What did Jesus save us from?


#1

In apologetic endeavors, I have a problem explaining (especially to Protestants of the OSAS idea)…

If a Christian can still sin, and it is counted against him as a sin: Jesus did not save us from sin.

If a Christian can commit “mortal sin” and still go to Hell: He didn’t save us from Hell.

So, in a Theology (Catholic) that believes that a Christian can still sin and go to Hell for it (like a Jew), what did Jesus save us from?

any thoughts?

Thanks.


#2

In my limited understanding, Jesus saved us from sin. We still sin (when we do this mortally we forfeit our salvation). Our salvation is not complete until our glorification in heaven.

Romans 8:28
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

It’s a process.


#3

[quote=verismo]In apologetic endeavors, I have a problem explaining (especially to Protestants of the OSAS idea)…

If a Christian can still sin, and it is counted against him as a sin: Jesus did not save us from sin.

If a Christian can commit “mortal sin” and still go to Hell: He didn’t save us from Hell.

So, in a Theology (Catholic) that believes that a Christian can still sin and go to Hell for it (like a Jew), what did Jesus save us from?

any thoughts?

Thanks.
[/quote]

These are “million-dollar questions”, and I can’t wait to see some replies.


#4

I think one way to look at is this:

Jesus saved us from being separated from God. In other words, He made union with God *possible. *

What do you think?
VC


#5

Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Prior to His coming, the Hebrews offered “insufficient” sacrifices. They still had a hardness of heart.

Jesus was the “unblemished male Lamb” and He absorbed the wrath of God for humanity. It is in this way that Jesus conquered sin (and He continually does through the offering at the Eucharist.) He did not conquer sin by eradicating free will.

Also the sin is only “counted against” a person if they fail to be repentant (or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.) Christ established the Church and told its first leader that whatever he bound on earth would be bound in heaven. A sin doesn’t count against you if you merely repent. That is how He conquered sin. We can be sure that He forgives us too, because He gave the keys to the Kingdom to the Church.

I can tell you from a subjective viewpoint that He continues to help His children conquer sin today through the sacraments. I have had my own moral difficulties, but through regular penance and reception of the Eucharist, I have seen a noticable reduction in my sinful behavior. He is helping me, today, to conquer sin, and it’s all because He died and gave me the gift of His Church before He sacrificed Himself for my sins. He continues to give me new life through the eternal sacrifice of the Eucharist.

I also consider it a favor that He did for me to ask me to confess to a priest because it makes me less likely to want to sin and have to face the same person with my shame!

Also, Christ did conquer hell for those who have the will not to go there. He gave us the Church and told us the gates of hell would not prevail against it. If hell cannot conquer His Church, and His Church is a hospital giving people the graces to not go to hell, then I fail to see how He didn’t conquer hell. It is conquered, but only for those who will not to go there.


#6

These are “million-dollar questions”, and I can’t wait to see some replies.

Here is the million dollar answer: :smiley:
We humans think far too much in terms of time and space, but that’s not the way God works. God is everywhere in every time all in a single moment.

When Jesus died on the cross, He was dying for ALL people and ALL their sins from the beginning of time to the end of it. True, none of us had been even conceived yet. Our great, great great grandparents hadn’t even been conceived yet. But still EVERY ONE OF US was on Jesus’ mind while He was dying on the cross. Even now, Jesus knows the sins that I haven’t even committed yet. He knows the ones I’ll be strong and overcome and the ones I’ll be weak and give into. When He was lashed, it was for all those stupid moments of mine.

This is another one of those “God doesn’t obey the laws of physics” moments that we have to try to wrap our brains around. We keep sinning, but all those sins have been accounted for and added another thorn in Jesus’ crown and another lash when He was scourged.

Now we don’t have to go to Hell, even though we all deserve it. We have the option of Heaven. We may go to purgatory to repent from our sins, but we will then go to Heaven. As for those who go to hell, it’s their choice. God saved them and offered them Heaven, but they chose hell.

So do I win a million dollars? Let’s see, after taxes that’s about… :twocents:


#7

[quote=MariaGorettiGrl]Here is the million dollar answer: :smiley:
We humans think far too much in terms of time and space, but that’s not the way God works. God is everywhere in every time all in a single moment.

When Jesus died on the cross, He was dying for ALL people and ALL their sins from the beginning of time to the end of it. True, none of us had been even conceived yet. Our great, great great grandparents hadn’t even been conceived yet. But still EVERY ONE OF US was on Jesus’ mind while He was dying on the cross. Even now, Jesus knows the sins that I haven’t even committed yet. He knows the ones I’ll be strong and overcome and the ones I’ll be weak and give into. When He was lashed, it was for all those stupid moments of mine.

