*Is the Roman Catholic Church the One True Church? Part One"
An examination of Roman Catholicisms major doctrines in the light of the Bible.
Today, as never before in recent history, many within the Roman Catholic institution are questioning the claims of their church, and many without are bewildered by the recent events that have made it the present focus within much of the Western religious world. Having suffered a dramatic loss in recent years of both priests and laity in areas of the world where She once flourished as well as seeing increasing dissension within it's ranks, the Roman church is now reeling in the aftermath of a flood of disclosures that She has been harboring a multiplicity of priests who are guilty of the grievous and damnable sin of priestly pedophilia and sodomy. Having trained Her priests in how to deal with guilt, now struggles herself with the same.
Such moral troubles and as we shall see, grave doctrinal errors, are in sharp contrast to Her own claims to be the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church to whom all must submit. Therefore it is the duty of every true seeker of God and Truth, to examine Her claims, as well as that of any church, to determine their worthiness in the light of the Word of God, the Bible, to which even the writers as well as the discerners must submit.
THE EARLY CHURCH
It is in that wholly inspired Word of God that we read of the early church which believe His word and thus both believed and proclaimed the apostolic "Gospel of the Grace of God. It is that true Gospel which brought (and brings) souls to realize their lost condition as sinners before a completely Holy and perfectly Just and Almighty God, and of their utter inability to either gain God and His holy Heaven nor escape their just and eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire on the basis of their own works and sacrifices. Being thus brought to a place of honest humility and repentance by the Holy Spirit, they could only look to the Son (Jesus Christ) sent from the Father "to be the propitiation (the perfect, complete and final payment) for our sins," and "the Saviour of the world" (1John 4:10, 14). Having exercised "repentance toward God and faith (directly) toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21) such early believers were baptized by immersion in identification with the crucified and risen Lord Jesus, as such an act both demands and expresses true faith: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him" Acts 2:41; 8:38).
That the faith of the primitive church was real was further demonstrated as they "continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). Worshiping God and rejoicing in Jesus, and placing no confidence in themselves or in their leaders for salvation, but only in "JESUS which is called CHRIST" (cf. Phil.3:1,2)!
This gospel was and is called the "Word of Truth, the gospel of your salvation;" "the gospel of the Grace of God;" "the gospel.., by which ye are saved" (Ephesians 1:13; Acts 20:24; 2Cor.15:2). And as the word of this "common salvation" spread, these early disciples of the Lord Jesus were exhorted that they should "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude v.3).
So necessary is truth, and so critical that Word of Truth, that none less than the Apostle Paul solemnly warned: "though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8). It is this saving, Biblical gospel which clearly declares "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5, For as Jesus declared; "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). It is by this true gospel that all other "gospels" of salvation must be tested.
What then, of the "gospel that the Roman church proclaims? Whereas the Word of God sends the lost, spiritually destitute and Hell - bound sinner (and "all have sinned") directly to the Lord Jesus (as the Son sent by the Father) for assured salvation based solely on His person and work - on His righteousness and shed blood (Acts 13:39; Romans 3 thru 5; Ephesians 2:8,9), the evidence will show that Roman Catholicism essentially makes Herself an object of faith, directing souls to trust and depend on the Roman Catholic institution for their hope of Heaven, based upon Her supposed supreme position and powers. Though She has sought to present a more conciliatory face to those whom She has labeled "renegades" and "schismatics" (as Her temporal power decreased, being displaced by civil governments that are not aligned with Her), if Rome had Her way She would once again use carnal force to suppress those who seek to obey God in faithfulness to the Word of God and who therefore cannot in good conscience submit to Her. As a chameleon adapts to it's environment by changing it's colors, so the Roman church, having lost Her civil powers, and experiencing heavy losses to churches who rely on the Spirit of God and His Word rather than intimidation, now seeks to use ecumenism and deceit instead to achieve Her end - complete submission to Her pope - and which end has never changed just as none of the Her basic doctrines have truly changed.
"By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned
The following statements are a mere sample of the vast number of pronouncements which have declared the necessity of allegiance to the Roman system for salvation, an unscriptural faith/dependence She continues to promote.
"There is but one universal ["Catholic" means universal] Church of the faithful, outside which NO ONE at all is saved. (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.).
" We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff." (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull, Unam Sanctum, 1302.)
"The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes, and preaches that NONE of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics [Protestants] and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, UNLESS before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, NO ONE, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church. (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441).
These "infallible" declarations of the Popes are part of what was once commonly referred to as the dogma, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus -- Outside the Church there is no salvation. Dogmas are held as revealed truths given by God through the Churches Magisterium. "Truth cannot change..."
This unbiblical, unwarranted presumption to supreme position and power over all others is what has been behind Her historical repression (documented in the many inquisitions, etc. which She implicitly as well as explicitly sanctioned) of sincere God-fearing souls by physical and psychological means. This same spiritual arrogance is presently manifest in Her basic recalcitrant attitude in the current scandal - a scandal which we shall see, itself flows from Her subjection of the Bible to Herself - suggesting She expected to be able to hid such sins and operate sinfully with impunity. [And all churches are affected by Rome's wickedness, as her inability to rule her own house has moved the state closer to entering where it ought not, in the house of God.]
