Move Towards God Not Away

Matthew 6:33
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you

I have said this before, but I really do believe God uses anything and everything to sanctify us which is always pointing us to Him and His word. I learned a thing from my dog Leo, who is ultra obedient. That is when we stumble, or we make a mistake we should not move away from our Master, but run towards Him.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If Leo ever does something I disapprove of, he instinctively comes right to me, he immediately sits at attention looking at me, telling me that he knows I disapproved or that he made a mistake. It doesn’t take yelling or chasing him ever, he just does this naturally. He acknowledges that he made a mistake and that’s the end of it.

Sadly, we as human beings struggle with our pride. We naturally stumble, make mistakes, we get out of line, yet our first instinct is to cover it up as if our Master, God the Almighty, did not see it. In a fallen state, we believe some or most of our sins stay covered up, as if God overlooked them, and the only accountability we will face is from our peers who may or may not deserve our respect.

If you have been born again, you realize the ever watching eye of God and His grace to forgive you of a sin. So instead of running away from God, we should be doing as Leo does with me, we should immediately run to Him, and confess to our iniquities. God is quick to forgive if you weren’t aware. If you believe Jesus paid your sin debt on the Cross, you have been forgiven. But this does not mean we do not continue to confess our sins.

Some false teachings will claim this is a “work” or this confession is not needed…NO! Because we aren’t confessing any longer to be saved, we are confessing to strengthen our relationship with God in the process of sanctification. If you are a part of God’s family, He is your eternal Father now. He has set you apart in His Son Jesus Christ who paid the ultimate price on your behalf to make you part of His family.

Like every relationship, your life IN Christ grows and it matures. Jesus is not your “buddy”, He is not your equal, He is your KING. A King which deserves your utmost and highest respect always and your obedience. If you get out of line, if you stumble, run to Him, don’t run away from Him. Confess your sins in sorrow, ask Him to help you from re-committing that sin. Don’t think He does not see what is going on, or that you are on your own. Again, you are apart of His family, the church!

As a Roman Catholic at one time, I really never understood this relationship because I never really had one with Jesus Christ. My confession was to a priest who I had thought worked on my behalf. I praise God that He showed me this was NOT the case. A Christian is permitted to go directly to the KING, there are no mediators before Him as Catholicism would teach. We confess our sins directly to the High Priest, Jesus Christ, who is always interceding on our behalf!

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Remember, we are ONLY perfect IN Jesus Christ, not on our own. We will stumble, we will make mistakes, and fortunately there is never-ending unconditional grace and mercy with God. We couldn’t out-sin that grace if we tried, but why would anyone even desire to try?

Again, a saved sinner is not confessing their sins to be saved or to keep their justification in tact, Jesus paid your debt, we confess to strengthen our relationship with Him, to grow and mature in obedience in Him, to really realize that His name now is your name now and with that comes the respect Jesus Christ the Lord God Almighty always deserves from you.

So RUN TO THE KING! Don’t run away! He will always lead you to green pastures and your relationship will grow!

Keep it Simple to Catholics

If you are a Christian and plan on witnessing to Catholics, my advice to your is to KEEP IT SIMPLE at first. Do not delve immediately into mechanics of Scripture, bouncing around trying to refute every single doctrine of the RCC.

The simplest starting refutation is how one is saved. Ask them to provide you how one must be saved or do they expect to get into heaven. And then provide the Gospel truth. Don’t bring in Marian doctrines, purgatory, false RCC traditions and don’t allow them to either. Keep the focus on how one must be saved. Provide the them the truth from Scripture, and keep the conversation simple.

Remember, Catholics are NOT studying Scripture in their faith. Converts from a protestant church will have a grounding in Scripture, but mainly try to use it only as a defense of the RCC doctrines. Though it is not a requirement for Catholics to be completely intelligent when it comes to Scripture, nor is there any accountability for this from the RCC.

So with the majority of Catholics, going to systematic theology from the get go or using words such as imputation is not going to register with them. They may nod their head in agreement, or most of the time they will try using a RCC talking point they memorized, but most of the time they really have no clue what in the world you are talking about if you get into Scriptural mechanics with them. They don’t want to APPEAR to look stupid, so they will try their best to play along with you. Avoid this with them, your teaching to them would be like a 5 year old trying to learn quantum mechanics in a day. I am not being mean here, it is the truth for the majority of Catholics in society.

