Allow me to make reference to the Old Testament and sin offering. A sinner would go to the Jewish priest with a lamb without blemish. He MUST lay his hand on the lamb. This signified a transferring of sin to the lamb and acquiring the lamb’s innocence. The lamb had to die. Sin must DIE. Under the New Covenant, Jesus is the Lamb of God. The Messiah is our offering. HOWEVER, one cannot physically lay hands on the lamb of God. This is how one lays hands on Jesus and acquires His righteousness: whoever BELIEVES/FAITH that He is the son of God becomes righteous. This is unmistakably the most fundamental building block of Christianity!
When a believer in faith bows down in prayer they have instant access to God, justified by Jesus. When I ask someone else to intercede, I have downplayed the biggest sacrifice; the very reason God became man. It was so that whoever believed should not perish. Otherwise, I have put my FAITH in something other than His dying for my sins. In effect, I have said that even though Christ did die for my sins and I am justified before God. It is still not good enough. So stop going to saint Mary! Worthless are cries of please intercede! JESUS said “I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND LIFE NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT BY ME.” That truth was absolute. There is no negotiating it. When He said on the Cross “IT IS FINISHED,” He meant just that.
You call into question the following:
1. The manner in which Jesus offers a sacrifice of propitiation as the Lamb of God.
2. The extension of the paschal mystery into the life of the Church and the sacraments.
3. The participation in the one-time suffering and death of Jesus.
4. The definition of saving faith as combined with obedience (works) and accessed first through baptism.
5. The inner unity of Jesus as a divine Person but made fully human.
6. The significance of the Church, communion of the saints and intercessory prayer.
What you initially discuss is an appreciation of substitution. The blood of the lamb is sacrificed so that the believer might be spared, as with the Jews when the first born of Egypt suffered the angel of death.
You assert that with Jesus as “the Lamb of God,” no one could physically lay hands upon him. This is false and calls into question the graphic truth of the incarnation. It is a variation upon the heresy of the Nestorians. The Second Person of the Trinity takes to himself human flesh, he becomes Man. Thus he is able to lay down his life, enduring the indignity of the scourging and crucifixion. Jesus really did die on the Cross. The Mass is an unbloody but real re-presentation of this saving mystery. We are born again by water and the spirit. As God’s people, we come back again and again to the Lord so that our sins might be washed away and that we might be filled with grace. There is a spiritual operation here connected to Calvary, the last Supper and the sacraments.
Faith and baptism allows us to be engaged by the Paschal Mystery of Christ, his suffering, dying, rising and ascension. Our belief or faith is equivalent to obedience. God’s response is the gift of salvation for the redeemed. Christ is obedient to the Father even unto the Cross. He calls us to imitate his fidelity by taking up our crosses and following him.
Intercession to saints or to the Church is an acknowledgement that ours is both a personal and a corporate Lord and Savior. We gather to pray as the Church and our Lord tells us that he is present. There is no competition or downplaying the oblation of the Cross. Far from it, our unity with each other is expressive of the reality of the Church that Jesus instituted. You deny this truth from God’s Word and embrace a Baptist tradition that denies the ongoing nature of faith, obedience and the need for communion with the Church. You short-change revelation and deprive yourself of the full benefits of Christ oblation. You say you are justified before the Lord and yet this too may be a sinful presumption. You cannot save yourself. Only God can save you. Many will cry, “Lord, Lord,” and Jesus will respond, “I tell you, I do not know you.” The Church is the Body of Christ. If you attack the Church, you assault Jesus.
Mary intercedes, but by always beseeching us to follow her Son. She beckons that we might know and love him. All prayer, even intercessory, finds God as its proper object. The saints pray with and for us. We are not alone.
The saving work of Jesus is accomplished in that Jesus will never suffer and die again. But the saving power and effects of his work are still being realized in the lives of believers. It is in this sense that it will not be finished or over until the consummation of the world to Christ. The story of salvation is still being told in our lives.
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