The Sacraments Do Not Save You; Your Faith in Christ Does ; The Gospel of Salvation in the Scriptures Vs The Sacramental Life as Necessary for Salvation Gospel Part 1

He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong. (2Co 12:9-10 WEB)

The above verse is Scripture, and it talks about how grace works. Read Grace  – Unmerited Divine Favor to understand more about what scripture says about the grace of God.

I was Raised in the Sacramental Life

I was raised being taught that the sacramental life, a life of regular participation (daily, if possible, although many do not) in the sacraments was required for salvation. And the Roman Catholic Church taught me that the only way to receive God’s grace was to regularly partake of the sacraments.  The sacraments were part of my life even going back generations before I was born.

That I was born and raised a Roman Catholic was because of my wonderful Grandmother Smith. Some of us affectionately remember her as Josie as her name was Josephine. My grandmother told me that life centered around the church where she grew up in what was called the Rusyn (not Russian) region of central Europe, an area around the Carpathian Mountains that included locations in Ukraine, Hungary, Austria – Poland, and others.[1] She said that the Rusyn Orthodox Church was the center of community life with all of the gatherings of family and friends around the sacraments like communion and baptism, periods of the year like Lent and Advent, and church holy days like Christmas and Easter. She said that growing up these events were the reason for most of the gatherings of people she went to.

In the 1890s there was a depression in Europe. My grandmother described the times then and even up to the Great War as extremely hard especially for the working class. She said times were so hard that they wound up having as many as 10 people living in a tiny house somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains with little to eat at times and cold winters. She told me stories of eating dandelions and other weeds, berries, and roots they found in the woods at times as well as what they could muster to grow in the garden plus what people could earn from working while unemployment was high.

Companies in prosperous places like Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and Kansas City Missouri were advertising for workers in those areas, and somehow someone decided that my grandmother, just a teenager, would make the trip to Pittsburgh PA in hopes of having a better life.  Young Josie bravely traveled alone over 4000 miles and across an ocean from her home to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to start a new life.

After my grandmother settled in Pittsburgh, she couldn’t find a Rusyn Orthodox Church so she decided to go to the Roman Catholic church because it was the church physically close enough to travel to that had the closest church life compared to what she grew up with. When she married my grandfather, he went along with it. That sealed the fate of her family; We became Roman Catholic.

That’s the story for so many of us born into the Roman Catholic Church; Roman Catholics are compelled to raise their children in the Roman Catholic faith. When I came along, I was baptized as an infant into the Roman Catholic Church and later enrolled in Catholic schools.

Consequently, I was baptized as an infant, celebrated my first communion at about seven years old, and received communion at Mass for years. I regularly attended confession to receive the sacrament of penance and often communion that day or the next. I was confirmed at about 12 years old, and I was married in my early 20s in the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, I participated in five of the seven sacraments that are currently recognized by the Catholic Church. (Holy orders and last rites would be the other two sacraments that I did not participate in.) Like a lot of Catholics, I considered sacraments to be instrumental to walking in faith in the church. I still remember it being drummed into me in Catholic Grade and High School.

As I’ve said elsewhere, I considered the priesthood as a vocation and took the pre-seminary course in Catholic high school. I’m saying all this to show that I was sincere in following the sacramental life as prescribed by the Roman Catholic Church.

The sacraments look to be beautiful rituals done in a solemn manner.  There are priests or ministers usually clothed in beautiful outfits called vestments.  Vestments are uniforms that the church has designated to show that the ritual being done is done in the person of Christ rather than the name of the priest.[2] These vested ministers may walk solemnly in processions accompanied by altar boys. Especially in the Roman church, there may be declarations done in Latin or other ancient languages. There may be doxologies or benedictions proclaimed to the congregation. The people are dressed nicely also, regularly in their “Sunday best”.  And, of course, there is the setting, which is the church, which can vary from simple to ornate on a grand scale.  All of that adds up to make for an atmosphere that gives the impression that something very significant is happening.

But while they have a form, an appearance of godliness, sacraments really have no power because how God grants grace is not how the Catechism says. There is no grace granted in sacramental rituals.  Scripture teaches that God grants grace as we walk with him, whenever and wherever.  God grants grace when we give cheerfully, when we are humble, when we praise him, and more.

