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MARTIN LUTHER  -A FILM BIOGRAPHY

Published on Apr 2, 2013

 

Martin Luther is a 1953 film

biography about the life and times of the greatest figure of the

Protestant Reformation – Martin Luther, a 16th century German monk,

priest, and theology professor’s efforts to reform the Catholic church,

his excommunication, and the developments that started the Protestant

Reformation.

Luther’s observations and studies led him to be

critical of the materialism of the Roman Catholic church; with its use

of indulgences, relics and other wayward teachings and practices that

are unsupported by the Bible (scripture) forced him to write and nail

his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg church that was pivotal in

leading a ‘spiritual revolution’ shaking the principalities of the Holy

Roman Empire and the entirety of Medieval Europe that changed history

forever.

Martin Luther is directed by Irving Pichel and stars

Niall MacGinnis as Martin Luther
John Ruddock as Vicar Johann von Staupitz
Pierre Lefevre as George Spalatin
Guy Verney as Philipp Melanchthon
Allastair Hunter as Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt
David Horne as Elector Duke Frederick the Wise
Fred Johnson as Prior of Erfurt monastery
Philip Leaver as Pope Leo X
Heinz Piper as Dr. John Eck
Leonard White as brother and emissary of Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz
Egon Strohm as Cardinal Aleander
Annette Carrell as Katharina von Bora
Alexander Gauge as Fr. John Tetzel
Irving Pichel as Chancellor Brueck
Hans Lefebre as Emperor Charles V
John Wiggin as Narrator
The music is composed by Mark Lothar and performed by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.

Luther Bible, 1534

Luther Bible, 1534 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgent...

Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum, 95 theses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Halloween is for Devil Worshippers

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

II Cor 6:14-18

 

Is Halloween Devil Worship?

 

Hallowe’en. The eve of All Hallows’ or All Saints’ Day celebrated the last night of October. In the Old Celtic calendar the year began on November 1, so that the last evening of October was the night of all the witches, which the Church transformed into the Eve of All Saints.

Source: The Oxford English Dictionary.

1. The Druids invented the earliest Halloween celebrations. They were an order of Celtic sorcerers. The Bible condemns all sorcery and sorcerers (Rev 21:8; 22:15).

2. November 1, the first day of the Celtic year, was a feast day to Samhain, lord of the dead, by the Druids. But the Christian God is the God of the living (Mark 12:27)!

3. The jack-o-lantern, large fires, and apple bobbing also come from superstitious paganism, as most any encyclopedia will prove; but God condemns the use of religious practices from unbelievers (Deut 12:29-32; Jer 10:1-2).

4. The only cultures and societies that masquerade religiously as evil characters around fires at night are patently pagan, God-rejecting, devil-worshipping nations, which Christians are to entirely reject (Lev 18:24,28; Deut 4:6; 9:5; 12:29-32; 18:9,14).

5. When God wrote the laws for Israel, all witches and any related persons were to be put to death, for He strongly hates anyone seeking to devils and witchcraft rather than to Himself (Ex 22:18; Lev 19:26,31; 20:6,27; Deut 18:9-12; I Chron 10:13-14).

6. God specifically commanded not to learn the dark customs of the nations around Israel, including all forms of witchcraft (Lev 18:1-4; Deut 12:1-4,29-32; 18:9-12).

7. The idolatrous practices of pagans are devil worship, no matter what the worshipper thinks or intends (Lev 17:7; Deut 32:17; II Chron 11:15; Ps 106:35-39; I Cor 10:20).

8. The holy God condemns any observation of the religious traditions and customs of unbelieving pagans, even if you are doing it as a Christian to Him (Deut 12:29-32).

9. The Catholic Church whitewashed the pagan customs with a new name to keep their pagan “converts” happy. But Jesus Christ declared that church to be the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth (Rev 17:1-6; II Thess 2:9-12; I Tim 4:1-3).

10. The worshippers of God are to come out of Roman Catholicism by special warning from heaven (Rev 18:4), and Halloween is obviously a Roman Catholic holiday.

11. Halloween is an evil day originating with unbelievers and infidels, based on blackness, darkness, night, unrighteousness, and infidelity, which Christians should separate from and not even touch, if they want to be God’s children (II Cor 6:14-18).

12. Christians burn anything that has to do with witchcraft, for they are commanded not to touch any unclean thing (Deut 7:25-26; Acts 19:13-20; Gal 5:20; II Cor 6:14-18).

13. Halloween is a worldly religious celebration of pagan origin, and Christians are not be conformed to this world, but rather to be transformed (Romans 12:1-2).

14. When a devil or sorcerer meets God, he knows he is helpless; and one day God will cast all devils, sorcerers, and witches into the Lake of Fire (Ex 7:11-12; 8:18-19; 9:11-12; Mark 1:24; 5:7; Rev 21:8; 22:15).

15. The disciples of Jesus Christ and sons of God are to walk as children of light, not as the children of the darkness of this world (Acts 26:18; I Thess 5:4-8).

16. God’s true followers value His precepts on all subjects and hate any idea, opinion, or practice to the contrary (Ps 119:128; Is 8:20; II Tim 3:16-17; I Tim 6:3-5).

17. Halloween is popular with the world, which is evidence that it is an abomination to God (Luke 16:15). Friendship with the world makes God your enemy (Jas 4:4).

18. If you must have Halloween, God has offered you a simple alternative. Become a great celebrator of Halloween and reject Christianity, because He cannot stand you polluting His name with your hypocrisy (Ezek 20:39; Hos 4:17; Amos 4:4-5).

19. The past lives of Christians had enough excess and sin to cover a lifetime, so there is no need to participate in this worldly, wicked, and pagan celebration (I Pet 4:3-5).

20. Christians do not threaten “trick or treat” to anyone for any reason, so parents should not endorse such profanity (Gal 5:14; Eph 4:31-32; I Thes 5:15; Jas 2:8), and neither do Christians deceive others with masks, even for a joke (Pr 26:18-19; Rom 13:13).

21. Paul condemned a compromising brand of Christianity that loves pleasure more than God and has a form of religion without authority or true discipleship (II Tim 3:1-5).

22. The blessed God of heaven seeks worshippers to worship Him in spirit and in truth, according to the apostolic faith once delivered to the saints (John 4:23-24; Jude 1:3).

Abbreviated History and Customs of Halloween

Oxford English Dictionary (Second Edition)

“Hallowe’en. The eve of All Hallows’ or All Saints’ Day celebrated the last night of October. In the Old Celtic calendar the year began on November 1, so that the last evening of October was ‘old years’ night’, the night of all the witches, which the Church transformed into the Eve of All Saints.”

Encyclopedia Britannica (14th Edition)

“Hallowe’en or All Hallows Eve, the name given to Oct. 31, as the vigil of Hallowmas or All Saints’ Day, now chiefly known as the eve of the Christian festival. It long antedates Christianity. The two chief characteristics of ancient Hallowe’en were the lighting of bonfires and the belief that this is the one night in the year during which ghosts and witches are most likely to wander abroad. History shows that the main celebrations of Hallowe’en were purely Druidical, and this is further proved by the fact that in parts of Ireland Oct. 31 is still known as Oidhche Shamhna, ‘Vigil of Sama’. This is directly connected with the Druidic belief in the calling together of certain wicked souls on Hallowe’en by Saman, lord of death.”

World Book Encyclopedia (1959 Edition)

“The Druids, an order of priests in ancient Gaul and Britain, believed that on Halloween, ghosts, spirits, fairies, witches, and elves came out to harm people. They thought the cat was sacred and believed that cats had once been human beings but were changed as a punishment for evil deeds. From these Druidic beliefs come the present-day use of witches, ghosts, and cats in Halloween festivities.”

Halloween Through Twenty Centuries (by Ralph Linton)

“The American celebration rests upon Scottish and Irish folk customs which can be traced in direct line from pre-Christian times. Although Halloween has become a night of rollicking fun, superstitious spells, and eerie games which people take only half seriously, its beginnings were quite otherwise. The earliest Halloween celebrations were held by the Druids in honor of Samhain, Lord of the dead, whose festival fell on November 1.”

World Book Encyclopedia (Quoted in the Atlanta Journal on 10/16/1977)

“It was the Celts who chose the date of October 31 as their new year’s Eve and who originally intended it as a celebration of everything wicked, evil and dead. Also during their celebration they would gather around a community bonfire and offer as sacrifice their animals, their crops, and sometime themselves. And wearing costumes made from the heads and skins of other animals, they would also tell one another’s fortunes for the coming year.

“The celebration remained much the same after the Romans conquered the Celts around 43 A.D. The Romans did, however, add a ceremony honoring their goddess of fruit and trees and thus the association with apples and the custom of bobbing for them.”

World Book Encyclopedia (1959 Edition)

“In the A.D. 800’s the church established All Saints Day on November 1 so that the people could continue a festival they had celebrated before becoming Christians. The mass that was said on this day was called Allhallowmas. The evening before became known as All Hallow e’ven or Halloween…. It means hallowed or holy evening.”

World Book Encyclopedia (1959 Edition)

“Jack-O’-Lanterns were named for a man called Jack, who could not enter heaven or hell. As a result, he was doomed to wander in darkness with his lantern until Judgment Day.”

Compton’s Encyclopedia (1978 Edition)

“Customs and superstitions gathered through the ages go into our celebration of Halloween, or ‘Holy Eve’, on October 31. The day is so named because it is the even of the festival of All Saints, but many of the beliefs and observances connected with it arose long before the Christian Era, in the autumn festivals of pagan peoples…. Even after November 1 became a Christian feast day, honoring all saints, the peasants clung to the old pagan beliefs and customs that had grown up about Halloween…. Our Halloween celebrations today keep many of these early customs unchanged.”

See Also

Hallowed Evening A simple review of history and the Bible to condemn Halloween.

Click to play audio

http://www.letgodbetrue.com/bible/holidays/halloween.php?gclid=CM70k_e6l7oCFUfZQgodIkEApw

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THE TRUTH ABOUT HALLOWEEN: “OH, IT’S NOT SO BAD” (OR IS IT?) [AT THE BATTLE FRONT 23]

(Note: you may freely download this message in a PDF legal size track form at the end)

“Oh, it’s not so bad.” 

Or is it?

If you’ve been in Christian circles for very long and dealing with worldly, carnal behavior in God’s church in the west and other affluent areas, this phrase is surely to rear its ugly head.

Now that we’ve seen that the eternal purpose of God the Almighty is to help complete the kingdom of God…Your kingdom come! As He defines His love from us and to us in obeying Him, it’s a matter of eternal life and earth to discern what brings Him pleasure or causes wrath. What brings Him glory? The opposite of what the world loves to do. Ask any young child who knows Jesus and they’ll often tell you honestly what is right and wrong in the sight of God. The adults learn by example to justify the flesh.

Years ago, one of my young sons and I did some research on Halloween, and wrote the subsequent piece below. We also have these in a very effective track format that’s been used by many over the years. We were stunned at what the Lord God showed us about this “celebration.”

Many Christians try to “Christianize” pagan celebrations by cleaning them up. Ask yourself and those who do such things, how does this bring the Father glory (esteem, honor, respect, value, radiance) by making Him bigger like a billboard to the lost world? Or does it just tickle our flesh?

Ask the Holy Spirit and those in His body to show you the Truth. He never fails us. Jesus died and was resurrected for the Truth, and as the Truth.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT HALLOWEEN: “OH, IT’S NOT SO BAD,” (OR IS IT?) – BY MARC & NATHAN WHITE

Why do you participate in Halloween? Have you ever really thought of what Halloween means? Is it simply cute witches, smiling ghosts, friendly graveyards and black cats that are only a little scary?

Or is it something much, much more – with a terrifying past and leading unsuspecting people into other dangerous paths? How do you explain this increasingly dangerous night?

“Oh, it’s not so bad.”  Or is it?

THE BEGINNING OF HALLOWEEN 

It all started thousands of years ago by people called Celts, who were primarily from Britain and France. They worshiped mother nature and many other gods, similar to America today. Among their gods were the sun, and spirits of woods and streams.

The cold, short days of winter, along with the “disappearance of the sun,” were a great mystery to the Celts and filled them with fear and superstition. So, they made up a lie that each year the sun god was attacked by the evil powers of cold and darkness and was held prisoner for six months.

The Celts called winter the “season of death” and believed it was ruled by Samhain (the devil), the Lord of the Dead and Prince of Darkness, who called together all the dead, wicked souls who had died in the last year and, to pay for their sins, had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals.

The greater the person’s sins, the lower the animal into which his or her soul had been placed. The Festival of Samhain, held on October 31st (the day before winter began), was for the Celts, a “celebration” of death, to honor and “worship” their sun god, the spirits and Samhain.  

druidsDruids, men who were the Celts’ priests and teachers, would lead the fanatical night ceremonies. The Druids, who practiced witchcraft and fortune telling, believed that on Halloween, the ghosts, spirits, fairies, witches,  and elves of the dead returned to their former homes and came out to harm crops and trouble the Celtic people.

To protect themselves, they built huge “bonfires” (actually called “bonefires” back then – used to destroy the bones) on the hilltops next to an altar. There they worshiped the Lord of the Dead, Samhain, and killed livestock, burned crops, and burned imprisoned  cathalloween 3s  in wicker baskets.   

They also imprisoned people and their own children in wicker cages built to resemble animals, and burned them to death as sacrifices, all for the Prince of Death. They did all this to “keep away evil spirits and demons.” Not exactly roasting marshmallows and shouting “Boo!”

HOW WE GOT THE NAME

The Romans, years later and at harvest time, laid out apples and nuts for their fruit and garden goddess called Pomona. Still later, the early Roman Catholic Church contribution to Halloween was a considerable one. Rather than obliterate pagan ways, shrewd Church leaders set about conforming existing pagan rites into their new Christian ones.

As the Catholic Church conquered the German Saxons and the Norsemen of Scandinavia and to accommodate the vanquished peoples insistence of practicing the ancient Druid and pagan holidays, the Church in 835 A.D approved November 1st as All Saints’ Day or All Hallows (all ‘holies’), a holiday (holy day) to honor all saints.

They also addall saintsed All Souls Day on November 2nd to honor all dead people and built “bonefires,” had parades and  dressed up like saints, angels and devils (sound familiar?). However, the people refused to give up the Samhain and Pomona customs and continued to “celebrate” them on October 31st.

By now called The Night of the Witches Sabbath, the event was devoted to the dead, ‘stealing souls’ and where the devil was worshiped by all his followers – witches, warlocks and demons. They all gathered to perform cruel, sadistic acts, and to mock the coming of the Church’s festival of All Saints Day on November 1st, the very next day.

The Church leaders hoped that, by making November 1st a religious holiday, the evil, pagan rituals that had survived over the centuries would be forgotten. It didn’t work. The rituals continued. The Church, ironically, gave the day its name, calling it All Hallows’ Eve.  Eventually, the name was shortened to Hallowe’en, and then to Halloween.skeleton

Thus, Pomona gave us apples and nuts; Samhain gave us death, sacrifices, witches, fortune telling, magic and evils spirits; All Saints and Souls Day gave us ghosts, skeletons and skulls. Not a wonderful family influence.

There are now dozens of Halloween divination (fortune telling) games that use apples and nuts to predict one’s future. In some countries, people thought a sneeze on Halloween would shot the soul out of the body for a second and the devil could take the soul to hell in that time. Quickly saying, “God bless you” protected the loose soul from the devil, they thought.

TRICK – OR – TREAT ?

The “tradition” of wearing Halloween costumes is greatly misunderstood. People don’t realize what they’re really doing and if someone  asks them why they often respond with, “…because everybody else is doing it!!”

Halloween-kids-002Many of our misunderstood Halloween customs came from the land of the Celts and Druids. Remember Samhain, the Lord of Death and his “festival”? The Druids believed that on this night the souls of the dead returned to their former homes to be entertained by the living. Evil spirits demanded to be satisfied with a “treat” consisting of acceptable food and shelter. If not provided, they would cast spells, cause havoc and terror, as well as haunt and torment the living.

On that night, people were afraid to be alone so they paraded in costumes made from the skins and heads of animals. They thought this pleased Samhain and would “keep away the evil spirits and demons” by disguising themselves as one of them. By playing this “trick” on them, the evil spirits would think the Celts were one of them and so be left alone.

Look closely! Here is the beginning of “Trick-or-Treat.”

This custom has been passed down to today’s American culture and hardly anybody realizes its significance or how it originated.  It was the Church that firmly established the custom of visiting house to house on All Hallows Eve – a practice that evolved into America’s “Trick-or-Treat.”

jack o lanternThe Celts also carried lights, carved out of  turnips, to  keep away  evil  spirits  when  they  went outside on October  31st.  Later  on,  an  old  Irish   story developed. Once there was a man named Jack who was very mean, stingy and tricky. When he died, he had been too mean to go to Heaven, but when alive, he had “tricked” the devil to keep his soul from hell. Jack  had no place to go, so the devil threw him a piece of burning coal.

“Put this into the turnip you are eating,” he told Jack. “This will be your lantern.” Jack is still walking with his lantern, looking for a place to stay.

Years later, children carved grinning faces on the turnips. They were called “bogies” (the ‘bogie’ man), but soon the name turned to “jack-o’-lanterns.” In America, we use pumpkins carved with faces, to keep the devil “away.”

WHAT NOW?

Article after article in the media graphically reports Satanic activity during the Halloween observance. “We enjoy the commercial exploitation of the public at Halloween.. it’s free publicity,” commented a Satanic high priest in one interview. He went on to say that most people have now fully accepted the “Halloween tradition” of “ghosts, witches and evil spirits” as the costumes of people. In fact, The Festival of Samhain remains a principal sabbath among modern day witches and other neo-pagans. So much for “good, clean fun.”

Halloween really is a Satanic “holiday,” but not many of us know the whole truth, or want to realize it. We should face that truth, even if it is frightening and bizarre. “Well, that may be true, but I would never get involved with anything like that. Oh, it’s not so bad,” you say.

halloween sacrifices

Halloween sacrifices & bloody pentagram

Would you take poison a drop at a time knowing it wouldn’t kill you immediately? Does a “little” bit of evil lead to a little greater evil? Hitler and Stalin murdering millions. Ted Bundy raping and dismembering coeds. Madonna pretending (?) to have sex with animals. Kids worshiping and sacrificing living things to Satan. Did they all start that way? Or was it a gradual decline? Where do these people start their pursuit of this evil? Do their parents say, “Oh, it’s not so bad?”  What do you think?

“Oh, it would never happen to me or my kids?” Oh? Have you ever seen a beach erode a little at a time? What if years from now your daughter or son ended up off the deep end in one of these evil, scandalous situations? Can you be 100% certain they won’t? Is this Halloween stuff safe? Do you want that responsibility of contributing to their fall on your conscience and record before facing God at the Judgment Seat?

Ever wonder what Almighty God Himself has to say about all of this? What does His Holy Bible have to say? If the Bible isn’t perfectly true, then why can’t skeptics find any errors in it, and why does the President of the United States place his hand upon the Bible and swear to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to uphold the truth in leading our country?

For our protection, well-being and safety, God provides Truth for us to obey: “You shall not practice witchcraft or fortune telling.”1  Also, “Do not turn to ghosts or spirits…do not seek them out…”2 Why not? Jesus knows all about the likes of a Hitler or Stalin. And Bundy. And Madonna. And the Satan worshipers. He knows exactly where they started their slide toward deeper and deeper evil.

God’s holiness is perfect, and His love pours out on us as He warns of sliding deeper into evil. For our own welfare, He says,  “Abstain from every form of evil.”3 and “Let us have a genuine hatred for evil and a real devotion to good.”4    Also, ” Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.”5  Finally, “…whatever is true…honorable …right…pure…lovely… let  your  mind  dwell on these things.”6

The devil and his evil demons haven’t changed since God threw them out of Heaven ages ago in their rebellion toward Him, and He gave them limited rights to cause evil on earth. Jesus Christ Himself confronts them over 75 times in the Bible.

The devil isn’t an ugly, red creature with horns and a pitchfork. He is a brilliant minded, evil reality that can win peoples affections with appealing lies  – twisting the truth just a bit to get people like you and I running downhill out of control. If this were not so, why is the world in the mess it’s in? 

Although God is in full control, He allows the devil’s evil and other human suffering to draw all mankind to Himself through His Son. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”7 

Halloween. “Oh, it’s not so bad.”

