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Table of Contents - 32

 

1995 by Rick Jones
Reproduced by Permission

Penance

Another series of good works which Catholicism requires is known as penance:

"Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must 'make satisfaction for' or 'expiate' his sins. This satisfaction is also called 'penance.'" Pg. 366, #1459

Millions of Catholics around the world faithfully perform penance, believing these good works are required by God to "make amends for" their sins and to restore them to "full spiritual health."

However, the written Scriptures reveal that this practice is another tradition of men that defies God's Word and degrades the work Christ did on the cross.

As we have already covered, Christ paid the full price for our sins at Calvary. To believe that good works are necessary to recover one's "full spiritual health" is to deny God's Word. God makes this promise to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ:

"And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where re-mission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." Hebrews 10:17-18

God promises never to remember the sins of true Christians, and declares that once sins are forgiven through faith in Christ, there is no more offering for sin. In other words, there aren't any works you can do that will cause your sins to be forgiven. Christ did it all!

Yet, the Catechism keeps pouring out man-made rules:

"The penance the confessor imposes must take into account the penitent's personal situation and must seek his spiritual good. It must correspond as far as possible with the gravity and nature of the sins committed." Pg 367, #1460

The Catechism even defines specific good works that can constitute penance:

"(Penance) can consist of prayer, an offering, works of mercy, service of neighbor, voluntary self-denial, sacrifices, and above all the patient acceptance of the cross we must bear." Pg 367, #1460

But God has never demanded good works for forgiveness of sins:

"For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee." Psalm 86:5

The Bible declares that Christians are justified through Jesus Christ, not good works:

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ... for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Galatians 2:16

Paul knew that if righteousness was earned through good works, then Christ died for nothing:

"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Galatians 2:21

The Catechism even extends this tradition to suggest that penance can help the dead:

"The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:" Pg. 269, #1032

Like cement blocks on a concrete wall, they keep piling, tradition on top of tradition. And every one violates clear teachings of Scripture.

Three Questions

This Catholic doctrine raises at least three more questions you must answer for yourself:

  • Is it a coincidence that this unbiblical doctrine keeps people in bondage to the Catholic church?
  • Why does Catholicism again demote Jesus Christ by insisting that His sacrifice was not sufficient, and that Catholics must add their own sacrifice to pay for sins?
  • Lastly, and most importantly, who will you side with on this issue?... the traditions of men, or the Word of God?
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." Romans 3:28