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Christ removes all barriers to catholicity of His church through faith

JeffLogan's picture

Thinking about Christ and how He breaks down all barriers and spoils all principalities and powers which prevent true universality, true catholicity, of His body, the church...

Has anyone ever considered that a living faith is not achieved by adding our works to our faith but rather, that faith is a gift from God which being quickened by the Holy Spirit produces obedience (good works)? (The keyword here is "quickened". It would serve you well to consult your Strong's Concordance.)

Think about this verse and tell me what it means:

    And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. -Acts 5:32 (KJV)

But first, before you answer, tell me what this means to demonstrate your wisdom:

    "Love means never having to say you're sorry." (Love Story, The movie.)

Does it mean...

    1) Love does nothing to warrant an apology

    2) Love takes no account of injury

    3) Other (explain)

Now answer the verse in question:

    And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. -Acts 5:32 (KJV)

Does it mean...

    1) God only gives His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him

    2) God gives His Holy Spirit to men so they might obey Him

    3) Other (explain)

This is a discovery exercise and not a theological debate. Opinions are welcomed but scriptural support would be even better. Be sure to interpret your scriptures so we can understand how you are using them. Commentaries may be insightful but a paraphrase in your own words would be appreciated and would demonstrate you understand your subject matter.

JeffLogan's picture

Can you give more clarity

Can you give more clarity concerning your statement, jwmcmac?

jw writes, It would have been very confusing if there was not this break and the other breaks which occurred between the Old and the New Covenants, such as circumcision not being required (although it is probably a healthy idea none-the-less for infants to receive circumcision -- IMO).

It certainly would have been confusing if there wasn't a clean break between the two covenants. I agree with that statement. And this "break" occurred when the blood of Jesus inaugurated the new covenant thereby rendering the old null and void. And that this time would come was prophesied through the prophet Jeremiah and is recorded in the 31 chapter of the book by the same name. "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah...(NASB)"

And you are right; circumcision is certainly considered "a healthy idea none-the-less for infants to receive" among many health professionals. Just as a day of rest each week is also considered to be rejuvenating to mankind. But in this statement you admit two things:

1) That circumcision can be properly and beneficially applied without the legalistic notion that one must receive it in order to be saved. So why can't the 7th Day Sabbath be properly and beneficially applied in the same manner? And remember, we are discussing barriers. So along those lines why make Sunday observance a salvific requirement when it was for this very reason that the 7th day Sabbath has suffered loss? If literally observing the command of God to "Remember the Sabbath day (7th) to keep it holy" is now viewed as a legalistic then how does the precept making Sunday a holy day of obligation escape the same condemnation? What is good for the goose is also good for the gander. It is commonly thought that men make the Sabbath legalistic by commanding its literal observance as a requirement of salvation. And now the Sunday has been placed in this same light by making it an holy day of obligation with terrible consequences for breaking it thus implying its observance as necessary for salvation.

2) That a break "occurred between the Old and the New Covenants, such as circumcision not being required" implying by context that the Sabbath requirements were no longer required. But if the legalistic observance of Sabbath by the Jews simply became the legalistic observance of Sunday by Christians then there really was no break. Yet, like circumcision, the break was warranted due to the very legalistic nature of the act. In this the Protestants only have made the break, if one was indeed warranted. Because they, to the best of my knowledge, do not require Sunday observance but freely and willingly meet on that day to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. However, the Catholic is obliged to keep Sunday holy by precept under threat of severe penalty. Thus, there is no real distinction between the legalistic observance of Sabbath by the Jew and the legalistic observance of Sunday by the Catholic (or any one else who views Sunday as obligatory in a salvific way). If Sunday is not to be viewed as a requirement for salvation then everyone must be free to observe it or not depending upon their convictions. For this, "where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty." And this, "Let no man judge you regarding a sabbath day." And, "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. (NASB)" But the Sabbath could have served the same purpose as well. Yet, some thought to draw a distinction between the Jew and the Christian by substituting Sunday for Sabbath. But can it be claimed that the barrier was removed when it was only transferred?

In both of these the barrier was not broken down but was merely moved. And I say barrier because it is placed in man's way as an obstacle to reaching Christ who alone is our salvation. By them men are taught to look to the observance of the thing as either a merit or demerit on the salvation scorecard. They are not taught to look to Christ for salvation but to themselves and how well they observe precepts. The only proper observance of either Sunday or Sabbath is that which is done freely from an expression of love. But then the Sabbath could have served that purpose just as well as Sunday.

But the worse part about the whole thing is that we view God's command to keep Sabbath holy as a grievous thing while we embrace the Sunday tradition as a wonderful liberation from the Sabbath command. However, IMO, the Protestant view of Sunday excels that of the Catholic who holds it to be a day of obligation thereby representing it as a work that one must do in order to be saved. And that view makes Sunday observance legalistic in the same sense as the Judiazers made circumcision legalistic. So it seems you have destroyed your whole argument by this one simple admission born of reason.

“The path of true piety is so plain as to require
but little political direction.” --George Washington,
re: absence of "Jesus Christ" in U.S. Constitution.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV