Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nothing New Under the Sun

In case you didn't think Roman Catholics still did indulgences, here's an article which demonstrates that they're alive and well. You can't buy indulgences outright any more, as in Luther's day. But the underlying problem of human merit contributing toward one's ultimate salvation, taking time off of purgatory, etc. hasn't changed or diminished one bit.

I especially like this quote: "(This year's offer of indulgences) appeared prominently on the Web site of the Diocese of Brooklyn, which announced that any Catholic could receive an indulgence at any of six churches on any day, or at dozens more on specific days, by fulfilling the basic requirements: going to confession, receiving holy communion, saying a prayer for the pope and achieving 'complete detachment from any inclination to sin.'”

Hmm. I think I could handle the first three requirements. But achieving complete detachment from any inclination to sin? That sort of makes the indulgence impossible, doesn't it? The only way to achieve complete detachment from any inclination to sin is to die. But then again, that's Jesus prescription for us in baptism isn't it?

Romans 6:3-5--"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection."
Colossians 3:3--"For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (See the full context of Colossians 3)

Living the baptismal life most certainly means putting down the sinful flesh and engaging in deeds of love. But that is our life precisely because we are in Christ the crucified, already fully redeemed by Him and accepted by the Father. It's all done and delivered by Jesus in His death and resurrection. No indulgences necessary.

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