Sacramentalism is part of the Roman Catholic tradition, which is estimated to be practiced by over a billion people now worldwide. And sacraments are practiced by other traditions as well.

The Sacraments are not Saving You, Your Faith in Jesus Is

I know Catholics, even Lutherans, and other protestants who believe in Jesus and also in the sacraments. I’m sorry if this message is hard for you. It really is this simple message; The sacraments aren’t saving you, your faith in Christ is saving you. And sacraments are not the vehicles of grace that some claim.

There is a problem in the traditions that practice sacraments.  The sacraments and the teachings they are based on, the vestments, rituals, processions, and more involved in these rituals are not following anything that the apostles established when they wrote:

So then, brothers, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you were taught by us, whether by word, or by letter. (2Th 2:15 WEB)

Interestingly, I found a Catholic resource that says that Catholicism is following this verse and then provided a list of some 30-odd references that they say prove that the sacrament of confirmation is completely in line with scripture.  I will use resources like this later in part 2 to evaluate whether the references used teach the sacrament of confirmation or not.

The Roman Catholic Church insists that it is the continuation of the apostles’ tradition started some two thousand years ago.  But, like the Pharisees of Judaism, they claim that the scriptures that we were left with were not complete and so a lot of Christianity still had to be developed.  Like the Pharisees, they added to doctrine and developed a huge tradition beyond the writings of the apostles.

Instead of just the scripture in the Torah, The Pharisees and Jews had their Talmud which grew to many times the size of the Torah.  Instead of just scripture in the writings of the apostles, the Catholics have their “Magisterium” which consists of all the infallible doctrines that have accrued over the ages from their different sources like, certainly, the scriptures, but also Great Council edicts, Papal Bulls, writings of “Doctors of the Church” (people like Ambrose, Augustine, Athanasius, Thomas the Aquinas, 36 in all), and other documents that make up the Roman Catholic Church’s tradition.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church reflects the teaching of the Magisterium.

Both the Pharisees’s and Roman Catholic Church’s tradition are examples of what Jesus taught in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 7.

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men… Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition… Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.  (Mar 7:7, 9, 13 KJV)

According to the Catholic Church, the Scriptures have the faith, but only in seed form. It has taken “theologians and spiritual authors” to widen the understanding of the faith that is seeded in the Scriptures.[3]

That may sound good, but what has happened is that this Catholic doctrine of sacraments replaces what the word of God says about how salvation and grace work just like the Pharisees replaced the word of God with their tradition.  And that’s not good.

As Catholics, we were taught that life as a Catholic revolves around the sacraments.  This is teaching directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraphs 1113 and 1116. The first line of 1113 is especially definitive:

“The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments.”

And, as a practicing Catholic growing up, especially in being involved in Catholic education, I regularly went to mass more than once a week, went to confession on Saturdays, took communion on Sundays, and whatever day my class went to mass during the week. I fasted during Lent, abstained from meat on Fridays during Lent as well as gave up some treats, usually candy or something like that. I can remember spending a lot of time on kneelers in the church, reciting the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory be to the Father prayers over and over and over. I had a rosary and used it. I was fully engrossed in the liturgy, especially the sacraments. And I have to confess that at times I felt somewhat spiritual doing that.

Protestant Handling of Sacraments

While this article is mainly about the Roman Catholic handling of sacraments, we need to make mention here and there of the Protestant churches that have maintained sacramental practices.

The Protestant churches that continue the tradition of sacraments are following suit with the tradition of the Catholics, albeit in what they consider a reformed model. But, as we shall see, the very foundation for sacraments is not scriptural, so maintaining any tradition of sacraments is unscriptural.

Other Protestant groups follow the “ordinance” model. When it came to remembering what he accomplished on the cross, Jesus gave an ordinance  “Do this in memory of me.” (1 Cor 11:24). These groups have recognized that there is no foundation for sacraments, but especially the bread and wine service is a memorial that we are charged to do as explained in first Corinthians 11:23-30. It is a memorial to the establishment of a new covenant that we are instructed to do. This practice is scriptural.

The Mortal Sin Terror

But, back to how I felt living the sacramental life in the Roman Catholic Church. Sometimes I felt something I thought was spiritual, but I was never sure. And feelings come and go, and are no guarantee for truth.

At the same time, I also lived at times with a dread that I would die with a mortal sin on my soul.  I mean that started when I was still in grade school and hadn’t done anything of consequence, but still, we heard the warnings of mortal sin at a young age.  Mortal sin is discussed in detail in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraphs 1854 to 1861. We’re going to discuss more of how mortal sin relates to living the sacramental life when we discuss how the sacramental life is another gospel later in the article, but suffice it to say, that no matter how many of the sacraments you have done, it is possible, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to lose the state of grace, be excluded from Christ’s kingdom, and be remitted to eternal hell by committing a mortal sin. There is even some discussion that conceivably one could be unintentionally ignorant of the gravity of the offense, but, according to Catholic doctrine, no one is deemed ignorant of moral laws which are written in the conscience of every man. So even being ignorant might not make the offense pardonable, and thus it is possible to go to hell even being unintentionally ignorant (paragraph 1860). In other words, you could live what you think is a sacramental life, but you could do something unawares that would send you to hell. That’s dreadful.

But, let’s go back to my growing up in the Catholic Church. Now there were times in the middle of prayer or penance sessions where I believe I was able to do what I now know to be “renewing the mind”. Renewing the mind is the Christian practice of aligning your mind with pure Scripture as opposed to all the things that are not pure scripture like catechisms or religious documents.  It was in those moments growing up when I first started detecting that of all the things taught in the Catholic religion the Scriptures gave me a real joy although I certainly was not convinced that they were always taught with the meaning that the authors intended to convey.  There were Bibles around our house, though, and I started experiencing joy reading the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry and Old Testament records of people like Abraham, Moses, Samson, Gideon, and David.  And I was inspired to follow the wisdom I found there. Focusing on scripture and striving to act on it in your life is living with a renewed mind. For example:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Mat 6:19-21 KJV)

These verses started moving me as a child and have moved me ever since.  I look for ways to store treasure in heaven.  This website is a result of the drive from the divine charge in those verses.

Scripture is woven throughout Roman Catholic doctrine although it is often not rightly divided (given its true meaning), and we know from Scripture that twisting Scripture from the meaning that the apostles gave to other meanings has been a problem from the beginning of the church. Nevertheless, there were times when I focused on Scripture in the Catholic teaching. However, since a lot of Roman Catholic doctrine is not in Scripture, my meditation was on whatever topic it might be, usually liturgically directed. But it didn’t give me the joy that pure Scripture did.

All of this I have written to express that I have seen the allure that the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian denominations that practice sacraments hold. I lived this life growing up and certainly bought into it even when I yearned for more.  There is a solemnity, perhaps a peace, if you will, in the rituals. So, I am not giving this message lightly, and I understand how ingrained it can become in the life of a person.


Sacraments and Scripture

As seen in the article, Grace  – Unmerited Divine Favor, grace is God’s wonderful undeserved divine favor. Scripture says that God makes grace abound to the cheerful giver.

Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, always having all sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work. (2Co 9:7-8 WEB)

Look at that Scripture: there is a lot of grace, but there are no sacraments involved in those wonderful verses!

Sacraments are not taught in Scripture. The word is literally not in the original texts. As stated in Sacraments, Conveyers of Grace or Not, the word sacrament is not in the Greek texts while it is in the Latin texts as Sacramentum.  This word is the Latin translation of the Greek word for “mystery” in the following verse.

of which I was made a servant, according to the stewardship of God which was given me toward you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden for ages and generations. But now it has been revealed to his saints, to whom God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; (Col 1:25-27 WEB)

“The ministry which is been hidden for ages… Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory;” clearly defines that there was a secret, a mystery, that the Gentiles would become fellow heirs of the promise of God and would receive “Christ in you, the hope of glory” just as the Jews did. There is no sacrament in there as the Roman Catholics and others define sacraments.

Part of the problem is that translating the Greek word for mystery into the Latin word sacrament is a poor translation. Sacramentum in Latin means oath. It’s really a mistake in translation way back when!

Both Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica online give credible histories of the word sacrament, and how sacraments developed over time.

Worldly Philosophy and the Sacraments

The sacraments are another example of philosophers and theologians assuming a concept, and using inductive logic to provide a compelling case for their arguments, but having to twist what scripture says to do it.