This is another one of those “God doesn’t obey the laws of physics” moments that we have to try to wrap our brains around. We keep sinning, but all those sins have been accounted for and added another thorn in Jesus’ crown and another lash when He was scourged.

Now we don’t have to go to Hell, even though we all deserve it. We have the option of Heaven. We may go to purgatory to repent from our sins, but we will then go to Heaven. As for those who go to hell, it’s their choice. God saved them and offered them Heaven, but they chose hell.

So do I win a million dollars? Let’s see, after taxes that’s about… :twocents:
[/quote]

That’s a “standard” answer, and one that you’ll get from many people. I’m guessing that’s not what the original poster was asking, but I’ll give you the million anyway. I’ll have to owe you because I ain’t got it now. :wink:

I’m guessing, and if I’m wrong correct me verismo, that the orignal poster’s real question has to do with this: If one person goes to hell, did Jesus “fail?” Can He fail? If not, is it possible for ANYONE to end up in hell? If Jesus came to BE sin, how can WE sin? If we still have to follow the Law (as the Jews), what exactly did Jesus do for us? OK, OK, I know…we don’t have to worry about what happens if “my ox gores your ox”, but the 10 commandments are still very much a part of our lives. What’s different, except now we have MORE obligations placed on us by the Church? (Required Mass on Sundays & Holy Days, at least yearly Confession, etc). Just what exactly is it that’s DIFFERENT?

I may be way off on the original question, so don’t quote me on this. :slight_smile:

Mike


#8

[quote=verismo]In apologetic endeavors, I have a problem explaining (especially to Protestants of the OSAS idea)…

If a Christian can still sin, and it is counted against him as a sin: Jesus did not save us from sin.

If a Christian can commit “mortal sin” and still go to Hell: He didn’t save us from Hell.

So, in a Theology (Catholic) that believes that a Christian can still sin and go to Hell for it (like a Jew), what did Jesus save us from?

any thoughts?

Thanks.
[/quote]

This is what you seek to understand: In effect, the following occurred…

God knew in advance that flesh, attached to a decision-making intellect, was an incomplete entity, not desiring to do anything but feed itself in various ways, shapes and forms.

He knew that His Own “magical fairy dust,” so to speak – grace – was the necessary final ingredient, to generate a being capable of making the altruistic love decision in God’s favor.

But, there was a problem: God’s Own perfect justice.

In effect, God’s perfect justice says, “No! They don’t get it for nothing! No one gets anything for nothing! Some one has to pay for that grace which would elevate those disgusting pigs to a level where they can relate to Me as a friend! Somebody has to pay!”

The Second Person of the Divine Trinity raised His Hand, and said, “I will! I volunteer to pay!”

The First person of the Divine Trinity said, “I accept Your offer, and so, Son Whom I desperately love, I offer You up for torture and death, in their mortal form!”

And so, by an amazing act of love, God “made an end run” around His Own justice on our behalf, by paying the price Himself for the grace we need just to be His friend.

Because grace was “the necessary final ingredient,” the Gospel of John shows the waters of salvation, activated by the saving blood of Christ, coming out of the side of the New Testament Adam hanging on the cross, after Eve, the incompleted recipe, comes out of the side of the Old Testament Adam. Finally, creation was finished.

Without that grace, we’d all be helpless lunatics of evil, hopelessly enslaved to sin, with enthusiasm.

We are better than that, with grace.


#9

[quote=mhansen]That’s a “standard” answer, and one that you’ll get from many people. I’m guessing that’s not what the original poster was asking, but I’ll give you the million anyway. I’ll have to owe you because I ain’t got it now. :wink:

I’m guessing, and if I’m wrong correct me verismo, that the orignal poster’s real question has to do with this: If one person goes to hell, did Jesus “fail?” Can He fail? If not, is it possible for ANYONE to end up in hell? If Jesus came to BE sin, how can WE sin? If we still have to follow the Law (as the Jews), what exactly did Jesus do for us? OK, OK, I know…we don’t have to worry about what happens if “my ox gores your ox”, but the 10 commandments are still very much a part of our lives. What’s different, except now we have MORE obligations placed on us by the Church? (Required Mass on Sundays & Holy Days, at least yearly Confession, etc). Just what exactly is it that’s DIFFERENT?