Or is it?

Making the right decision counts for eternity.

Forever. The road to hell is not marked with illuminated road signs, dear friends.

1  ( Leviticus 19.26);  2   (Leviticus 19.31); 3  (1 Thessalonians 5.22);  4   (Romans 12.9) ;  5  (Ephesians 5.11);  6  (Philippians 4.8);   7  (John 14.6)

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HALLOWEEN TRACK – OH IT’S NOT SO BAD – OR IS IT? [PDF DOWNLOAD]

+http://walkworthy.org/2007/07/the-truth-about-halloween-oh-its-not-so-bad-at-the-battle-front-23/

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The Works-Salvation Delusion

Author: T.A. McMahon
Source: The Berean Call

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come[s] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. -Galatians2:21

When we compare biblical Christianity with the religions of the world, using the Scriptures to guide us, we see that the gap between them is unbridgeable. In fact, one is forced to the conclusion that there are really only two religions in the world: biblical Christianity–and all other religions. (Note: I refer to biblical Christianity as a “religion” only for comparative purposes: a religion is a manmade belief system, whereas biblical Christianity is what God has revealed to mankind.)

These two “religions” are set apart primarily by what they teach about salvation–how one can get to heaven or paradise or Valhalla or Nirvana or the abode of God, or whatever else people believe about the afterlife. Each of the two can be placed under one of two categories: Human Achievement and Divine Accomplishment–or, to put it simply, the religions of “Do” and “Done.” I’m referring to the fact that either there are things you must do (Human Achievement) or there is nothing you can do because it has already been done (Divine Accomplishment) to earn entrance to heaven.

agape_love

Biblical Christianity alone comes under the heading of Divine Accomplishment. All the other religions of the world must be placed under the label of Human Achievement. Let’s first consider some of the major religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and certain denominations or cults that profess to be Christian.

Hinduism has about 330 million gods who must be appeased through some type of ritual. A couple of years ago I was given a tour of a massive Hindu temple just outside Chicago. The parking lot was filled with luxury cars. There was imported stonework from Italy. No expense was spared. Inside, doctors, lawyers, and engineers, among others, according to my guide, were serving meals to the idols, Hanuman, the monkey god, and Ganesha, the elephant god.

Hinduism is a system of works–things that one must do to reach moksha, the Hindu heaven. It involves the practice of yoga, which, contrary to what many have heard, has never been for improvement of one’s health but is rather a means of dying to one’s body in the hope of delivering oneself from the physical realm. This is supposed to yoke one to Brahman, the Supreme Deity of Hinduism. Reincarnation, a system that supposedly enables one to work one’s way to heaven through many births, deaths, and rebirths, is one of the teachings of this religion.

Buddhism is also all about works. Buddha believed that the key to reaching Nirvana, which is allegedly the state of perfect peace and happiness, is through an understanding of the Four Noble Truths and by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path.

In essence, the Four Noble Truths declare that we endure suffering because of our desires or cravings. These “Truths” claim that suffering will stop when we cease trying to fulfill those desires. According to Buddhism, we can achieve this by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which has the elements of “right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.” This is all done by man’s achievement, i.e., “doing things right” in order to reach Nirvana.

In Islam, paradise is attained when Allah weighs a follower’s good works against his bad deeds on a scale at Judgment Day. The Qur’an declares: “For those things that are good remove those that are evil” (Surah 11:114). It’s a quantitative process. Good deeds need to outweigh or blot out evil deeds. From the Qur’an again: “The balance that day will be true: Those whose scale [of good works] will be heavy, will prosper: Those whose scale will be light will find their souls in perdition” (Surah 7:8,9).

Here’s an interesting example of what a Muslim faces to get into paradise: On April 3, 1991, the Egyptian magazine, Akher Saa, recorded a heated debate between four female journalists and Sheik Doctor Abdu-Almonim Al-Nimr, who holds a high position at Al-Azher Islamic University. One of the journalists asked him: “Is the hijab [veil or head covering] obligatory for women in Islam? If I do not wear the hijab, shall I go to hell in spite of my other good deeds? I am talking about the decent woman who does not wear the hijab.”

