Was Christ's sacrafice sufficient


#1

I have often heard Protestants say that because of who Christ is and what he did, his sacrafice was all that was needed for all believers to enter the Kingdom of heaven. And without a deep look at Scripture, the argument on the surface sounds convincing. Christ, being God incarnate, sacraficed himself for our sins, and no other act can equate that act therefore Christ act was the only sacrafice needed to overcome death. The problem for Protestants is Scripture and Tradition do not lead to this conclusion. Works of the Spirit do have value, or else why would there be a last judgement. If the protestant interpretation was correct, and the only thing neccessary is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, then Christ’s words when he said that when he comes back he will say when I was naked, you clothed me, when I was hungry, you fed me, when I was sick, you cared for me, etc… These are all acts of mercy and require a submission of ones will with the Spirit and a mending of wills with Gods will for each person. Just believing is not sufficient. Christ’s sacraficial act gave our sacrafices value and gave our sufferings value. We must do, in order to be saved, or else why would Christ say these things. The Catholic Church teaches that when Christ and Paul condemn works they were condemning works of the law that the Jews had strapped to the law, washing your hands 300 times a day, these types of works, such as fasting and looking gaunt and sick so everyone can tell you are fasting. That is not what Christ meant by works of the Spirit. What he meant is what he said he would say on judgement day.

Also I can tell you that there have been times in my life when my faith in Christ was manifesting itself by works of the Spirit and I was really submitting my will to God. Then, my wife got addicted to drugs, and I got addicted to pain killers and started using street drugs and fell away from my faith. I assure that if I had died in that time of my life I would not have been saved, because through my works and acts I had rejecyed God and his laws. Yet I can also Assure you that If I die today I will be saved. This is the only way the verse “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” can be explained. If salvation is assured from the time I first procalimed my faith and really believed in Christ, then why would I need to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. Why was Abraham Justified more than once. Why does James say that Faith without works is dead, and Paul never says by Faith Alone.


#2

The " Faith vs. Works" argument has gone on for ages. I agree the answer is both. It is refreshing to watch Marcus Grodi and his coming home shows that feature Protestant ministers that came home to the Catholic Church.

Deacon Tony SFO


#3

The the fact that Christ’s sacrifice is “sufficient” is an entirely different point from how the merit of that sacrifice is to be applied in our lives. Catholics believe that the sacrifice is “sufficient.”

The Protestant position derives ultimately from the view that man is totally depraved and therefore can play no part in the dynamic of his own salvation. Catholics believe that man is fatally wounded in the fall but that a remnant of free will remains which enables him to respond to the love of God, to recognize the sacrifice of Christ, to “make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ” (Col. 1:24), to work out his salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).

Since without free will there can be no love, and Christ commands us to love, I find the Protestant view unsatisfying (not to say impossible), although when a thoughtful Protestant draws out the case step-by-step, there is a kind of logic to it – which is why the idea has such tenacity.


#4

[quote=mercygate].“make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ” (Col. 1:24), to work out his salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).
[/quote]

I know that many people have a difficult time with this concept, and with the verses quoted above. What could possibly be lacking in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice?

The answer – Nothing! But, Christ is the Head of the Church, and we are the Body; He (the Head) has completed His sacrifice, but we (the Body) must be willing to take up our crosses, follow Him, and sacrifice and suffer for others just as He did.

Mother Teresa used to tell her sisters “Love until it hurts. It hurt Jesus to love us.”

Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 12:26: “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

Also Romans 8:17: “If we are children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”

Phil. 1:29: “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake.”

For those who don’t believe that we are called to sacrifice and to do good works, just look up the words – “sacrifice, cross, burden, suffer” in any concordance and you will be astounded by the number of verses and the beauty of those verses.

As Christians, or “little Christs” we are called to be like Him in all things, including His charity, forgiveness, mercy, kindness, AND suffering.


#5

[quote=Didi]I know that many people have a difficult time with this concept, and with the verses quoted above. What could possibly be lacking in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice?

The answer – Nothing!
[/quote]

:clapping: Beautiful summary, Didi!


#6

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church …
Col. 1:24


#7

[quote=fulloftruth]I have often heard Protestants say that because of who Christ is and what he did, his sacrafice was all that was needed for all believers to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
[/quote]

I think that even Protestants agree that some human action is required: they would say that we must personally accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. That is a human action of the mind and will, and apparently necessary for salvation.

For if Christ’s sacrifice were entirely sufficient, there would be no human action at all required on our part, and all humanity would be saved simply by Christ’s sacrifice and His salvific will. There would be no need for altar calls, sinners prayers, repentance, good works–nothing except the action of Christ.


#8

There is certainly NOTHING lacking in Christ’s sacrifice. For he indeed atoned for the sins of the world. But does his death in and of itself save anyone? If it does, then what need of faith? And the works of faith, such as penance and baptism?

                                 This is the folly of those who would say, "well Christ died for us and we are saved by God's grace, so there is nothing for man to do." But is this what St Peter and St Paul said? Acts 2;38 and Acts 17:31. No the sinner MUST do something to receive the BENIFITS of the sacrifice of Christ. The death of Christ was and is not automactic or else the whole world would be saved without any response on their part.

#9

“Faith alone” is the most complicated, lawyer-like idea I ever heard. These expressions do nothing to serve the Protestant cause except keep them Protestant.

Was “faith alone” initially a reaction to indulgence abuse? Or maybe “works alone” Catholics (we all know some).

What do non-Christians think of “faith alone”? Seems that all the non-Christian religions I ever heard of believe in taking care of each other. “Faith alone” at face value implies “every man for himself”.

ps-
Don’t even get me started on “once saved always saved”.


#10

Okay fellow Catholics, tell me if I am off-base here. My answer to the initial question is, “sufficient for what?”

I ask this quesiton to bring out the following point. I think Christ’s salvific work accomplished the following things.

  1. Jesus, through the merits of His suffering and death, re-established the order of Grace. That is to say, He enabled us to again become children of God. Mankind could again share in divine life (sanctifying grace). This happens now through Baptism.

  2. Jesus gave us His Spirit to guide us, help us, bless us along the way toward our eternal home.

  3. Jesus gave us the sacraments, through which we receive additional graces not otherwise attainable. (including reconciliation through which we receive forgiveness)

But Paul’s statement, quoted in an earlier post ("…what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ…") indicates there is more that needs to be done for the remission of our personal sins.

My understanding of Protestantism is that many believe Jesus also wiped away any temporal punishment due our personal sins. This, I think, is a misunderstanding of what Jesus accomplished. The Catholic understanding doesn’t diminish in any way the glory of what Jesus accomplished, but we realize we will still be held responsible for our personal sins.

Anyone see a conflict with my understanding and the theology of the Catholic Church?


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