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Why We Believe Our Works Don't Earn Anything

Why We Believe Our Works Don't Earn Anything

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Published by: Grace Church Modesto on Nov 22, 2013
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08/14/2014

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“Why We Believe Our Works Don’t Earn Anything” (Luke 17:7-10) I. Introduction. A. Orientation. Two weeks ago, We started a mini-series – Within our current series On why we believe what we believe – To follow up On what we saw three Lord’s Days ago When we considered again the Reformation And what the Lord used To begin that Reformation about: Namely, Luther’s reaction To the church’s teaching on indulgences. Indulgences, remember, Are “basically credits for the Church Militant (us here on earth) and the Church Suffering (the poor souls in purgatory) from the spiritual storehouse that is the Catholic Church. Saints throughout history have offered up their sufferings, mortifications, alms, and good works as capital in the Church’s spiritual warehouse. And it is all there for OUR benefit.” As I mentioned last time, Jesus’ merits are also in this treasury, As well as something I didn’t mention – Those of the Virgin Mary,
 
2 Whose prayers and good works are, according to the Roman church, “truly immense, and even pristine in their value before God” (CC 1477). The Roman church makes a distinction, As we’ve seen, Between the guilt that is yours For committing sins, And the temporal punishment That is due to you for those sins. They believe Jesus’ sacrifice cancels out all our guilt – In their view, If one receives baptism, Regularly partakes in the Mass or communion, Makes confession, and receives absolution – But the satisfaction He makes For our temporal punishment – Though infinite and inexhaustible – Isn’t applied directly to us. Rather, it’s stored in the treasury of merits, Along with the excess merit of Mary and the saints – Their sufferings, mortifications, alms and good works – And dispensed through the church By means of indulgences.
 
3 Why doesn’t the Roman church – If they really believe this to be true, And believe they have the authority To open this treasury, Simply open it And let the poor souls Suffering in purgatory Come out, And keep the souls of the saints From entering there in the first place? In the best light, It’s because they want to use this treasure To encourage God’s people to do good works. We read in the Catholic Catechism under indulgences, “An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins.
Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity
” (1478). They’re basically saying That if the church made it too easy To go to heaven, It would encourage us to ungodliness Rather than godliness.

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