The question must be asked then, "from whence cometh this doctrine" of presumption? By examining Her own statements it is clearly evident that as far as scripture is concerned the Roman churches claim to exclusive supremacy proceeds from Her own autocratic (uncontrolled authority; answerable to no one) misinterpretation of Matthew 16:15-19: "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which in Heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
According to Roman Catholic theology, the above verses not only means that Peter was that Rock (thereby building the church upon a man), but also that he was the first "Pope," and the "vicar" (in place of) the Lord Jesus; the head over an ultimately infallible church who alone can be trusted to correctly interpret the Bible and to whom all must submit. A supreme position and power which is to be perpetuated till Christ comes again via a succession of Popes, by which authority they may "bind and lose" what they may.
"Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1Corinthians 3:11). This statement, which is echoed by Peter himself (1Pt.2:6-8), declares who the ultimate foundation for the church is. While it is then "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Eph..2:20), the Bible as a whole provides insufficient warrant for a "Pope Peter" to whom all of Christiandom initially submitted, and no warrant for a Romanish pope such as She has historically sought to foist upon mankind.
" What saith the Scriptures..."
As those who have been taught of God realize, the Bible itself is it's own interpreter (by the Holy Ghost and unto men who obey it by Him: John 8:31. 32; 1Pt.1:22), with unclear statements being interpreted in the light of those that are clear. In so doing, we will see that both the main and plain things (which most of Scripture consists of) as well as in more difficult matters, there must be sufficient warrant for any conclusions, with major doctrines in particular needing the more consistent and clear confirmation. Yet in relation to the most principal tenet of Rome's faith, a careful examination of the entire New Testament yields no real support that such a Romanish papacy existed! NO WHERE, among the multiplicity of commands given to the church, is there EVEN ONE command to any church or group of churches to submit to Peter as their supreme head - an outstanding ommission if Peter was such as Rome's claims. Neither is there any example of any the churches submitting to Peter as supreme head. Nor is there any acknowledgment of Peters supposed authority over all Christiandom by himself. Peter, in holding a chief pastoral position with James, John, Paul, etc., refers to himself as "an elder" - not "The Elder" - "a servant," "an apostle" (1Pt.5:1; 2Pt.1:1). Not only does the Lord not provide any record of churches in Romanish submission to Peter, but the record (Galatians 1 + 2) of Paul (after he was widely evangelizing for years) meeting with those who "seemed to be pillars" for their official sanction does little to support the Romanish operation of an exalted Papal supremacy. Paul does not recognize any one supreme Head, but says he met with "James, Cephas, and John, in that order, who "seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:)." Hardly a picture of a Romanish Pope on a royal chair having his feet kissed and who basically rules unreprovable above all and overall. This is further evident in chapter 2, in which the Holy Spirit records for us how Peter is publicly humiliated by Paul for his hypocrisy. Yet though this is in contrast to the pompish Papal picture we see in Catholicism of the "Supreme Pontiff, nonetheless it is an exception to Peters overall non-pompish office and holy character).
As for Peter being the head of the church in Rome, we do not mind if he was, or even one like Paul, having oversight a group of churches (which unlike Peter, is clearly documented), yet though he may have been in Rome perhaps later on in life, no where is there any explicit Biblical record of Peter ever being there (unlike Paul). Paul's letter to the Romans never even mentions Peter among the numerous friends he salutes there in chapter 16; and if there was any church which should have at least an acknowledgment of Peter as it's head or Pope it should be there. Looking further on, we see in Galatians 1 that Peter was in Jerusalem, not Rome. Fourteen years later, in chapter 2, Peter is still in Jerusalem, and later on he is in Antioch. A possible inference to Rome might be found in 1Peter 5:13, "The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you," though Rome should be reluctant to be called Babylon: (Rev. 18:4): however it is possible this refers to Jerusalem. And Peter was the apostle to the Jews (Gal.2:8).
In addition, the of idea a Roman Catholic papacy being perpetuated finds little if any Biblical substance. To extrapolate the Roman Catholic papacy out of Peters words "Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance" 2 Pt.1:15) can hardly be warranted: the context in which we find this text intimates more that he would work (as others would) to ensure that the apostolic teachings were duly recorded, rather than providing for another pope. Rather than stating that "the papacy endureth forever," he made it clear "the word of the Lord endureth for ever" (1Pt.1:25), which Word is the subject of the subsequent verses in 2Pt.1:15. And while the Lord provides clear and consistent requirements and instructions for the ordination of Biblical pastors-overseers (1Tim. 3; Titus 1), yet in no place are there any such instructions for the ordination and the perpetuation of Rome's all-important papal office; nor as has been shown already, is there any real recognition of such.
Therefore, though Rome insists otherwise, the whole weight of church epistles in particular militates against a supreme papacy to whom the whole church is to submit.
