Sunday, January 22, 2012

Part 2 Intro to Salvation (Sacraments)

This is a continuation of a previous post, Part 1, Intro to Salvation.

So relationship with Jesus takes time. It doesn't happen instantaneously when we recite a prayer or read some scriptures that support our new found freedom in Christ. How does one engage in relationship with Jesus if He can't be "seen"? How did the people who came to faith after Jesus left this earth do it? Well, here's where the concept of sacraments comes in. When I first heard the word "sacrament", I admit I went into defense mode. But a sacrament is simply a visible representation of a thing unseen. Every sacrament is a visible reminder of God's love for us or "graces" He gives us for life & Godliness. Its through the sacraments that we can come to know Christ. In the Catholic Church, there are seven: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, reconciliation, holy orders, marriage & the anointing of the sick.

These aren't listed in the Bible like the attributes of Love or the Fruits of the Spirit are. In fact, some might say there's no such thing as a "sacrament" because Jesus didn't mention them specifically. But how can we really know all that He said or didn't say? A verse I hear rattled off repeatedly is 2 Timothy 3:16, which essentially says "All scripture is inspired by God & is useful for teaching, training, etc..." The argument here is that if its not in scripture, its not God's inspiration. Yet even Jesus says in John 5:39 "You search the scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the scriptures point to Me!" Paul affirms all scripture is God breathed, but He doesn't say anything to the completeness of it. Think about all those times you've gone to the Bible looking for an answer & there's nothing... Not everything is written. Can you imagine the entire Word of the Eternal God put into print? Of course not. Its impossible. So how can we surmise that everything we need is contained in our Bibles alone?

This is where the sacraments come in. Paul reminds us that yes, scripture is useful for discipleship, but he never implies that's all we have. We've also been given the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. Truth is found in Jesus Christ Himself. Who can say Catholics are right or wrong to consider oral tradition just as inspired as the written word, especially on matters of salvation? Who can say the institution of the seven sacraments is not Biblical simply because they aren't written out in scripture? John 16:13

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