The theology of sacraments goes back to the early church fathers. Here is a quote by Augustine, whom the Roman Catholic Church dubbed a Doctor of the Church, an honorarium not found in Scripture but created by the Roman Catholic Church to distinguish people who have been instrumental in the development of church doctrine, especially Roman Catholic.

“When the Word is joined to the element or natural substance, the outcome is a sacrament.”[4]

What does that mean?  It is the theory that bread and wine are natural substances so the scripture “This is my body. Take and eat” makes it a sacrament.  Or the natural element of water combined with verses on baptism makes that a sacrament.

That is an exercise in worldly philosophy.  That is taking various points and constructing a doctrine that sounds good but is not based on the rightly divided word of God.

Some other denominations, for instance, Lutherans, Methodists, and Anglicans practice the sacraments and somewhat base their theology on Augustine’s definition above. These denominations have far less theology involved than the Roman Catholics do, though.

Luther rejected most sacraments yet he still bought into Augustine’s philosophy of sacraments as outward signs of inward grace instituted by Christ.[5] [6] Luther taught baptism and communion as sacraments. Luther approved of the Augsburg Confession which said “The Word makes the element the sacrament and the sacrament brings the Word to the individual”, part of his philosophy seeking to emphasize the need for personal faith rather than the Roman claim that grace can only be dispensed through sacraments.[7]

Nevertheless, none of the quotes by Augustine or Luther are quotes from Scripture.  The basic premise of all sacraments originated with Augustine, who is credited with sacramental foundational teaching. Augustine is credited as perhaps the greatest ancient Christian philosopher. Bur he was not an apostle nor was he a prophet so he was not receiving what he wrote by revelation like the apostles and prophets.

Augustine’s biggest influence was Neoplatonism.[8] Neoplatonic philosophy includes a focus on “principle-monism”, a discipline of analysis to derive a single cause for things. Sacramental theology is a product of Neoplatonic philosophy. This discipline applied to the theology of the time led Augustine to the conclusion that a sacrament is the result of associating the word of God with an element like water, bread, wine, oil etc. Principle monists say that this is one great spiritual law, that joining scripture to an element produces a sacrament.

But that’s not said in scripture!  Although Scripture does talk in places of “types”, which is a kind of philosophical construction, it’s not the believer’s job to squeeze Scripture and derive the limits of what everything means and then set up theologies based on that which is what the religious philosophers do.

The word of God does not teach the concept of sacraments that started with Augustine and then spun off in different directions with the Reformation.

What Are Sacraments?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.  The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated to signify and make presence of the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions. ”[9]

Sacraments are rites, religious ceremonies, that done with the right attitude grant grace to the participants, according to Roman Catholic doctrine.  But first and foremost, they are religious ceremonies.  That these ceremonies are supposedly able to impart grace to people is beyond scripture.

In the post, Grace  – Unmerited Divine Favor, we discussed the scriptural basis of grace, and there are no sacramental rituals involved.  Grace is unmerited divine favor. We receive grace when we accept Jesus, along with redemption, righteousness, justification, and glorification. By God’s grace, we don’t have to do all the things of the law. The very definition of grace, that it is unmerited divine favor, means that there are no acts that we have to do to get it. There are no rituals we need to perform to receive grace. We saw the example of Paul being told by the Lord that God’s grace was sufficient for him when he prayed three times to get rid of the thorn in the flesh that he was dealing with. “By grace we are saved” (Eph 2:8-9) means that there is nothing we can do to earn salvation.

Still, the Catholic position is that sacraments are absolutely scriptural, and necessary for salvation. Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) paragraph 1129 states that; “the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation”.  This is saying that the ritual of baptism is the ritual where eternal life is conferred on the baptized.  This can be lost if they commit a mortal sin, but apparently if not, then the person has eternal life.

This is different than what Scripture declares as to what is necessary for salvation.  And that makes this “another gospel” that Paul writes about in Scripture.

In Paul Warned That There Are Other Gospels That are Distortions of the True Gospel, we look at the scriptural requirements for salvation.

that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Rom 10:9-10 WEB)

Paul presents a simple if/then condition for salvation. If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead are the if statements. “You will be saved” is the then statement, the conclusion. There is a requirement for a belief, and the belief is that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Now to be sure, confessing Jesus as Lord is not just mouthing words, it means making him Lord of your life and thus following his lead moment by moment.