That Peter did have an unique initial servant-leadership position among the 11 we do not doubt. After his fall, this brethren-type leader ("But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren:" Mt 23:8) was given the primary and restorative charge to "feed my sheep" (John 20:15-17) along with the rest (Mt.28:19,20), over whom Peter had no apparent "papal power" jurisdiction. The interpretation of that Peters' humble Biblical leadership is made manifest in the Bible in which we see nothing of the kind of papal preeminence such as Rome has foisted upon the world as She could. The Peter of scripture reveals one who was married (Mk. 11:30; Corinthians 9:1-5), was poor (Acts 3:6), and would allow no man to bow down to him (Acts 10:25,26), let alone kiss his feet or gold ring! The biblical record of Peter would make him a far better baptist or "protestant" than "a high and lifted up" ultimately infallible Roman Pontiff prospering in gold. Hear the Holy Spirit's rebuke through the apostle Paul: "Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day" (1Cor.4:9-13). What a contrast to Rome's the Papacy! Though Paul also learned how to be content in whatsover state he was in, how to be abased as well as how to abound (Phil. 4:11,12), but usually more in the former state, the exalted Popes in their own Vatican State, replete with their silver and gold, pomp and ceremony, present bodyguards and past armies, etc., manifest to the world a non-apostolic example of being lovers of this world and an earthly kingdom and it's riches and powers, rather than the spiritual kingdom of Christ into which true believers are translated upon repentance anf faith in the Lord Jesus (Col. 1:13).
All told, there are no clear statements and precious little evidence, if any, that tells of a Romanish Pope Peter. Such a conspicuous dearth of substance in Scripture for Rome's cardinal doctrine of the Papacy as She propagates it (out of which Rome's other unBiblical doctrines proceed, including the perpetuation of it), especially among the church epistles which contexts demand such, leaves no foundation for which Rome to build Her church. As the Holy Spirit is faithful in declaring in His written Word (the Bible) the evidential substance and proof for "the faith once delivered unto the saints," to build such a major doctrine as Rome's Papacy upon questionable and ambiguous statements which resultant interpretation the whole of Scripture will not support, is not only heretical but in essence charges the Holy Spirit with neglect!
THE TRUE CHURCH IS BUILT UPON THE TRUTH
Back to MT. 16:16; instead of a "Pope Peter" as rock, Jesus play on words reveals Peters declaration of Who Christ is to be that Rock against which the gates of Hell and it's demons cannot prevail. And it is upon that Truth, consistent with the Biblical declaration, "that Rock was Christ" (1Corinthians 10:4), which the Church is established. In so doing God used and is using stones who also truly confess the transcedant Truth of who Christ is by the Holy Ghost.
Therefore, rather than looking to an institutionalized head who reigns over a church in posh autocratic supremacy, we are can look to the Biblical Peter and the other apostles as leaders who left a Christ - like example of Scriptural integrity, sacrifical love and holy character, and manifest anointed power. Godly characteristics (all evident in close quarters, not ivory palaces) which have been generally absent in the line of popes which Rome has paraded before us (some worse than others). Even more recent ones, though robbed of their unscriptural civil powers, still subject the Word of God to themselves, rather than vice - versa, and continue to propagate a gospel which leads souls to trust in mother church and their own supposed merits for eventual entrance into Heaven.
Rome's terrible and tragic self - exaltation is to Her eternal destruction, and of those who will trust in her. Indeed, history past and evidence present* (and true faith will be evident) reveals that instead of generally bringing souls to regeneration and salvation thru faith in the Rock of salvation against which the gates of Hell shall not prevail, Romanism by Her presumptions to spiritual and temporal preemience has actually - like the Pharisees of old - acted as the gates of Hell itself for multitudes! How apt are the words of our Savior in regard to Rome, "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in" (Mt.23:12, 13).
Lacking Biblical evidence for Her papacy, Rome yet seeks to establish Her claims to supremacy based on a difficult historical record, that of an supposed unbroken succession of Popes proceeding out of a Peterine papacy. We need not establish that such an unbroken line of popes is not unbroken, for the authenticity of a true Christian or the One True Church, like that of a true Jew,- is not based on possession of a correct genealogy, physical or ecclesiastical (formal church government linkage) back to Abraham and or the apostles; rather it is based upon true Abrahamic - like faith in the apostolic gospel of the grace of God (Rm.2:28,29; Acts 20:24). And as said before, it is that faith directly in Christ which puts one into the church and the kingdom of God (1Corinthians 12:13; Eph. 1:13; Colossians 1:13). Such converts exhibited an ardent love for the God, His word, each other, and the lost (Acts 2:42-47; 8:4; 1Ths. 1:8-10). This gospel Rome does not officially or effectually proclaim, and an honest observation reveals Her adherents do not possess it's promises as a whole. Indeed, the practical effect of Rome's presumption has been to produce generations and a present populace that is largely Biblically ignorant, manifesting little if any affection toward the Word of God, and usually indifference and often antagonism toward the simple biblical gospel and those who seek to share it with them. Official statistics as well as multitudes of former Catholics like myself, confirm these statements (with like - institutionalized "mainline Protestant" churches faring little better). Instead of being a church which brings souls to be transformed by a definite encounter with Christ thru true heart-faith in His gospel, Rome has fostered dependence upon Her self proclaimed powers, so that the typical Catholic feels he will eventually get to Heaven because of his baptism as a child and a nominal religious life. In contrast to a church that truly exalts Christ with Biblical pastors and a Biblical church government, by applying their interpretation of Peter the Pope the Roman church has sanctified a form of the Roman Empire in which She was founded and first gained Her power, becoming a vast autocratic organization replete with it's own CaesarioPapacy. By such governmental powers, She has sought to maintain Her power over souls by it's physical means of oppression, as well as by doctrines that foster confidence in the Roman institution for the eternal welfare of souls.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ROME
According to official Roman Catholic Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), a baby becomes a Christian thru Roman Catholic sprinkling (R.C. "baptism") by proxy (someone standing in their place). At that point the baby's "original sin" is removed, and becomes born again of the Holy Spirit, receiving justification thru what the Roman church articulates as "grace infused into the soul." This "justification" according to Rome is not as the Bible declares, that the sinner who casts all his faith on the Lord Jesus is acquitted of all his sins and guilt and is declared righteous, all because Jesus Christ took upon Himself his sins so that Christ righteousness is imputed to the believer at the time of repentance and conversion (Romans 4:5). Instead, Romanism erroneously teaches that at R.C. baptism [which is hardly Biblical baptism, as the word in the original Greek, "baptismo," means immersion, which method alone illustrates that which it is expressly declared to typify in Romans 6] the soul actually becomes inwardly righteous, and then is enabled to earn Heaven by co-operating with the (mysterious) grace of God which is "deposited in the Roman Catholic Church." This "grace" is said to be dispensed via the "Sacraments," principal among which is the Eucharist, in which Christ is said to actually be physically, corporeally present in the communion bread and wine of the Lord' supper.