Dr. Al-Nimr replied, “The ordinances in Islam are many, my daughter, Allah made us accountable to each. It means if you do that ordinance you earn a point. If you neglect one, you lose a point. If you pray, you earn a point; if you do not fast you lose a point, and so on.” He continued, “I did not invent a new theory…for every man there is a book in which all his good and evil deeds are recorded…even how do we treat our children.”

The journalist said: “That means, if I do not wear the hijab, I will not enter the hell fire without taking into account the rest of my good deeds.” Dr. Al-Nimr replied: “My daughter, no one knows who will enter the hell fire…I might be the first one to enter it. Caliph Abu-Bakr Al-Sadik said: ‘I have no trust concerning Allah’s schemes, even if one of my feet is inside of paradise who can determine which deed is acceptable and which is not.’ [See TBC, 10/91] You do all that you can do …and the accountability is with Allah. You ask him for acceptance [Italics added for emphasis].”

In Judaism, heaven is attained by keeping the Law and its ceremonies. Obviously, that isn’t consistent with what the Tanakh (the Old Testament) teaches, yet that has been the practice of Judaism for millennia. As Jesus said, “In vain they do worship [God], teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew:15:9).

His words also apply to a number of “Christian” denominations and cults that stress works as necessary for salvation. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, the Church of Christ adherents, Roman Catholics, Eastern and Russian Orthodox members, Lutherans, and many others all include something that needs to be accomplished or is necessary for salvation, whether it’s baptism, the sacraments, or joining their particular organization and fulfilling their requirements.

working_hard

Here is an example from the first 30 years of my own life as a Roman Catholic. I lived by a religious system of laws, many of which a Catholic is obligated to keep. It began with baptism. If one is not baptized, the Church says he can’t enter heaven. It also says that although baptism is required, it is no guarantee. There are many other such rules that a Catholic must keep.

I have a book in my office called the Code of Canon Law. It contains 1,752 laws, many of which affect one’s eternal destiny. Sins recognized by the Roman Catholic Church are classified as either mortal or venial. A mortal sin is one that damns a person to hell, should he or she die without having had it absolved by a priest. A venial sin doesn’t need to be confessed to a priest, but whether confessed or not, all sin adds to one’s temporal punishment, which must be expiated either here on earth through suffering or good works or else be purged in the flames of purgatory after one’s death.

There are obligations that a Catholic must fulfill regarding both beliefs and deeds. For example, one is required to believe that Mary was conceived without sin (an event called the Immaculate Conception). If a Catholic doesn’t believe that, he commits a mortal sin, which carries the penalty of eternal damnation. The feast day of the Immaculate Conception is a holy day of obligation, a day on which all Catholics are required to attend Mass. Failure to do so could result in commission of a mortal sin.

men_at_work

All the belief systems that I’ve mentioned, and many others as well, consist of doing or not doing certain things to reach “heaven.” All are based upon human achievement. But what about biblical Christianity? How is that different?

Ephesians:2:8-9 spells it out for us: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that [salvation is] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast [emphasis added].” That’s pretty straightforward. Our salvation doesn’t have anything to do with our achievements.

Verse 8 tells us that it is by grace that we are saved. Grace is unmerited favor. If any merit is involved, it cannot be by grace. It’s the gift of God. So if it’s a gift, it can’t be of works. That should be obvious. Someone puts in a tough month of work and his employer comes to him with his paycheck and declares, “Good job, Joe, here’s your gift!” No–Joe worked for what he was paid. No gift was involved.

Regarding a person who works, Romans:4:4 tells us that his wages are a payment for the debt his employer owes him, and his paycheck has nothing to do with grace or a gift. A worker who has done a good job can boast or feel a sense of pride in the work he has accomplished. Yet all of that is contrary to grace or a gift. Grace rules out any sense of merit, and a gift does away with any sense of something earned or paid for.

Paul’s teaching in Ephesians is affirmed in his epistle to Titus, chapter 3, verse 4:

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. [Emphasis added]

We can see that this is consistent with Ephesians:2:8-9 It’s not by our works that we are saved–not by works of righteousness that we have done –but it’s by His mercy that we are saved.

You may well imagine that, as a Roman Catholic conditioned by a life of Church rules and rituals, I had great difficulty believing that faith was the only basis by which I could enter heaven. It didn’t make sense to me.