Now let’s look at the sacramental gospel and compare it to Scripture. Here are statements from the Roman Catholic gospel as to what is required for salvation as compared to what scripture alone says.

Comparison of the Apostles’ Tradition with the Roman Catholic Tradition Regarding Salvation
Item Being Compared Apostle’s Tradition Catechism of the Catholic Church (Catholic Tradition)
Required confession for Salvation in Scripture vs Required actions by Roman Catholics Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus – (this is not a superficial statement; this is literally speaking the words that Jesus is the Lord of your life and meaning it) Look at how complex the Roman Catholic tradition is.

Roman Catholicism says, like the Protestants teach, that Catholics can achieve salvation by grace through the faith of Jesus Christ, and it’s not by works. But they don’t leave it at that. As explained above, and cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1129, the sacraments are required for salvation. Saying that sacraments performed regularly are not works is simply not true.  These works, these sacraments, are necessary for salvation in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Specifically, in church, parishioners are enumerated numerous tasks (sacraments and others) that must be done regularly. These include:

·         Attend Mass every Sunday and holy day of obligation.

·         Go to confession annually if not more often or when needed.

·         Receive Holy Communion during Easter and at Christmas. Receiving each Sunday. Receiving daily is encouraged.

·         Observe laws on fasting and abstinence: one full meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday; not eating meat on Fridays during Lent.

·         Obey the marriage laws of the Church.

·         Support the Church financially and otherwise.

I personally was taught these things but I have listed a church source that enumerates these things.[10]

From my experience, the mass, confession, and holy communion requirements are minimums. Most Catholic clergy encourage much more participation than that.

The sacraments of baptism and confirmation are required in the Roman Catholic tradition Jesus spiritually baptizes (washes) people when they receive him. No actions are required by the believer.

‘John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.’

(Act 11:16b WEB)

Paul didn’t even know who was baptized as a result of his preaching (see Paul wasn’t sure if he Baptized Any but Crispus and Gaius, Stephanas and his Household – Countering the Assumption of Water Baptism, Correctly Translating a Verse for more.)

The sacrament of baptism is required as saving grace is given through the ritual.  The sacrament of confirmation is required to seal the individual (paragraphs 1316, 1317, etc). Part two of this article will deal with the scriptural basis for the sacrament of confirmation. Here is a preview.

Just because you can find verses that say that things happen in a certain way doesn’t mean that there was a sacrament involved. For example, in Acts 8:14-17, Peter and John were sent to Samaria because they heard that the believers had received the word of God, but not the holy spirit. Peter and John went there, laid hands on the people, and those people received the holy spirit.  There is a condition specified here where people believed but didn’t receive the holy spirit. That condition, and that condition only, required laying on of hands there. Contrast that to the household of Cornelius. They received the holy spirit without any laying on of hands.  The important thing is that the believers receive the holy spirit. Ritualizing the laying on of hands into a sacrament does not guarantee the receiving of the holy spirit. And laying on of hands is not automatically required for every believer. There is no ritual, no sacrament, being established here.

The Lutheran Church doesn’t call confirmation a sacrament, rather it calls it an affirmation of baptism as it practices infant baptism so as the infant cannot make the confession of faith, there is a ritual confirmation whereby the young Lutheran confirms their faith.

The sacrament of penance requirement for salvation in the Roman Catholic Church In the apostles’ tradition, forgiveness of sins is a much simpler matter of confessing your sins to God, and he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. (1John 1:9)

This is separate from salvation. If you lie to your brother, you have sinned, but you have not lost your salvation.

This, however, is not an endorsement for “once saved, always saved”. Faithfulness, perseverance in the faith, is required (1 Cor 4:1-2).

Additionally, with all of the above works, comes the danger of being found with mortal sin. The problem with mortal sin is that it requires the sacrament of confession for removal (paragraph 1456). If you commit a mortal sin and don’t get absolution in the sacrament of confession you can be damned to eternal torment in hell (paragraph 1861).

Because of the danger of mortal sin, the Catholic state of salvation is not steady. The Catholic is saved when living the sacramental life, as long as they are without mortal sin. With mortal sin, the Catholics lose their sanctifying grace. (Paragraph 1861).