Also necessary is the practice of having sins forgiven by a priest, and the penitent doing "penance," prayers or acts which pay for sin and make the forgiveness complete. But only souls who fully co-operate with such grace are said to go directly to Heaven (like "canonized" saints), while the rest must suffer an indeterminate time in a place called purgatory in which they endure both punishment for the venial sins they did not pay for on earth, and become purified so they can enter Heaven. As noted Catholic apologist Karl Keating stated, "We can be forgiven, yet still have to suffer."
The Catholic idea of purgatory enables another practice to be enjoined upon Catholics, that of indulgences, worthy acts or donations which can either be applied to ones self or for one in purgatory which are done in order to lessen ones time there. As the Catholic institution adapts to each age somewhat, purgatory has been redefined by some to make it less severe. Yet the Catholic system has made millions for Herself by what is essentially extortion, preaching that poor loved ones are suffering in that place, to be relieved by the giving of others. As we speak, multitudes pray prayers or send money to have prayers and Masses "offered up" for those who are supposed to be in purgatory. Meanwhile. Catholic souls on earth are told it is presumption to call oneself saved, though most (at least western ones) typically believe that God will let them into His holy abode because of the power and influence the Roman church insists she has, along with their good works.
Despite the Rome's claims of Rome, the true seeker of God must ask, "What saith the Scriptures?" Is this indeed the doctrine of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, or is it a subtle corruption of the "simplicity which is in Christ" by an organization that was from the beginning a mixture of false doctrines? "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him" ( (2 Cor 11:3, 4).The Holy Spirit exhorts us to "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly," and to "Study to shew thyself approved of God," and so be able to "Prove all things.." by that which is proven faithful and true (Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1Thessalonians 5:21), so we must continue to examine the claims of Rome in the pure light of the Word of God. And as the True and Living God is most supremely revealed in His Gospel, and as man was created to know, enjoy, and glorify Him, the most critical doctrine for every soul is that of salvation. "What must i do to be saved?" (Acts 16:31) should be the heart cry of every soul outside of Christ, and which question deserves a clear and true answer from those that are.
THE GOSPEL OF YOUR SALVATION
Though it is a common for man to presume he can somehow escape from the just punishment due him in Hell as well as earn a place in Heaven with God by his own good deeds and sacrifices, this is a tragic and damnable error. Such a "gospel of works" ultimately works to exalt man and debase God, as it defiles the holiness of God who will not dwell with sin (Ps. 5:4), and is contrary to His justice which demands punishment for sin (Ps. 5:4; 94:20; Rev. 21:1-8). In contrast to self - justification, or as Rome essentially teaches, salvation by grace thru merit (God enabling man to earn Heaven by grace) the "gospel of the grace of God" is that in which God forgives and justifies the spiritually bankrupt sinner (who repents and believes) solely on God/Christ's own great expense and credit, on His own blood and righteousness: "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." Thereby allowing God to be "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 3:24-26; 4:4, 5). The scripture makes clear it is "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5),
The Catholic apologist at this point may object that is is stated in James that "that faith without works is dead?" "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" James 2:20, 24). To which I reply Amen! It is saving faith in the Lord Jesus that results in obedience to the will of the Object of that faith (according to light and grace realized). True faith is the cause of our justification before God; Holy Spirit enabled works the effect. But though if we rest on Christ for salvation we will be rightly motivated and empowered to continue in His Word (obeying Him as Lord through the Spirit), yet we cannot rest by a faith that has no works. The Lord Jesus stated what kind of faith saves: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:27, 28).
