in the 1960s by the Second Vatican Council, the gathering of bishops that set a new tone of simplicity and informality for the church.
The indulgence is among the less noticed and less disputed traditions to be restored. But with a thousand-year history and volumes of church law devoted to its intricacies, it is one of the most complicated to explain. According to church teaching, even after sinners are absolved in the confessional and say their Our Fathers or Hail Mary’s as penance, they still face punishment after death, in Purgatory, before they can enter heaven. In exchange for certain prayers, devotions or pilgrimages in special years, a Catholic can receive an indulgence, which reduces or erases that punishment instantly, with no formal ceremony or sacrament.
There are partial indulgences, which reduce purgatorial time by a certain number of days or years, and plenary indulgences, which eliminate all of it, until another sin is committed. You can get one for yourself, or for someone who is dead. You cannot buy one – the church outlawed the sale of indulgences in 1567 – but charitable contributions, combined with other acts, can help you earn one. There is a limit of one plenary indulgence per sinner per day. It has no currency in the bad place.
(Vitello, “For Catholics, a Door to Absolution Is Reopened,” New York Times, February 9, 2009).
[TBC: It is a wonderful freedom to see the Bible’s remedy for the sin of the world. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

From the Berean Call of 6 March 2009