I may be way off on the original question, so don’t quote me on this. :slight_smile:

Mike
[/quote]

If one person goes to hell, Jesus did not fail. He didn’t ever say, “Okay, I’m here, do whatever you want, but since I came you will go to heaven.” There’s moral relativism in a box; unless Christ was a moral relativist (and I’d like to see anyone defend that claim), he doesn’t “fail” if someone goes to hell. That person fails. What the heck was the point of His teachings on any morals if He was going to blanketly let anyone into Heaven?

If you read Scripture carefully, it makes the claim that His sacrifice was sufficient for all; but in reality only efficacious for the many.

For instance: Matt 26:28 “for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for MANY for forgiveness of sins.”

I think your conception of the eradication of sin is actually a conception of the eradication of free will. The manner in which you are conceptualizing it, goes something like this, “The only way Jesus conquers sin is if we can sin no more.” That essentially makes men robots, and if God had wanted robots, He probably would have kept Adam and Eve from sinning in the first place.

Sin is eradicated for those who WILL it through Christs sacrifice.

One could probably write a book on the things which Christ did for us outside of the Levitical and Mosaic Law, but here are just a few off the top of my head:

  1. He instituted the Eucharist in place of animal sacrifice.
  2. He made the true Church available for all nations not just Jews(which God tells us He will do throughout the OT)
  3. The Golden Rule
  4. Disallowed divorce and polygamy (fulfillment of the Law)
  5. Disallowed lust (fulfillment of the Law)
  6. Defined human dignity (Whatever you’ve done unto the least of my brethren you’ve done unto me: again, fulfillment of the Law)
  7. Made Himself the unblemished male Lamb sacrifice (as was precursored in the OT)
  8. Unified the day of atonement with the passover through the institution of the Eucharist.

Anyway, you may think these are more “rules” but it is exactly what was expected of the Messiah. Someone who would fulfill the Law. Is it harder for sinners, yes. But that is why it is called fulfillment.


#10

After the Fall, the devil acquired a dominion over mankind, and we all became ensnared in the bondage of sin. Jesus came to set a fallen race free from that bondage. Without God’s gift of grace, we are incapable of living lives that are wholly pleasing to God.**Catechism of the Catholic Church

407** The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man’s situation and activity in the world. By our first parents’ sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails “captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil”.

1741 By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. “For freedom Christ has set us free.” The Catholic understanding of freedom in Christ is the opposite of the Protestant fundamentalists that believe in the antinomian version of the OSAS.

Catholics believe that Christ has set us free from sin so that we can live holy lives pleasing to God, so that we can love God perfectly. The antinomian heretics believe that there is no sin that a “saved” man could commit that would bring about damnation – no sin, not even unrepentant mortal sin. The “saved” man could backslide and live the life of a filthy, unrepentant serial killer that hated God and worshipped Satan, and then when he died in his unrepentance – bammo, straight to heaven. That’s right, because he once made a sincere altar call when he was nine years old and got “saved”, he can go staight to heaven as a fifty year old, unrepentant, God hating, Satan worshipper that died screaming blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. :rolleyes:

What is the difference between the Catholic understanding of salvation and the understanding of the antinomian Protestant heretics? Catholics believe that freedom in Christ is freedom from the bondage of sin. The antinomian fundamentalists believe that freedom in Christ set is the freedom to commit any sin imaginable without fear of suffering damnation - even unrepentant murder, rape, child molesting and Satan worshipping.


#11

Thank you for your reply. I have just one question though: Since you seem to know “my conception of the eradication of sin”, what exactly is my position on this? I don’t recall ever giving it. I was just restating the question as (I thought) it was given by the original poster. Thank you in advance.

Mike


#12

[quote=mhansen]That’s a “standard” answer, and one that you’ll get from many people. I’m guessing that’s not what the original poster was asking, but I’ll give you the million anyway. I’ll have to owe you because I ain’t got it now. :wink:

I’m guessing, and if I’m wrong correct me verismo, that the orignal poster’s real question has to do with this: If one person goes to hell, did Jesus “fail?” Can He fail? If not, is it possible for ANYONE to end up in hell? If Jesus came to BE sin, how can WE sin? If we still have to follow the Law (as the Jews), what exactly did Jesus do for us? OK, OK, I know…we don’t have to worry about what happens if “my ox gores your ox”, but the 10 commandments are still very much a part of our lives. What’s different, except now we have MORE obligations placed on us by the Church? (Required Mass on Sundays & Holy Days, at least yearly Confession, etc). Just what exactly is it that’s DIFFERENT?