There is real no contradiction between the words of James and those of Paul, seeing it is the same Holy Spirit who inspired both. As Paul in Romans 4 and other places is in part responding to the idea that one can merit Heaven by their works according to The Law, so James is militating against the idea that some non-responsive, fruit-less faith can justify sinful man. But Paul is not saying that confessing "with thy mouth the Lord Jesus" (Rm. 10:9) is separate from confessing Christ as Lord by works, though upon the humble cry for mercy (which is actually "a work") and of faith in Christ one is justfied. Neither is James saying that we may place our confidence in our works to save us, though true works justify our faith and in fact sometimes the confession of faith in the Lord Jesus may be an action such as baptism.
Abraham, being "dead" and unable to perform that which would be necessary to fufil the prophecy, believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Rm. 4:3). Such faith, abasing man and exalting God, confessed Abraham's own dead and sinful condition and that God was both Almighty-able, faithful and true, that what "He had promised, he was able also to perform" (Rm. 4:21). And because Abraham believed, so he obeyed, and his obedience in offering Isaac his son upon the altar is as much (and typically more) a confession of faith than any sinners prayer offered at an altar. So likewise, Romans 4 is showing that unto us righteousness "shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead" (Rm. 4:24). If we realize our own needy condition as sinners before an infinitely holy and perfectly just God, but humbly confess true faith in the power, unmerited mercy and grace of God manifested in Christ crucified and risen to glory (which obeying Rom. 10:9 does in essence), then we find mercy grace and pardon from God and to His glory. Praise the Lord. And like Abraham, we will confess "Jesus is Lord" not simply by a heart cry or verbal prayer, but in "body language." The Lord Jesus stated what kind of faith saves: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:27, 28).
All in all, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, but not by a faith which is alone. And we should be Scripturally alarmed if our life is overall contrary to practicing righteousness, which First John in particular deals with, yet it is only by faith in the Biblical God, in the manifest nature and character of God in Christ, that we can be secure and follow Him:
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rm. 5:1).
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42).
"But showed first unto them ... that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance" (Acts 20:20.
"ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein" (Acts 14:15).
".. how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God." ".. when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe" (1Thes. 1:9; 2:13).
"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom 8:13, 14).
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently" (1Peter 1:22).
Both Scripture and personal testimony bear witness that there is a clear and eternal difference between those "born after the Sprit" through repentance and faith directly in Christ (proving they continue in His Word), and those "born after the flesh" (Gal. 4:29) who in any way rely on mere men their organizations and or their own (supposed) merit and Among other aspects, the realization of a true realtionship with the Living God, holy spiritual liberty in holy worship and evangelical zeal, both spontaneous as well as formal, cannot be much realized by those who are in systems in which souls typically find essential security in men and their organization. However, depending on the degree the Biblical gospel of grace is preached, relative few see beyond the trappings of religion to personally lay hold on Christ for salvation.
Rome is not alone in promoting and requiring implicit trust and dependance on themselves in helping their adherents merit eternal life. Cults in general, from the Watchtower Society (so-called "Jehovah's Witnesses") to the the Mormon church to Jim Jones of the Peoples Temple, tend , promote the same, to varying but strong degrees. And like them, Rome, taking a few versus out of context, seeks to substantiate her complicated system by which Her adherents are supposedly enabled to merit Heaven.
The Roman apologist may also have at his disposal a some official pronouncements that excude all but Catholics from eternal life, while still others hold muslims and people of other religions have a place within, or perhaps on the outskirts, of the kingdom of God. Some starements seem suggest an understanding of grace like that of what I have articulated here, that a "said faith" is not necessarily a "saving faith," but true faith will be manifest in a Spirit led life obeying the Word of God. What is the popular effect of Catholic teaching? The answer of a Catholic to the question "If you died today, and God asked you, 'Why should I let you into MY Heaven?' is typically, "Because I'm a good person," and or. "Because I am a good Catholic," or like similar statements. One faithful Catholic said, "The Catholic church is my lawyer." Such confidence in ones merit, and or that of ones church, no matter how much they claim to also depend on the mercy of God, is exactly what the numerous texts which declare we are not saved by works militate against.
The objection of Rome to the Holy Spirit's teaching that we are saved "by grace thru by faith" is that it promotes sin (all the while promoting confession which enables many catholics to continue on in sin after being given some perfunctory "penance" to say or do). Yet far from promoting sin, true faith, only the truly saved soul, having freely received "so great a salvation' to meet so great and desperate a need at so great a price by "the Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13), is both rightly inspired and enabled to yield a great response out a pure motive - to glorify God with his works, rather than save himself by them! In contrast, presuming man can satisfy either the demands for holiness or justice on the basis of his own merit actually works to bring man to serve God out of self - interest, rather than out of love for Who God is, and in gratitude for His sacrificial grace in the light of His holy justice. That "born again" souls in at least western evangelical churches (though typically far more conservation in promoting Biblical values and believing literal Biblical truths such as a real devil and hell than their typical Catholic counterparts), often show a distressful tolerance for sin, it can easily be
Therefore the Word of the Lord makes it clear that those who die hoping to justify themselves by their own works - or who assume a fruit-less type of faith will save them -will wake in Hell, to their own eternal horror, even while the redeemed rejoice forever in glory with God (2Thessalonians 1:8 -10). Having essentially misconstrued the holy and just character of Almighty God, He shall in turn "shall despise their image (Ps.73:20). Seeking to establish their worthiness of Heaven by reciting their "many wonderful works," the Judge of all men (the Lord Jesus) shall declare, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:22, 23).
