Many of the practices of the Catholic Church are in direct contradiction to the Word of God. There are numerous rites and rituals imposed upon its congregants from the Vatican – far too many to chronicle in this brief essay – but the one I’ll comment on today deals with its priests.
The writer of Hebrews laid out how in following the Law the Jews could never realize truth and freedom. Why was that? It’s stated in Hebrews 10:1:
For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
In a sense, what is said here is similar to the definition of insanity as stated by Albert Einstein:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
What did the Old Testament priest do? They offered the same sacrifices time after time, year after year, in the expectation of their sins being forgiven. Insanity. They never fully were because the moment the sacrifice was completed, a new body of sin would arise to burden the people. And so, this is why Hebrews 10:3-4 says:
But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
The reality was that these sacrifices and offerings brought Yahweh no pleasure. Indeed, over the years the people of Israel in worshiping this way did it with hearts far from God. They went through the motions and lost the reason for honoring Him. Obligation through strict legalism became their rationale.
It’s for this reason that Jesus Christ came to this world. God wanted there to be a better way. Jesus did this through the offering of His body as a living sacrifice, both to do away with the repetitive blood offering of bulls and goats, and to do God’s will in a manner pleasing to Him.
This brought an amazing benefit as noted in Hebrews 10:10:
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
If something is done once and it’s done for all, as opposed to that which was endlessly repeated by each individual, that’s a sea change in methodology and results. It led to this declaration in Hebrews 10:14:
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
The single instance of Christ’s sacrifice sufficed for everyone. It meant that the priests would no more be required to bring continual blood offerings – Jesus became that very sacrifice. No longer would the people have to purchase an animal for its blood to be shed on their behalf. Jesus did it all!
And so, the Lord declares in Hebrews 17-18:
… “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
The result of what Jesus did is the invitation from God that invites us in Hebrews 10:22 to:
… let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
What had been lost through rote, rite, and ritual could be regained as hearts were changed, minds transformed, and lives brought into alignment with God’s will.
But what has the Vatican imposed upon its people? Essentially the very system that Jesus did away with through the sacrificial gift of His very life. The Catholic Church doesn’t do blood sacrifices, but it does crucify Jesus over and over each time Mass is taken. In their view, as signified by the crucifix, He remains on the cross. His work there wasn’t sufficient for the absolute cleansing of sins. More must be done. They must be purged by human agency. To do this, the Vatican requires its people to attend Mass or effectively lose salvation points. They must take the Eucharist under the false notion that it is transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus each time, something the Lord never intended. It was to be a remembrance, not a means of “work” that we must do for salvation’s sake.
In effect, Catholicism does the opposite of what Hebrews says: The people are to remember their sins and lawless deeds so that they can take the necessary actions to eliminate them through their own efforts. It’s a complete abomination of the intent of God, as it results in hearts that can never be given the true assurance of faith.
God has given us a great gift through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has done all that’s necessary for us to come into right relationship with the God of all creation. What a wondrous present to mankind! Let us glory in this, and give Him all our hearts and lives, now and forever!