I may be way off on the original question, so don’t quote me on this. :slight_smile:

Mike
[/quote]

You have the question just right Mike. So, what’s the answer? :wink:


#13

[quote=verismo]You have the question just right Mike. So, what’s the answer? :wink:
[/quote]

I think, from an apologetic point of view, Matt16_18 nailed it for you. There are a lot of good answers here, though. Every one of them can be used to support your efforts.

As for me, I respectfully decline to answer at this time. I’ve never been accused of being the most “orthodox” Catholic, but even I know my limits. :wink:

Mike


#14

[quote=Matt16_18]After the Fall, the devil acquired a dominion over mankind, and we all became ensnared in the bondage of sin. Jesus came to set a fallen race free from that bondage. Without God’s gift of grace, we are incapable of living lives that are wholly pleasing to God.**Catechism of the Catholic Church

407** The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man’s situation and activity in the world. By our first parents’ sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails “captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil”.

1741 By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. “For freedom Christ has set us free.” The Catholic understanding of freedom in Christ is the opposite of the Protestant fundamentalists that believe in the antinomian version of the OSAS.

Catholics believe that Christ has set us free from sin so that we can live holy lives pleasing to God, so that we can love God perfectly. The antinomian heretics believe that there is no sin that a “saved” man could commit that would bring about damnation – no sin, not even unrepentant mortal sin. The “saved” man could backslide and live the life of a filthy, unrepentant serial killer that hated God and worshipped Satan, and then when he died in his unrepentance – bammo, straight to heaven. That’s right, because he once made a sincere altar call when he was nine years old and got “saved”, he can go staight to heaven as a fifty year old, unrepentant, God hating, Satan worshipper that died screaming blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. :rolleyes:

What is the difference between the Catholic understanding of salvation and the understanding of the antinomian Protestant heretics? Catholics believe that freedom in Christ is freedom from the bondage of sin. The antinomian fundamentalists believe that freedom in Christ set is the freedom to commit any sin imaginable without fear of suffering damnation - even unrepentant murder, rape, child molesting and Satan worshipping.
[/quote]

Thanks for a great answer, and I agree with all of it, but it is still pretty abstract so it is where I get stuck with them. Notice that you use abstract/general terms for the Catholic position, and concrete ones for the OSAS?

Freedom from bondage vs doing this and that and getting salvation

So, I need here a more concrete explanation of the Catholic position. What does being a slave to sin look like, and what is its result. What is Redemption look like, and what is its result?

Or, does your answer simply mean, before the Cross, we were guaranteed to commit mortal sins, now it is only a possibility? So, Christ made it so that we don’t “have” to commit mortal sins due to our bondage to sin?


#15

Here is what I said to my SIL who ask me something like what you ask. She said “than why did Jesus die on the cross if our sins aren’t forgiven”. My reply was this Jesus did die for our sins but we have a part in His sacarfice we can reject it or accept it but if we accept it than we must obey all that He taught which means much more to Catholics than it does to OSAS christians. I also said that the most significant thing that happened at the moment of His death was that the Gates of Heaven have been opened for mankind. So that we **may **enter into heaven.

God Bless
Kathleen


#16

[quote=mhansen]Thank you for your reply. I have just one question though: Since you seem to know “my conception of the eradication of sin”, what exactly is my position on this? I don’t recall ever giving it. I was just restating the question as (I thought) it was given by the original poster. Thank you in advance.

Mike
[/quote]

Maybe it wasn’t your conception, but the way you were phrasing the question seemed to suggest that you were challenging people to come up with an answer. That’s the trouble with message boards; the intent of the writer can become confused.

So I apologize if this is not your position on what Christ saved us from, but it came across that way.


#17

[quote=verismo]Thanks for a great answer, and I agree with all of it, but it is still pretty abstract so it is where I get stuck with them. Notice that you use abstract/general terms for the Catholic position, and concrete ones for the OSAS?

Freedom from bondage vs doing this and that and getting salvation

So, I need here a more concrete explanation of the Catholic position. What does being a slave to sin look like, and what is its result. What is Redemption look like, and what is its result?

Or, does your answer simply mean, before the Cross, we were guaranteed to commit mortal sins, now it is only a possibility? So, Christ made it so that we don’t “have” to commit mortal sins due to our bondage to sin?
[/quote]

Look at all the evil in the world (war, famine, murder, rape, torture, etc); that’s what bondage to sin looks like. Bondage to sin from a subjective viewpoint is more habitual vice that is impossible to break without the help of God through the sacraments. This type of bondage typically spirals out of control if not consciously fought.