The Bible makes it exceedingly clear, that as "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all," "neither shall evil dwell with thee" (1John 1:5; Psalms 5:4), "there shall in no wise enter into it (God's Holy City) any thing that defileth (spiritually unclean, sinful) neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Revelation 21:27). And as the Lord Jesus declared that "from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man" (Mark 7:21-23), then it is no wonder then that the prophet Isaiah states "we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), and thus all need to be saved.
Therefore since the Lord shows us that as we can never earn Heaven nor satisfactorily pay for our sins (for "without shedding of [innocent] blood there is no remission:" Hebrews 9:22), we must look directly to His Son to save us. For it was this Jesus that was revealed as "GOD manifest in the flesh" (1Tim.3:16). Who, being both Almighty and sinless, "went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for GOD was with Him." And after doing everything right ("Who did no sin"') it is He who became "sin for us," bearing in His own body our sins on the cross of His death and rising from the dead as present Saviour and future Judge. So that all those who turn to Him from sin, placing all their faith on Him for salvation (and casting away all other hope) are washed from their sins at that moment by His precious, sinless blood, declared righteous in God's holy sight, and made alive by His Holy Spirit (2Corinthians 5:21; 1Peter 2:22, 24; Acts 15:8, 9). And in responsive yielding to His Holy Spirit they obey His Word as "new creatures in Christ," "accepted in the Beloved" even as their "conversation (lifestyle + citizenship) is in Heaven (2Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:6; Philippians 3:21).
"So great salvation" (Heb. 2:3) can neither be merited, including by any real or imagined powers of a church, nor gained by proxy. Rather, as God commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30, salvation is only theirs who personally respond to the call of God and surrender in faith to Christ. And as all our sins were fully paid for by Christ when He cried, "It is finished" (John 19:30), it cannot and must not be supposed that we or a church can do works of atonement (payment or expiation, reparation = penance) toward God for the remission our sins. To do any such things is to be guilty of adding to the Word of God, which souls shall receive the penalty written therein (Revelation 22:18)!
"And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Heb. 10:11-14).
This "sacrament" (a means by which God dispenses grace) is the preeminent practice for most Catholics, and will be dealt with in more detail here. Millions daily and weekly go to Catholic altars to receive a wafer that they are told is Jesus Christ Himself under the appearance of ordinary bread (as an altar boy held a golden plate under the chin of the communicants lest He should fall to the ground if dropped).
The texts Catholic theologians use to substantiate this doctrine are found in the last supper accounts of the Bible as well as John chapter 6. In the first instance we read "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:26-29).
Believing that this discourse is speaking about the Lord's supper, Romanist teach that Jesus is referring to His actual physical body being eaten by the 11disciples (Judas, the devil, had to leave first): That Jesus - in some mysterious way - actually gave them His real flesh and His real blood under the appearance of normal (unleavened) bread and wine, which they were to totally consume. The Roman church not only believes this but also that Her priests have the power to actually consecrate that piece of bread and a cup of wine so that the Lord Himself, "flesh and blood, soul and Divinity" actually becomes present in the wafer (host) of bread and wine that they are to totally consume. This change of substance is called by them transubstantiation, and it is the highlight of the Catholic ritual called the Mass.
If such a thing were true, if the Lord Jesus actually taught this, we should have no problem; however, as we examine these texts in the light of the whole Bible - as we must - we see enormous problems.
First among these is the indisputable fact that Jews - which the disciples were - were strictly forbidden to never eat blood under penalty of being "cut off" from among his people, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood." (Leviticus 17:11,12). And as we know that the disciples were slow of heart to comprehend spiritual truths, how could they unquestionably submit to both eating their Lord's flesh and drinking His blood? Indeed, Peter was strongly opposed to Jesus even washing his feet (John 13:3-19) , never mind eating Him! Furthermore we see incontrovertible evidence that as late as Acts 10, when faced with a command to eat non-kosher food (the eating-drinking of blood being the most extreme case of such), Peter could say "Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean" (verse 14). Peter was not even enlightened to the dietary provisions of the New Covenant, let alone some mysterious doctrine of "transubstantiation." Therefore the last supper accounts are far better understood in the light of the consistent use of symbolic language that was common to the Jews, especially in the area of eating. "Thy words were found, and I did eat them" cried the Jewish prophet Jeremiah (15:16). The apostle John asked the angel "Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up" (Revelation 10:9). A quick look at a concordance will reveal numerous examples of the use of symbolic language in both the area of eating as well as other things for revelatory purposes. The only other understanding therefore of the last supper accounts which is consistent with the rest of the Bible is that Jesus was using the bread and wine as representations of Himself, much like one could hold up a photograph today saying, "This is me" (the Lord also could have use words that would have meant "this is turned into or transformed into me," but He did not).