Well, not only does it make sense–it’s the only possible way anyone can be saved. It is miraculously sensible!

First of all, what keeps anyone from heaven or eternal life with God? We know that the answer is “sin.” Here is a small sampling of the applicable verses: All have sinned (Romans:3:23); the wages of sin is death (Romans:6:23); sin separates us from God (Isaiah:59:2); the soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel:18:20); sin brings forth death (James:1:15).

In Genesis 2, God explains to Adam the consequences of disobeying Him. Adam was told not to eat from a certain fruit in the Garden of Eden. It was a commandment that was related to obedience and love–not of God’s withholding something from Adam, as the Serpent implied. Remember, Jesus said “If a man love me, he will keep my words,” that is, His teachings (John:14:23). Our love for God is demonstrated by our obedience.

What was God’s penalty for disobedience? Genesis:2:17: “…for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam and Eve loved themselves more than they loved God, because they didn’t “keep [His] words.” They disobeyed Him, and the consequence was death. “The day you eat of it you will surely die.” In the Scriptures, death always involves separation, and in God’s judgment upon them, two applications are found:
1) physical death (the degeneration of the body, leading ultimately to its separation from the soul and spirit), and
2) eternal separation from God.

salvation_chart1

Adam and Eve did not die instantly, but the death process began at that point for them and for all creation. However, their spiritual relationship with God changed immediately and forever. God’s judgment for sin is eternal: separation from God forever. It’s an infinite penalty. And God, who is perfect in all of His attributes, including justice, had to carry out the punishment. He couldn’t let them slide by and just give them another chance. That would have meant that He was not perfectly true to His Word. The penalty had to be paid.

So what could Adam and Eve do? Nothing, except die physically and spiritually, which is to be separated from God forever. And what can the rest of mankind do, seeing that all have sinned? Nothing. Well, one might ask, what if we do all sorts of good deeds that might outweigh our sins, or if we go to church a lot, or get baptized, do religious things, receive the sacraments, and so forth? None of those things will help us. Why? Because they don’t pay the penalty. So what can we do? There is nothing that we can do-except to pay the penalty ourselves by being separated from God forever.

salvation_chart2

Our situation would be absolutely hopeless except that God has some other attributes in addition to being perfectly just. He is also perfect in love and mercy! “For God so loved the world” that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the penalty for us (John:3:16).

And that is exactly what Jesus did on the Cross. It is incomprehensible to us that during those three hours of darkness (when He cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”) He took on the sins of the world and suffered the wrath of His Father-for us. On the Cross He “tasted death for every man” (Hebrews:2:9), that is, He experienced and paid the infinite penalty for everyone’s sins.

When that divine accomplishment ended, Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” meaning that the penalty had been paid in full. It was a divine accomplishment because it was something that only God could do! God became a man and died physically, because physical death was part of the penalty. Yet, as the God-Man, he was able to experience fully the penalty that every sinner would experience–being spiritually separated from God forever.

salvation_chart3

God’s justice demands payment. Either we pay the penalty ourselves or we turn to Jesus by faith and receive the benefits of His sacrificial atonement. What does Roman 6:23 say? “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Bible could not be more clear that salvation can only be “the gift of God” and that we can only appropriate that gift by faith.

romans_3_22

Any attempt to merit salvation by our works is not just futile–it is impossible: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James:2:10). Worse yet, it is a denial of the infinite penalty that God imposed, a rejection of God’s “unspeakable gift,” and a repudiation of what Christ accomplished for us.

It used to be that most evangelicals would agree. This is no longer the case as the apostasy gathers momentum in these Last Days. Recently, a Pew Forum survey of more than 40,000 Americans found that 57 percent of those who said they were evangelicals believed that Jesus is not the exclusive way to heaven. Since Jesus is the only one who provides divine accomplishment, all that remains is the futile delusion of human achievement for salvation. TBC

Related Articles:

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Don’t Fence Me In (ONE WAY)
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Salvation (for Richmond VA) (ONE WAY)
Is One Way the Only Way? (Orble.com)

 

Reblogged from http://pilgrimpassing.com/2013/01/20/are-we-saved-by-works-or-faith/

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