|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
A macabre practice of the church of Rome graphically illustrates the vast, eternal-life-and-death difference between Roman Catholicism and authentic Biblical Christianity.
On the Sunday that Pope Francis visited Philadelphia, I happened to be fulfilling a long-standing commitment to preach at a church in a suburb of that city. Hundreds of thousands, exhibiting misplaced faith in the Roman church-state and the man at its head who is the present personification of Antichrist, were jamming Philadelphia's streets.
Meanwhile, God's true remnant was meeting in various churches in Philadelphia and around the globe. Those who trust in the finished work of Christ alone, by faith alone, on the basis of Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone, were meeting to worship their Lord and Savior in churches like the one in which I was about to preach.
It is the practice of this particular church - one tragically absent in many places today - to read through the Word of God systematically as a congregation. On this Sunday morning the New Testament passage providentially happened to be Matthew's account of Jesus' resurrection from the dead.
A few minutes later, as I began to preach, these thoughts came to mind, which I then expressed as I led the congregation in prayer: All that Roman Catholicism can offer the world is a long succession of dead popes. Rome puts the corpses of many of them on display in ornate glass coffins in the Vatican and elsewhere, for veneration and even for use in worship -
The clergy of Rome, from the lowest priest to the longest-tenured cardinal, serve these dead and dying men, venerate their corpses, and even employ them in the alleged fresh sacrifice of Christ in the mass. What darkness! What hopelessness!
Rome's macabre practice graphically illustrates the essential, eternal-life-and-death difference between Roman Catholicism and authentic Biblical Christianity: True believers in Christ come not to the corpses of the dead, but to a living Lord! They serve not a dying Pope of Rome who is under God's judgment, but the ever-living, perfectly righteous Savior who is seated in His glorified body at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).
True believers understand that the present representative of Christ on earth is not the papacy, as Rome alleges, but God the Holy Spirit indwelling their hearts. They need no earthly priest or pope to intercede for them. They need no fresh sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ as Rome alleges takes place in the mass. Christ has died, once for all.
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:11-23)
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