And as in Jewish culture the sharing of a meal together signified oneness with each other (hence the command not to eat with fornicators, etc.: 1Corinthians 5:11), their and our partaking of it declares that we are one with Him: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ" (1Corinthians 10:16)? This verse, which the Roman church also seeks to take out of context in their attempt to substantiate transubstantiation, make itself clear in context that it is speaking about "sharing" in the sense of identifying themselves as one with who the symbol represents."For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread "Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar" (1Corinthians 10:17, 18)? The Israelites did not think they were eating the altar, but were identifying themselves with the God of Israel to whom the sacrifices were offered. And as we see in verse 17, the corporate body of Christ is called bread, but we do not expect souls to physically consume us!
Keeping the use of symbols in mind will enable us to understand the only other explicit reference to the Lord's supper, that of 1Corinthians 11:17-30. In which we read (after reiterating part of Luke 22:19,20), "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep" (verses 26-30). It is the latter part, "not discerning the Lord's body" that has caught the attention of Roman Catholic apologists seeking to prove the coporealistic doctrine of " transubstantiation". However, as we again look at such a text in context, we see that the problem at hand was that the Corinthians - who were noted for their carnality - were commemorating the Lord's completely unselfish, sacrificial death of Himself for our and their sins in a completely selfish manner, eating and drinking themselves drunk (in the "love-feast" that was part of the Lord's supper), while others in the same body went hungry! As the Holy Spirit goes on to establish in the next chapter, the church as the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18), has "many members," composed together by God in such a way (some more healthy, wealthy and wise than others) so that all "the members should have the same care one for another" (12:24,25). The Corinthian's sin of " not discerning the Lord's body" was their manifest failure to do just that - treat their fellow "members" as they would their own bodies, instead of as if they were enemies.The result was severe chastisement - even unto death. If every true believer would "so examine himself" and get right with God before taking partaking of the Lord's supper, then what a great transformation would take place among us! The only Biblical doctrine of "transubstantiation" is that of a wholly spiritual sense, in which we decrease thru surrender and consecration to and dependence upon Christ (according to our faith) and thus He increases by displacing us. [It is in so obediently and continually yielding in faith to the Lord in obeying His Word (looking to Christ who we are to follow rather than being anxiously focused on the work, in confident faith for Him to do the work thru us) that we will bear much fruit from the vine (Jn.3:30; 14:10; 15; 2Cor. 1:9; 4:7; 13:4; Gal.2:20; Phil.2:12,13: 3:1,2 Col.1:29; 1Pt.1:22). In so doing we are enabled to "Feed the flock of God" with His truth, the bread of life, as well as call the lost world to "hear the Word of the Gospel and believe" (1Pt.5:1,2; Acts 15:7).] In contrast, a far more radical transformation, and one with ultimately serious difficulties, is Rome's desire to turn Jesus into bread. For in becoming flesh thru His humble incarnation on earth, Christ limited Himself to being in one place at one time. If then He was present both in the apostles bodies at the same time that He was present before them, then it appears we have an hybrid incarnation, replete with it's own contortionist theological implications..
Before proceeding further, it should be more clearly stated that in interpreting difficult passages of Scripture, it is especially important we be mindful of proven principles of interpretation (considering the immediate and larger contexts, literary forms, grammatical meanings, historical and cultural aspects, etc.); all of which are a implicit necessity. That, but above all, receiving the Bible with all reverence "not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe" (2Thes.2:13) - with a heart to obey whatsoever He commandeth - will enable the born again believer to discern ever more clearly not only the main and and plain things of Holy Scripture, but also those texts which deceitful and ignorant souls misconstrue in an attempt to force the God's Word to fit into their own heretical doctrines.
Keeping the above in mind, we come to the only other passages that might seem to speak of the Lord's supper and substantiate Rome's doctrine of such (the Roman Catholic Eucharist), that of John chapter 6. As the gospel of John uses more figurative language than any of the other gospels, it is especially critical that we do not read this chapter in isolation, as a careful examination of John chapter 6 reveals that it continues the symbolic use of words as found especially in John, and the comparison of extremes and qualities. Please be a good "Berean" (Acts 17:11) and read at least the entire chapter as I will deal only with the most pertinent texts in this (hopefully) short treatise, having done a more lengthy study in a separate work.
The immediate context in John 6 is that Jesus, having miraculously fed over 5.00 souls with physical bread, is confronted the next morning with certain disciples looking for breakfast. He rebukes their carnal motive, instructing them not to work for such temporal food, "but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed" (V.27). This begins a discourse in which the Lord contrasts the temporal manna of Moses day with the bread which comes down from Heaven, which is Him. In so doing He describes the quality of this bread, it's source, it's identity, and the means of receiving this "bread." The Lord's metaphorical use of the words bread, eating and drinking in relation to Himself and spiritual nourishment resulted in the breakfast-minded disciples being offended at such sayings, as they knew Jesus only "after the flesh" (2Cor.5:16). The Lord's continuing discourse along that line - with it's own built in interpretation - only served to increase their disenchantment with Him. For as elsewhere in John, those who sought that which is below could not receive the things from above - as stated in Christ's further revelation that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (2Cor.2:14). The height both of the Lord's use of such obvious allegories and of their offense is seen in v. 51 and following: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living (Jn. 6:51-69).
Taken at surface value, it might appear at first i(n versus 51- to 56) that the Lord is advocating some sort of cannibalism, but as we interpret the Word of God here in the light of the whole Word of God it becomes obvious that the Lord had a much more spiritual application here, that of receiving His Word.
