Rome Got This One Right … Somewhat

by Joseph Franks

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Yesterday, Pope Francis issued forth a new “apostolic letter” or papal declaration. He declared that, at least until the end of his tenure, Roman Catholic priests could offer forgiveness to mothers and medical practitioners who had committed the sin of abortion. Previously, only Roman Catholic bishops or special confessors could grant absolution for such mortal sin, but now local priests around the globe could encourage the souls of penitents in their congregations and welcome them back to the table of the Lord. In a translation of his speech, Pope Francis said:

I want to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin since it puts an end to an innocent life, but there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with him.

Yes, the Roman Catholic Church still insists upon many odd ancient traditions, unbiblical rituals, and heretical teachings. In this particular case, they continue to overplay the bishop’s and priest’s role in granting forgiveness. Confession, absolution, and penance in their practice looks quite different than that granted by the Father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. And more importantly, the Roman Catholic Church continues to confuse justification with sanctification thereby adding human works to unconditional divine grace. However, yesterday, in continuing to celebrate the “Holy Year of Mercy,” the Roman Pontiff moved his people closer to biblical truth and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yesterday, Pope Francis offered mercy, grace, and forgiveness to repenting sinners who had committed murder. Divine pardon, reconciliation, and communion was offered to men and women who had grossly and intentionally sinned against God and man.


Friends, Pope Francis got this one right:

There is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with him.

Moses, David, and Paul were granted mercy and grace despite their sins of murder.

Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba were forgiven and reconciled to God though they were sexually unchaste.

In his last hour on the cross, both the blasphemous centurion and convict were granted undeserved paradise by Jesus. So too were many other heretical bishops and priests in the days that followed.

Repugnant and fraudulent materialists like Matthew and Zacchaeus were forgiven.

The vilest of pagans, like the Nineties and Nebuchadnezzar, were beloved by God and will be found amongst the victorious saints at the table of the Lord.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul encouraged his grossly sinful friends with the following words:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Horrendous sinner, do not listen to the propaganda of Satan or the lies of legalistic and heretical churchmen. Regardless of your transgression, complete pardon awaits you at the feet of the Savior. Jesus Christ came to earth to wash away all the sin of all his people. There is no distinction between venial and mortal sins. [In reality, all sins are mortal.] There is no stain too black that his precious blood cannot easily cover. Though your sins be red like crimson you can be bleached white as snow. Murderous rebel, all you must do is what we have done. All you must do is confess, hate, mourn, believe, and come to Jesus. When you do so, instantaneously, you can be welcomed in the presence of God, at the table of the Lord, amongst other pardoned criminals.

Yesterday, Pope Francis got it right … somewhat:

There is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with him.

You need not go to a priest. You need not go to a bishop. You need only go to the Great High Priest who is Jesus Christ, and he is in your presence right now. However, if you need a friend to pray with you, send me an email or give me a call. I cannot grant you forgiveness, but I can hold your hand as you go and talk to the One who can.

 

 

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