Required belief in Apostles tradition vs Catholic tradition Believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead There are three creeds that Catholics must generally confess to, although the Athanasian Creed is not as popular anymore.  But the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed are required as things that must be believed. We will just show the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed
There are no creeds in the apostles’ tradition. John wrote :

“Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. “

(Joh 20:30-31 WEB)


Apostles Creed
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.Amen.
Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried.
The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will never end.And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life.
He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
He spoke through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,
and to life in the world to come. Amen.

It is important to acknowledge that even with all this complexity, and requirements stated by the Roman Catholic Church, even in that church, scripture says that anyone who confesses Jesus as the Lord, and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead are saved.  This is not in the Catechism, though, and not taught in the Roman Catholic Church.  But it is the truth that can set you free.

The Sacraments Dont Supply Grace; God Grants Grace as We Walk With Him

Look at these verses on how we are given grace:

But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace which was given to me was not futile, but I worked more than all of them; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.(1Co 15:10 WEB)

… Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”(1Pe 5:5 WEB)

From his fullness we all received grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.(Joh 1:16-17 WEB)

There is grace, grace, grace everywhere in these verses without a sacrament to be found.


The conclusion from looking at the above comparisons is that the requirements for salvation given in Scripture, and the requirements stated by the Catechism of the Catholic Church are not the same.

Saying that sacraments are absolutely necessary for salvation and that mortal sin in a believer’s life removes that salvation that can only be recovered by absolution in the sacrament of penance is absolutely different from the simple faith prescribed by the apostles.

The Catholic Church is complicated; salvation is a thing that can come and go in a Catholic’s life. This is another gospel from the one that Paul and the apostles preached.

The apostles’ gospel is so much simpler. As we discuss in “Paul Warned That There Are Other Gospels That are Distortions of the True Gospel”, we were warned by the original apostles to stay away from people preaching other Gospels.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Gal 1:8 ESV)

People were preaching other Gospels in Paul’s time.  There are other gospels now and the Roman Catholic Gospel is one example.

The simple truth is what Paul preached is the word of God.

For this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when you received from us the word of the message of God, you accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also works in you who believe. (1Th 2:13 WEB)

Sacraments are not the word of God, they are a philosophical construction. In the verse below Paul charges us to follow the apostles’ tradition which is the word of God. Galatians 1:8 above says that other gospels are from cursed teachers (Paul’s words by revelation).

So then, brothers, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you were taught by us, whether by word, or by letter. (2Th 2:15 WEB)

In Old Testament times the Jews claimed that the revelation given to Moses was incomplete, and they had to add to it and build a complex system. After the original apostles there were a lot of people preaching different things and what eventually dominated was the Roman Catholic Church who did the same things as the Jews in building these unscriptural traditions. It is the same situation of false traditions being built up to replace what the actual word of God says.

There are no sacraments in Scripture. Pure, apostolic Christianity is so much simpler than the Roman Catholic, and for that matter, the Eastern Orthodox traditions, and even the protestant denominations that practice sacraments and other unscriptural practices.

And grace is something that God has abundantly supplied in various ways really from the beginning, but especially with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In part two we are going to look further into specifics of the claims the Catholic Church makes on how the sacraments are established in Scripture. We’re going to look at confirmation especially but will touch on all the sacraments.

[1] Rusyn, Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

[2] WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF LITURGICAL VESTMENTS?,to%20officiate%20in%20civil%20clothing.

[3] Anchoring Authority, by Leonardo Franchi, Church Life Journal, University of Notre Dame, October 22, 2019

[4] Luther’s Large Catechism, Martin Luther, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis Missouri, 1978, P. 100  Augustine is quoted in this catechism without citing where the citation was found. However, it does show that the Catholics and the Lutherans share some but not all of the same foundation for their definitions of sacraments.

[5] Sign and Word: Martin Luther’s Theology of the Sacraments Kenneth R. Craycraft, Jr.

[6] Wikipedia, Sacrament

[7] Sign and Word: Martin Luther’s Theology of the Sacraments Kenneth R. Craycraft, Jr. p.147

[8] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Augustine

[9] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1131

[10] Basic Requirements For Catholics, taken from “Being Catholic – a guide” at,and%20holy%20day%20of%20obligation.

(c) 2023 Mark W Smith, All rights reserved. last revised 12/26/23

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