The reasons for this are thus:
1. The allegorical and juxtapositional character of this chapter, consistent with John as a whole as described before, in which physical things are used as representative of spiritual realities (I am the door," "I am the true vine," I am that bread of life," etc.:Jn.10:9; 15:1; 6:48); in which things of two extremes, qualities and realms are contrasted with each other (light versus darkness, that which is above versus that which is below, Heavenly vs. earthly, that which is eternal vs. that which is temporal, etc). Such a literary form militates against the Holy Spirit in John using something physically injested as food for spiritual life. In this chapter we see the temporal, earthly manna and water of of Moses time (Ex. 16: 17:1-7) contrasted with the spiritual bread of God "which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world" (Jn.6:33).
To make the bread from Heaven (Jesus) physical bread (even if it had spiritual qualities) to be physically injested is entirely inconsistent with John in His other allegories of the means of receiving eternal life, etc. Instead, it is far more consistent to see a different species of bread, one that is spiritual (as Christ is the antitype of the Lamb that was eaten by Israel in the Old Testament), and the means of receiving such to be likewise spiritual (see point # 3). And as stated before concerning the Lord's supper statements, to have Jewish disciples (who knew how to ask questions and express their opinions) unquestionably submit to actually eating their own Lord's flesh, and especially His blood without radical enlightenment (of which type would have came in like - evident manner as other major revelations after the resurrection) is literally in - credible.
2. As mentioned before, the metaphorical use of the word "eating" is applied in other places of the Bible:Joshua and Caleb exhorting their faithless brethren to go into the promised land: "Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us..:" Nu 14:9. And in relation to the Word of God, the Jewish prophet Jeremiah cried "Thy words were found, and I did eat them" (15:16). The apostle John who penned the fourth gospel asked the angel in Revelation 10:9, "Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up;" all of which reveals a clear and consistent allegorical usage of food which fits in typical harmony in John, Using similar typology the Words of the crucified and risen Lord are equated to nourishing flesh and blood and our believing/receiving that word to eating of the same. While the eating of this bread "which came down from Heaven" is the initial allegory the Lord uses in contrasting the temporal Manna of Moses day (Exodus 16; and in which Testament physical examples such as the tabernacle, etc., were shadows of the spiritual realities to come: Heb. 9:24,etc.) the drinking of Christ's blood subsequently referred to in v. 53 relates to the water given by God (Exodus 17) to the Israelites who knew they would die without it , and likewise typifies the Word of God which satisfies the soul which hungers and thirsts for righteousness (Mat.5:6; Eph.5:26). Spiritual hunger and thirst can only be satisfied by spiritual meat and drink received by spiritual means. Thus to the woman at the well Christ revealed Himself as the "living water,." in contrast to the physical water she was used to. The similarity between the two is obvious, as is the spiritual means of receiving. John 4:13, 14: "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: . But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Now John 6:35, 36: "He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not." The woman at the well not offered the Lord's supper, but experienced an evident conversion, while the Jews who are addressed in John 6 (who looked for physical bread) are reproved for not believing in Christ, that being the means of receiving the true bread."
Christ is that living water, which the woman, having believed on him drank of, while the unbelieving Jews went on their way seeking to satisfy the spiritual with that which is physical.
The allegorical use of the word blood is also revealed in the story of King David and the well at Bethlehem: "And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate! And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the Lord, And said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? for with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest" (1Chr.11:17:-19). Here the King equates the thing obtained at the risk of his mighty mens lives as that of their blood itself.
consistent with other descriptions of how man is to live ("man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceed Eth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live" (.Dt. 8:3; Mat. 4:4; Lk. 4:4), in Jn. 6: the Lord consistently uses the words believe and eat interchangeably for receiving eternal life (see vs. 28,29, ,36; 47-50), which is entirely consistent with the means by which we receive eternal life in the rest of the Bible, and especially in John.
4. Jesus clearly tells us that just as He "lives" "by the Father" so are we to live by Him: "As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me" (Jn.6:57). How did Jesus live by the Father? As He said " It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" Mat. 4:4), and " My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work" (Jn. 4:34). And so the Lord declares "the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day" (v.40). The eating and drinking of verse 53 which is necessary for life, is, as elsewhere in John, believing the Word of the Gospel.
The preceeding interpretation is confirmed by Jesus own built in interpretation in His discourse on the living bread. v. 61 "When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 6:63 It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God."
Here it is stated explicitly by the Lord that " the flesh profiteth nothing: THE WORDS that I speak unto you, THEY ARE SPIRIT, AND THEY ARE LIFE." Peter and company "ate and drank the Lord by the only way that is found to be consistent both with that which is found internally in the Gospel of John " we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God!"
Further proof that the eating and drinking referred to here is that of spiritually receiving Christ's words (as one might receive food and drink) is that which especially relates to the Roman church's principal verse: "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (v. 53)." What saith the Scriptures on this subject? How does one get life in oneself and the Gift of Eternal Life? Along with who God is and what He did, nothing in the Bible needs to be clearer than this (which essentially reveals the former): "And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" (Acts 10:42-47). "Whe