I have been listening to a taped reading of R.C.Sproul's book called, Are We Together?
It's a book that goes into a lot of detail about the differences between protestant and catholic
theology from the standpoint of a protestant analysis. Again, admitting that I am certainly
not someone with the ability to think too deeply about a lot of issues like these, I have
simplified all of this into an equation:
Jesus + and Jesus - = JESUS
The overlying question in all of this is about what it is that justifies us, makes us acceptable,
somehow, as sinners, to a just and Holy God. The concept of Sola fide, the belief that justification is by faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone, is the breaking point between the
Roman Catholic church and the reformed church. Simply speaking after listening to this
book, it seems that while both protestants and R Catholics accept the basic need for
faith, the R catholic view is that there must be additional factors for man to be in a state
of acceptance: things like penance, baptism, the whole idea of Purgatory, etc. I will
call all of this, in a simplistic way, Jesus +.
It is the idea that the imputation of righteousness into man, making full payment for sins
committed, by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is somehow not sufficient for God
to consider man saved. Here, it seems to me, is basic doctrine that does not support scripture. It is part of the idea that faith must be accompanied by works, not as a
result of justification, but as a prerequisite of acceptance to God. Even if one ignores concepts
like Papal infallibility and the concept of Mary as Queen of Heaven, Mary without sin and
Mary as able to forgive sin, it just seems a stretch.
Jesus - is my way of believing that if one attaches more requirements to the saving
grace of the work Jesus performed on the cross, it is taking away from the importance
and magnificence of what He did, accepting death as a way to save sinful mankind and
honor and obey His Father. The debt was paid, the ledger was balanced, the work
The answer, it seems to me, or the balance to the question is that Jesus did not need
additional steps or requirements added to what He was gloriously able to accomplish!
His work was complete, His work was fulfillment of prophesy, His work was Holy and
full of Grace! His work was the miracle that will allow those who believe upon Him and
accept Him as King and Savior to walk in the presence of God, eternally, made just
through the righteousness of Christ and only through the righteousness of Christ!