Keep it SIMPLE at first. Why Jesus died for us, what salvation is, who Jesus is, and why faith in Him is the only way. They think they know who Jesus is for example, but it is the RCC version, not the Jesus of Scripture. Explain His deity, why His existence was more than a birth by Mary in Bethlehem. They view Jesus in just 3 basic ways. One, as an infant or child of Mary, two as a good teacher, and three as one who is perpetually dying on the cross for sins in their Eucharist, a Jesus encapsulated in a wafer and some wine. They need to be taught that He is and was MUCH MUCH more than these 3 basic views. Also they need to be taught WHY Jesus would leave His eternal throne and become incarnated. To a nominal Catholic, it was to prop up Mary, to glorify her as His mother, and that wafer (host) the priest holds up during a Mass.

In this keeping it simple approach, KEEP THEM FOCUSED. When there is something they do not like hearing, expect them to try and change and divert the conversation onto you or something else. Let’s face it, if they don’t agree with the basic Gospel, anything else you try to refute will be useless. So try and not move onto another doctrine or falsity, which is tempting to do, and they are hoping you will. The goal is to keep them off the merry go round.

They key here in witnessing is EDUCATION. Educate yourself on what Catholics believe, and why they believe it, focus on one or two things and become an expert on them. If you can convince a Catholic of the falsity, you accomplished a major duty! The crack in the wall will lead to MANY other cracks. You will just waste time on trying to convince them immediately off the get go ALL the falsities they currently are following. Try one at a time, if that first building block doesn’t go well, move along. Or when you come back to that same Catholic, try it again, stick with that simplicity until they begin to understand before moving along.

The Catholic Void – The Gospel

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear

What you will find with Catholics, both young and old, is the utter void in being able to express in any way the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is a snippet of a recent conversation I had with a Catholic and is quite typical as to what you will hear.

Catholic: “The Good News needs to be proclaimed, not turned into a quiz.”

Me: Can you please share with me the Good News?

Catholic: You tell me

Me: I see you said “Good News”, I asked you what is that Good News

Catholic: I know what it is, so do you I think.

Me: So what is that Good News? I want to make sure I am sharing the right one.

Catholic: We read the Gospel at every mass.

Me: So what is the Good News?

Catholic: Dude, I don’t owe you anything.

Me: The Gospel is not read, it is lived by every Christian because the Good News is the power unto salvation. So what is this Good News?

Catholic: You are being hateful.

Yes, this is how it always generally goes. This particular Catholic by her admission has been in the RCC for over 3 decades, yet could not share this Good News. It speaks to evidence that this cannot be a Christian church, nor a church a Jesus is building.

A Catholic can recite all their favorite talking points on the RCC, these are memorized, they know them quite well. “We gave the world the Bible”, “Our church was founded by Jesus 2,000 years ago”, and so on. They can also in a second tell you all the great things they know about Mary, and their personal witness in Mary. However, when pressed on the VERY ESSENCE of Christianity, which is the Gospel? They go silent, they resist, they behave like a criminal trying to hide a crime.

This blindness does not discriminate in the RCC. I can ask a Catholic 8-9 decades in the RCC, never missed a Mass, yet they would have a very similar dialogue with me as shown above in regards to the Gospel.

For the record? I too was this blind Catholic for 4 decades. I could not have shared the Gospel with you if my life depended on it. It was NOT until I was born again, and repented of Catholicism, that God enabled and enlightened me to His Good News.

The Good News in a nutshell?
We are born fallen sinners, enemies of God in every way. Our sins have separated us from God for an eternity. In His infinite love, grace, and mercy, God sent His Perfect Son, Jesus Christ, who left His throne to be born from a virgin, and then to march to a lonely Cross where He was beaten, tortured, suffered, and then died on our behalf. By His death, this completed perfect work, He atoned for every single sin of those who have placed their faith alone in Him. He bridged the eternal gap between man and God by this redemption. He rose three days later from death, and by this those who have been redeemed shall TOO rise again to eternal life! Jesus conquered sin and death! The Good News is, that Jesus Christ unconditionally REDEEMED every sinner who has simply place their whole faith and trust alone in Him. His perfect righteousness has become your righteousness by grace through faith! The Good News is that those IN Christ shall never die, they shall live eternally with Him! And more Good News? God never breaks a promise! Take it to the bank, if you have been saved, there is 110 percent complete assurance in the person and work of Jesus Christ! Good News!

What is preventing you from believing this Good News? What is preventing you from sharing this Good News? Rid yourself of it, repent of the thing preventing you, remove the roadblock once and for all! Catholics, who have been stirred, it is time to LEAVE THE RCC!