Being a slave to sin is doing something when you know you shouldn’t, or even worse, doing something wrong and not knowing it is wrong. The latter may not be considered sin on the part of the sinner, but the bondage is more dangerous because it becomes more coercive.

Redemption looks a lot like the Saints, although even they during their temporal lives, were not perfect (except for Mary of course.) Redemption is now possible, it merely needs to be willed.

Christ was the atoning sacrifice for our sins. So when God looks at our sins, His wrath is absorbed through the Cross. We now have true forgiveness for our sins if we “circumcise our hearts” and follow Christ.

The Cross doesn’t make us sin less unless we will that it does. Again it conflicts with free will if we assume the Cross had some affect on what we are able to choose. Sin no longer reigns, if we choose to not allow it to. Christ conquered sin; not our free will to choose to sin.

Sin for me is conquered on account of Christ’s crucifixion, and on account of His implementation of the Church. I am guarenteed, on His authority, that when I go to the confession booth, that my sins are forgiven. What mercy! When I go to Him in the confessional and the priest tells me my sins are forgiven, I am guaranteed that God forgives me through the atoning sacrifice of the Cross. There is no longer atonement owed for my sins because Christ did that for me already. It’s really quite amazing if you think about it.


#18

Simple answer…Christ saved us from ourselves. Left to our own devices, we would never be in a state worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.


#19

[quote=verismo]In apologetic endeavors, I have a problem explaining (especially to Protestants of the OSAS idea)…

If a Christian can still sin, and it is counted against him as a sin: Jesus did not save us from sin.

If a Christian can commit “mortal sin” and still go to Hell: He didn’t save us from Hell.

So, in a Theology (Catholic) that believes that a Christian can still sin and go to Hell for it (like a Jew), what did Jesus save us from?

any thoughts?

Thanks.
[/quote]

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into thier hearts, and in thier minds will I write them; and thier sins and iniquities will I remember no more” Hebrews 10:16

“For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” 2 Corinthians 5:21

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit” Romans 8:1-4

The Word says that penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Nothing less, nothing more. It does not say ‘suffering’. We cannot suffer for our sins, so then, if Christ saved us from sin, he has done it by grace, and given us a beauitiful gift.

“For by grace ye are saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” Ephesians 2:8, 9

When we accept the covenant of Christ, He saves us to the uttermost. Then we abide in him, and he in us. When we receive Him all our sins: past, present, and future are forgiven and forgotten. If we sin, we confess to God (Psalm 32:5, Daniel 9:4), and He says to us “where are thine accusers”?

“Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” Romans 4:6-8

God bless,

Herry


#20

[quote=StCsDavid]Simple answer…Christ saved us from ourselves. Left to our own devices, we would never be in a state worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.
[/quote]

I think this simple answer is the gist of the solution. So far, no one has mentioned the one thing that was different before and after Jesus died on the cross. Before Jesus act of Redemption on Calvary, people were relying on some system of works to please God. The Jews were relying on fulfilling the Mosaic Law, and the Gentiles (Greeks, for example) were relying on being the perfect and virtuous man. Both of these ways were good, as St. Paul says (Rom 2:14; Rom 7:12; Rom 7:16;1Ti 1:8), but there was one problem: because of original sin, no one could keep either of these laws perfectly. Since that was the case, no one could be saved by them, since to break the law was to be convicted by the law (James 2:10-11). While we were in this state, by all rights, God could condemn us at any time.

The difference Jesus’ redemptive act made was that it bridged this gap between God and man. When one accepts Jesus in faith (is born again through baptism and repents) he is a new creature (2 Cor 5:17). With this new staus he is given GRACE, which both prompts him and enpowers him to live a life pleasing to God. With this grace, our good works are now meritrious (pleasing to God). That is why Catholics can say we are saved by faith, through grace unto good works–it all works together.

Now, as previously mentioned, we can lose this status by using our free will to engage in sin --by what we do and fail to do. However, being born again as God’s children through baptism, he has also provided a post-baptismal means for us to be restored–through the sacrament of Reconciliation. This is how we are continually saved from hell (and for heaven): God has provided everything we need to be free agents, yet return to him if we should fall.

For a better explanation of this, see the Catholic Answers tract “Grace: What It Is and What it Does” found here:
catholic.com/library/Grace_What_It_Is.asp

For an excellent extended treatment of this subjsect, I’d recommend the book “How Do I Get To Heaven?” by Robert Sungenis.


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