The IMPOSSIBLE burden of trying to merit your way to Heaven

Catholics are taught when they were baptized as infants their souls were wiped clean of sin but aftercarrying-a-heavy-load that they must constantly toil to merit their way to Heaven. They must receive the church’s sacraments and obey church laws and also obey the Ten Commandments completely in thought, word, and deed (impossible!).

But God’s Word says righteousness does not come by trying to obey the law. The law only teaches us how sinful we really are.

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” – Romans 3:20.

Scripture says the only Person who perfectly obeyed the law was Jesus Christ.

“Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” – Romans 10:4

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” – Philippians 3:7-9.

I was listening to Catholic radio today and the priest was talking about “Holy Days of Obligation.” Catholics MUST attend mass EVERY single Sunday. Every mass they miss without a valid excuse is a grave “mortal” sin that stains their soul and sends the apathetic Catholic to Hell forever. That’s one way to try to keep attendance up at church but despite that threat 75% of Catholics still choose to sleep in on Sundays. In addition to the obligatory mass there are also “Holy Days of Obligation” on which Catholics must also attend mass or incur another “mortal” sin.

According to Canon 1246 the Holy Days of Obligation are as follows:

January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, the solemnity of the Ascension
August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
November 1, the solemnity of All Saints
December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
December 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Included in the canon is the caveat: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated.”

Catholics need a canon lawyer to keep it all straight. My, what heavy burdens Catholics must bear in trying to merit their way to Heaven! The vast majority deal with it by simply throwing up their hands and staying away from church altogether except for weddings and funerals.

For every Catholic who is exasperated by the long lists of rules and obligations and trying to earn their way to God I have some REALLY GOOD NEWS for you! God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for your sins. All who sincerely repent of their sins and accept Christ as their Savior will be born again into God’s family. The Lord is looking for humble people, the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), who will admit they are depraved sinners without any merit of their own.

“I have not come to call the (self) righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” – Luke 5:32

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

Accept Christ as your Savior and find an Evangelical church in your area that reaches out to all the lost – the unchurched as well as the religious lost who place their trust in their own works.

How is it that Catholic clerics refer to Jesus as “Savior” but then insist their followers MUST participate in the sacraments they tightly control and precisely follow their many religious laws, rules, and regulations in order to merit Heaven? It’s a rhetorical question.

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3 thoughts on “The IMPOSSIBLE burden of trying to merit your way to Heaven

  1. sdcharg,

    I can’t speak for Catholics who don’t care about being Catholic, but for me it’s really cool to take part in the Mass not only on a weekly basis but also for special feasts and celebrations. Ironically, the weekly obligation was one of the difficulties I faced coming into the Church from Protestantism. Part of the problem was that as an American Protestant, I had a “freedom at all costs” mentality that hindered my ability to see the wonderful privilege of being faithful to my Lord.

    You see, Catholics actually get to be in the Real Presence of Christ every week (or more often for those of us who understand how amazing that is) and we get to receive Christ… body, blood, soul and divinity for our spiritual strengthening. This is very important (see John 6:53-55). You don’t want to miss it if you’re blessed to be called to the supper of the Lamb. In the Mass, heaven touches down on earth and stuff happens that’s described in the book of Revelation. It’s beyond epic. It would not only be dumb for me to skip out on the amazing privilege of participating in that, it would be harmful for my spiritual condition in light of my covenant relationship with God through His Church.

    In my marriage, if I decided not to bother showing up for dinner (or especially not bothering to come home all week) I would have some serious explaining to do in light of the relationship I have with my wife. Thankfully, things are great between her and I, and I’m happy to see her every day.

    Missing a day of obligation would be worse than missing my daughter’s birthday or something like that. Feast days are celebration days! The obligation is really only there for people who don’t understand and they need help understanding. The only way they can begin to understand is by spending time with their brothers and sisters, and their Lord. How can they expect to spend eternity with God and their fellow Christians if they refuse to spend time with them at least once a week? By the way, it’s not that difficult to keep track of important days. When you’re going to Mass every week you hear from the priest what important days are coming up.

    Being Catholic is really cool… if you understand what’s going on.

    God bless.

    -Ben

    P.S. You’ve been referencing the concepts of “law” and “liturgy” in recent posts and all I’m really going to do is refer people to the Catechism of the Catholic Church for those subjects, as they are covered wonderfully there.

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    1. You paint quite a rosey picture but will your wife and daughter throw you into a hellish pit for eternity for coming home late for dinner once or missing a birthday? Not much to celebrate with that kind of penalty hanging over your head, is there?

      Frame it any way you’d like it ALL boils down to work and merit. You mention the freedom of the Gospel being too open-ended for you and you desired obeying the law and meriting your salvation rather than trusting in Christ. Elsewhere you said you were an Evangelical Protestant but you obviously never understood the “Good News.” Who would choose chains and the coal mines over righteousness in Christ? Only the spiritually blind would. Redemption by merit is a characteristic of all the world’s religions except for Christianity. I pray the day comes when you can see yourself as a depraved sinner without a single plea (including your “faithful” “covenant” obedience). Ach. God hates pride the most.

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