What Catholics Are Not Seeing

The first thing you should know and understand about Catholics, is that most view themselves as “good people”. They are fine upstanding members of their community. They attend Mass, they haven’t murdered anyone, they haven’t stolen anything or cursed as much as others do, in their mind they are subjectively keeping the commandments. They go to confession, confess their sins of which they know they have committed to a priest, and do their penance. By this they remain “good people”.

The Pharisee of old had this very mindset. However, they took it even further than Catholics and invoked many laws of religious piosity of which they followed, so that they were seen as more morally “good” by God. And we see in Scripture the utter rebuke Jesus gave them each time they tried to invoke that religious “goodness”. Jesus never said “great job!”..No! He rebuked them for not believing in the only One, Himself, by His PERFECT righteousness only they could be saved.

So what are Catholics NOT seeing as the Pharisees did not see? That they are vile enemies and sinners in God’s sight. Moral relativism which is a staple to Catholicism has deceived them into thinking they are “good”, or in “a state of grace” with God. They like the Pharisees are NOT depending on Jesus Christ’s righteousness to save them, but their own.

If you don’t believe me? Try this test. If you know a religious Catholic, watch their reaction when you say “you are nothing but a vile, rotten, wretched, sinner in God’s sight”. This was enough to get me immediately bounced out of a Facebook group for telling a Catholic this truth. They will revile and coil up in anger if they are told this truth, that we are all sinners, born and sworn enemies of God. And that the only way one can be seen as “righteous” is to place their faith alone in the perfectly Holy and Righteous One, Jesus Christ. And by this, His righteousness is credited to you! The Good News!

What Christians can admit and Catholics cannot is that we are ALL decrepit rotten and evil sinners. That God is holy, and no human being is! Quite simply they diminish God’s holiness by the idolatry of the human being. It is how they can say with ease that “Mary was sinless” and their pope is called “His Holiness”. Neither would be holy outside of Jesus Christ, but it is something Catholics do not see. They are blinded to this fact.

Because IF you really contemplated who God is, eternally holy, not a sinful inclination from all eternity, not even a thought to sin, and then compared yourself to Him? You could SEE that you are a sinner in NEED of a Savior. Until then, you will allow yourself to be deceived by the devil who whispers “you are good” and “no Jesus Christ is needed”.

Phases as a Former Catholic

Leaving the RCC after God has opened your eyes to His truth is a highly exciting time, it can be one of the most stressful times. But the good greatly outweighs the stress.

First Phase – The Sounding Horn
The first thing I for one realized is that I had been deceived. I wanted every Catholic around me in my life to also realize this. “Can’t you see this?” was the desperate question which enveloped me. Every part of you wants to scream out the Good News of Jesus Christ which just saved you. You want everyone to know. You can get down on yourself because what you will quickly realize, is that salvation is by grace alone, you are not the converter. So you will be rejected more times than not. The key is to trust in the Gospel, let God do the rest.

Second Phase – Anger at the RCC
It is natural to be angry at the RCC. They managed to employ decades of deception and you feel scammed. Unfortunately it is called “life”. We all have to deal with it in this fallen world. No one is above deception. The mere picture of the pope, or stepping into a RCC turns your stomach. This is a natural reaction for a new creation in Christ. So no, it is not abnormal. But don’t let your righteous anger turn into non-righteous anger. Be careful that you don’t preach falsehoods about the RCC for sake of this anger. And so that Catholics you are witnessing to know where your anger is directed, it is not at them, but the RCC which has been deceiving them.

Third Phase – Love for Catholics
As you mature in Christ, the Gospel is also growing in your witness. The love for Catholics in this is your zeal to be truthful and bold with them. There is now an urgency in sharing the Gospel with them. You do not discriminate just to your friend/family, but now the Gospel is going to all. You see Catholics as unsaved, and in love, you desire their salvation. This love grows, it doesn’t diminish. You study the CCC more to find out more ways to show Catholics HOW they had been deceived. You study and fellowship more with other former Catholics and Christians so to grow your witness, to be more effective.

Fourth Phase – Comfort in Your Salvation
At first you could never have stepped foot in another RCC, the anger, and deception you experienced was much too painful. Now as you grow and mature, you are able to attend a funeral for a Catholic friend, not participating in the Mass, but are comfortable enough to mourn with the mourning now. Sometimes the pain and hurt have not subsided, don’t worry, it isn’t because you aren’t growing, it is because God is still working His purpose in you, molding you in your witness. But in this phase, you are completely comfortable to witness to any Catholic, because you are more at rest in Jesus Christ. Nothing can get to you. Your anger has subsided, as time has healed you by the grace of God.