Wednesday, January 29, 2014
As promised, here are the notes I wrote for my Salvation History talk I gave at the Flame Ministries International 24th Annual Congress on Sunday, January 19. It went very well; thank you very much for your prayers. :)
I'll be uploading these notes in three parts. Here's part one:
* * * * *
If I was to ask any of you “How are we saved?” I hope the answer you’d give me would be something along the lines of, “Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ” and hopefully you’d say that it’s the Catholic Church that brings man (sic.) first into intimacy with Jesus Christ and into union with God, and it was the Catholic Church that was established by Christ, built on the rock - St. Peter (Matthew 16:18-19) - authority given to man (sic.) to help fuse man to God.
So what I want to do today is to map out Salvation History, from the Book of Genesis to the Gospels, to the Acts of the Apostles to the mission of the Catholic Church today. In reality I need about a week to talk to you about this, but we’ve only got one hour to go through it. You have my assurance though that I will not be skimping on quality.
Folks, I don’t want any of my loved ones, friends, colleagues or absolutely anyone going to Hell. My hope is that Hell is empty, that everyone has repented and died in a state of grace. But, folks, for us it’s different; we cannot afford to be complacent. Yes, we are Catholic and we have been gifted with the FULLNESS of truth and the FULLNESS of faith, but as it says in scripture:
“Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” - Matthew 7:21
Our Catholicity does not guarantee our salvation; nor does anyone’s Christianity assure anyone of salvation. Now that opens up another can of worms and at the end of this talk I’ll put up a link to an article I wrote about the lie of the “Once saved, always saved” (or “Eternal Security”) for you to read in your own time. You’ll discover just how unbiblical that teaching is. But now, onto Salvation History…
Garden of Eden; Adam & Eve
- God makes man (and woman) last because man is the climax of God’s creation; who He chooses to relate with intimately
- God gives man free will because without free will there is no love
- love is a choice
- if you take away free will then we’re soulless robots
--explain in cliff notes the story of the fall--
Why did Adam and Eve take from the tree and disobey God? They were DECEIVED by Lucifer, the Devil! They were manipulated to believe that God was holding them back.
Pride came before the fall… let’s read the passage together and after we read it I just want to point a few things out:
“Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the LORD God had made. The serpent asked the woman, ‘Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?’ The woman answered the serpent: ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, 'You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.' But the serpent said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.’ The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” - Genesis 3:1-6
So as a result both Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden - Paradise, which is analogous to Heaven - and you’ll noticed that before the fall, both Adam and Even walked through the Garden of Eden with God and lived in perfect harmony with Him and the rest of creation.
Lucifer cast doubt in the minds of Adam and Eve and they began to rationalise their sinful behaviour. They had ONE RULE, ONE RULE to follow. It’s when we begin to question our faith, when we begin to question why the Catholic Church teaches the way it does, we - like and Adam and Eve - begin to think, “Well why can’t I?”
“Why can’t I have sex outside of marriage?”
“Why can’t I use contraception?”
“Why can’t I smoke weed and get high?”
“Why can’t I get blind drunk?”
“Why can’t I have a one night stand?”
“Why can’t I look at pornographic material?”
“Why? Why? Why?”
And that’s when we begin to put our desires before God’s plan, before His will. Essentially we’re making ourselves greater than God as Lucifer says to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Folks, we make idols of ourselves when we fail to humble ourselves before the will of the Lord.
So as a result, Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden; they had deliberately and directly sinned against God and what’s even worse is that they were aware of the consequences:
“The LORD God gave man this order: ‘You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.’" - Genesis 2:16-17
What’s this “death” God was speaking of? Surely a physical death would have been enough to frighten Adam and Eve out of sinning against God, I mean my son who’s turning six in a few months’ time, he tells me, “Daddy, you shouldn’t play with fire because you can die” and I tell him, “Son, because I love you, I promise you that I will not play with fire”. But the “death” God was speaking of was not a physical death, no, but a spiritual death, becoming separated from God and severing the relationship with Him. St. Paul writes in Romans:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 6:23
The Catholic Church teaches this about Hell and why one might go to Hell:
“The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.” - Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 1035
--Jesus, “Gehenna” = eternal fire--
--Eternal separation from God = spiritual death--
--Heaven, full union with God = eternal LIFE--
“He is not God of the dead but of the living…” - Mark 12:27a
We read on in the Catechism…
“God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a wilful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want ‘any to perish, but all to come to repentance’” - Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 1037
Adam and Even turned away wilfully, thus they were no longer in union with God. So Adam and Even kind of muck it up for us but the news gets better…