How do I answer this question? I have had non-catholic christians ask me why I think Jesus’ death on the cross isn’t enough for our sins being forgiven and our promised salvation. They basically are in the OSAS/Sola Fide/Sola Scripture camps I guess. Thanks in advance.
Why must I suffer consequences for my sins if Christ died for them?
There is a difference between sins and the consequences for them . Take the Fall. Because of it, things like disease came into the world. Christ died for our sins, but why do we still get diseases?
The short answer is that Christ died so our sin could be forgiven.
Why is faith necessary for salvation? Isn’t Jesus’ death on the cross enough?
If Jesus’ death on the cross was fully sufficient, EVERYONE would go to Heaven.
Definitely an OSAS question. What they will ask next will be about Catholics working their way to Heaven. What they believe is that we think we can work our way to Heaven. Try approaching it from this direction. Explain to them that we do not believe we must “work our way to Heaven” (use that phrase) Rather we believe that any person can freely receive the “gift of eternal life” (again, use that phrase) but that the gift can be squandered away by not returning the gift of good works back to God. Wasting a gift does not mean you never received it. What they believe is that effectively wasting the gift of eternal life (lack of works) illustrates that you never really had the gift in the first place. It has the same ultimate result (eternal suffering) it’s that our belief does more to encourage good works which makes them nervous.
IMHO, this whole disupte began in ernest with Martin Luther who convinced many that their individual sin(s) were not their fault, and they could shift the burden of dealing with their sins to God Himself.
This is described in Philip Hughes’ A Popular History of the Catholic Church, (McMillian, 1962, pg 175-6). “Like many a hundred others of his time, Luther was friar who should never have been a friar, and under the surface of his over-busy monastic life lay unfathomable deeps of anxiety, fruit of the endless struggle to keep his vows and of the difficulty of remaining God’s intimate and friend…His knowledge of theology was superficial in the extreme. His only guides were the scolastics of the decay, Nominalist in tendency, and, in fact, convinced of the impossiblility of any synthesis of reason and faith. From these baren resources Luther turned to Holy Scripture and St. Augustine and gradually fashioned a way out of his difficulties. Man’s sins-the illuminating discovery assures him-are not man’s fault. They need not, do not, form a barrier between God and his own soul. They are due to an essential, all-embracing corruption of his nature which is the consequence of Adam’s sin. Not only can man not help sinning, he cannot even do good though he wishes it. His actions must be sinful, though it is not his fault that they are so. From the penalties due in justice for this mass of sinfulness, man is saved by God’s grace, and the condition of his receiving God’s grace is Faith, i.e., that man shall believe God wills to save him and shall put his confidence therein. Such is the revolutionary theory known technically as Justification by Faith Alone. If it is true then the the whole traditional structure of Christianity is a needless, empty show…Nay, these things are a hinderance, an enormous sham, a terrible system of lies, and therefore to be utterly swept away and destroyed.”
And after Luther spoke out, additional “reformers”, actually rebels who thought Luther too Catholic, took his line of thinking even further until we arrive at the dangerous notion that a “true believer” in Jesus, even though he commits an act which is sinful and damming for others, does not suffer the consequence of his sin, God takes care of it for him, man cannot do anything, so doesn’t need to try. I have heard some preachers teach that if a believer falls into sin, such as adultry he risks being killed by God and taken to heaven to keep the man from further sin. What a nonsensical notion that has become.
So the Son of God’s instruction of “Go and sin no more”, and “Come and follow me”, in the extreme becomes make an assent of faith in me at some point in your life, and I’ll do all the rest for you.
Finally, it was Luther in the summer of 1518 who first reported “The true church is invisible”. Since then, each further dividing branch of the “protestant tree” goes even further from the truth held by believers for all those 1,500 years.
