Posts belonging to Category Salvation

The Sacrificial Lamb (Video)

Today is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar year. SourceFlix has put together an excellent 9-minute video explaining the Day of Atonement and showing how it has been fulfilled for believers today through Christ.

The Sacrificial Lamb (Video length: 8:56)

You can also read about the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament in Leviticus 16.

Link: SourceFlix

Indulgences are Back

Indulgences are making a comeback in the Roman Catholic Church. An indulgence is supposed to reduce your punishment in Purgatory before entering Heaven. As you may recall from history, the selling of indulgences was one of the abuses that Martin Luther denounced in the Reformation. The Catholic Church is not selling indulgences per se but is making them available under certain conditions. From the New York Times:

According to church teaching, even after sinners are absolved in the confessional and say their Our Fathers or Hail Marys as penance, they still face punishment after death, in Purgatory, before they can enter heaven. In exchange for certain prayers, devotions or pilgrimages in special years, a Catholic can receive an indulgence, which reduces or erases that punishment instantly, with no formal ceremony or sacrament.

There are partial indulgences, which reduce purgatorial time by a certain number of days or years, and plenary indulgences, which eliminate all of it, until another sin is committed. You can get one for yourself, or for someone who is dead. You cannot buy one — the church outlawed the sale of indulgences in 1567 — but charitable contributions, combined with other acts, can help you earn one. There is a limit of one plenary indulgence per sinner per day.

As a Christian who believes that Jesus took the full punishment for my sins at the cross, I do not believe in Purgatory and so I find the whole idea of indulgences very odd. Also, do you see much of a distinction between “buying” or “earning” an indulgence as stated in the article?

Here are a few applicable verses from the New Testament to reflect on:

Day after day every priest [speaking of Old Testament priests] stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest [speaking of Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:11-12)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Related article: Indulgences 101

Two Ways to Be Your Own Savior and Lord

Tim Keller comments on the two brothers in the parable of the prodigal son.

“There are two ways to be your own Savior and Lord. One is by breaking all the moral laws and setting your own course, and one is by keeping all the moral laws and being very, very good.”
    – Tim Keller, The Prodigal God

HT: Challies: Book Review – The Prodigal God by Tim Keller

Related posts:
    • Melody in F (The Prodigal Son)
    • Parable of the Prodigal Puppy

3 Freedoms from Sin That All Christians Share

Here are three freedoms from sin that all Christians share:

1) Freedom from the penalty of sin. This freedom is rooted in the Christian’s past and relates to the believer’s justification. The penalty for sin is death, both physical death and spiritual death (i.e. separation from God). When we put our faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sin, however, we were justified – that is, declared righteous in God’s sight by faith. We were thus freed from the penalty for sin and granted new life with God. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

2) Freedom from the power of sin. This freedom is operational in the Christian’s present and relates to the believer’s sanctification. Before we come to Christ, we are dead in transgressions and sins and are in fact slaves to sin. When we receive new life in Christ, however, we are sanctified – that is, set apart for God and holiness rather than for sin and death. We are thus set free from the power of sin and through the Holy Spirit are given the ability to live a holy life. “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” (Romans 6:20-22)

3) Freedom from the presence of sin. This freedom will be fulfilled in the Christian’s future and relates to the believer’s glorification. Although we may be free from the power of sin in the present, we still struggle with a sinful nature in the midst of a sinful world. When we enter God’s presence in heaven, however, we will be glorified – that is, changed to be like Jesus Christ in true righteousness and placed in a perfect environment of righteousness and holiness. We will thus be free from the presence of sin both within us and around us. “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

Praise God for the freedoms we share as believers in Jesus Christ!