Basically, the answer is because Christ wants us, as members of His body, to co-operate in His saving actions. We, through offering our suffering, can join in His suffering for the betterment of the Church. don’t forget about what St. Paul said in Colossians 1
23 If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister.
24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church:
As for forgiveness of our sins, Christ Himself told us to confess our sins and told the Apostles, and likewise their successors, that whoever’s sins they forgive are forgiven, and whoever’s sins they hold bound are held bound. Now, Christ didn’t say things just to hear Himself talk, so obviously He truly meant what He said here.
To not understand this is to not understand the very basics of God’s plan for the redemption and salvation of the world.
In so many cases, where God is at work he invites us to join in that work. Thus the union of man and woman to produce new life destined for heaven. Thus the priesthood and the Sacrifice of the Mass. Thus our creative and intellectual abilities to alter our world for the better. Thus our cooperation in our own salvation, and our work to gain the salvation of others. Thus the communion of saints, also striving to gain the salvation of others.
God could do it all alone, but because he is Love, he calls us to join with him in his saving work. This is a tremendous gift that he gives us.
When this is asked, refer the questioner to the Apostle Paul (who, presumably, they will admit is more of an expert than they are). “For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor. 5:7-8)
Note for the questioner that Paul does not say “Christ has been sacrificed. Therefore it’s finished, it’s all done, there’s nothing else to do, Halleluja, His bloodshed/sacrifice was enough!”
Why didn’t he say that? Because, as harsh as this sounds, His bloodshed/sacrifice wasn’t enough. (Keep in mind, it could have been. God could have willed that His sacrifice would be enough for the entirety of the world to be saved. He could have even willed it that we had never fallen. But He didn’t.) There’s more to be done. We have to keep the feast.
(Oh, and when they ask about this feast that we’re to keep, it’s the Passover–which is celebrated even to this day in its fulfillment in the Eucharist. That’ll give them something to think about.)
God only knows believers, so in that sense everyone who God knows will go to heaven.
KNOWS in the intimate sense, HE obviously is omniscient and therefore know every thing and body. But scripture says He only knows us believers intimately.
I would respond, “Of course Jesus’ sacrifice is enough for our sins being forgiven. However, according to the Bible, my response in faith must include the good works that accompany faith, or I will not be saved, DESPITE what Jesus did.”
From Scott Hahn’s Fourth Cup - read it all HERE!
*Well, go back to the Old Testament, to the book of Exodus. Suppose that night as head of my household and father, I sacrificed an unblemished lamb with no broken bones, and I sprinkled his blood on the door post, and then I said, "Family, we’re safe, let’s go to bed’, and we went to bed. I’d wake up in the morning to tragedy. My firstborn would be dead. Why? You had to eat the lamb. It isn’t enough to kill him. That is the satisfaction for sin, but the ultimate goal of sacrifice is not blood and gore and God making sure He sees the death. The ultimate goal is to restore communion, to have fellowship with God restored. And that’s what’s signified by eating the lamb. Who shares a common meal? Family. What is this a sign of? Covenant. And what is a covenant? A sacred family bond. In the Old Testament any family that sacrificed a lamb and sprinkled the blood had to eat the lamb. It wasn’t enough to say, ‘Well we don’t like lamb do we, kids? Why don’t we make lamb cookies? Little lamb wafers that symbolize the lamb? We’ll eat those and those’ll be enough, right? Symbolic presence of the lamb, and all that?’ No, you’d wake up and you’d be dead. You ate the lamb and you burned what was left. But you ate the lamb to reestablish and restore communion with your heavenly Father through His firstborn Son and Lamb.
That’s the way it was in the Old Testament, and St. Paul recognizes that it’s still the way it is in the new covenant, only in spades, only with more glory. Why? Because Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. Once and for all on calvary he’s been put to death, therefore what? Therefore we’ve nothing to do. Just celebrate the sacrifice, which is over and done with. No, something’s missing. We need to eat the Lamb. We need to receive the Lamb to restore communion and to complete the sacrifice and to keep the feast. It’s proper, and we now judge it to be necessary. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, “Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed and now let us celebrate the feast.” And the next five chapters in many ways St. Paul describes how the Eucharist is to be celebrated, because it’s the culmination of the Passover sacrifice.
This is a true sacrifice. It’s an unbloody sacrifice, because we’re not killing Jesus again. This was something I never really understood as a Protestant anti-Catholic. I thought for sure that because you speak of sacrificing in the Mass, that therefore in some way you believe we’re killing Jesus again and again and again, as though one dying is not enough. So we just assumed and I always taught that there was suffering imposed upon Christ supposedly in the Mass. This is blasphemous because his one act of dying wasn’t enough and we had to continue to have him die and bleed and suffer, which is what the Mass is for. No way! That’s anti-Catholic. No Catholic can believe that because the sacrifice of the Mass involves no bleeding , no dying and no suffering of the person of Christ, who is enthroned in glory and reigning triumphant in heaven. He is resurrected. He is ascended. He is enthroned, and he rules as king of kings.
How is it that he’s enthroned? The New Testament answers that question in a very revealing way. At least it was revealing for me. I turned to the book of Revelation. In chapter 5:5-6 where John sees the scroll that is sealed seven times and he begins to cry because no body can break it open; no body can break open the seals to read the book. And the cry goes out, “Lo! The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David has conquered . the lion of the tribe of Judah is worthy to open up the seals to read the book.” The lion of the tribe of Judah; the root of David; the conquering king, right? So John turns to see the Lion of the tribe of Judah and you expect to see this great lion with a dazzling mane like in Narnia or something, some beautiful royal beast and instead he turns and what does he see? In verse 6 John says, “I saw a lamb standing there as though it had been slain.” The conquering king, the lion of the tribe of Judah , the root of David ruling and reigning in the new and glorified Jerusalem, up in heaven, and when you see him what’s he look like? A lamb, looking as though he’d been slain. Why? because Revelation 5, and then 6 and 7 and 8 all describe what St, John saw in spirit on the Lord’s Day up in heaven. And guess what? It’s what you see in the spirit on the Lord’s day down on earth. A Eucharistic liturgy. And the Lamb leads all of the saints and the angels and the people of God in this beautiful heavenly liturgy. *
Nice thought but I am confused. Why wouldn’t God know everybody ‘intimately’? Canyou connect the dots with some scripture please just to help me along with this?
If the Shepherd didn’t call, we wouldn’t know where to go.
If the Shepherd calls but we don’t come, we won’t get where we should be going.
I don’t believe that I’ve ever met anyone who truly and sincerely believes that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough–enough in the sense that absolutely nothing else is required. Nearly all would say that at least a confession of faith is required. That is, a human being must confess Faith in Jesus for his salvation to be effective. That confession of faith, though inspired by grace, is a human action. Not many believe that God forces belief or forces salvation on human beings.
If absolutely no human action is required, then of course, everyone alike would be saved: believers as well as non-believers, Buddhists, Muslims, and militant atheists, because Jesus’ sacrifice would be absolutely enough.
From these baren resources Luther turned to Holy Scripture and St. Augustine and gradually fashioned a way out of his difficulties. Man’s sins–the illuminating discovery assures him–are not man’s fault. They need not, do not, form a barrier between God and his own soul. They are due to an essential, all-embracing corruption of his nature which is the consequence of Adam’s sin. Not only can man not help sinning, he cannot even do good though he wishes it.
This quote explains a lot. I think that at the root of the OSAS belief is the giving up on sanctification. One decides that one simply cannot live according to Jesus’ commands: to try is to fail. God’s grace cannot even help keep one from sinning. The only escape is to say that it doesn’t matter. Having been saved by faith, future sins don’t matter.
The problem is that it goes against so much of what Jesus says that it is really spiritually dangerous to accept it.
Tell them that their right–sort of. Christ’s sacrifice was “enough”. That doesn’t, however, mean that we are absolved of having to say we’re sorry and seeking forgiveness from God through the priest who is acting in persona Christi (and/or directly in prayer depending on the severity of the sin).