Open Thread on Accounts and Guarantees

confessionFrom our occasional commenter, Dick Martin cited Hebrews 10:9-14(NKJV):

(T)hen He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

The author of the letter to the Hebrews is speaking of the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament in which priests made sin offerings to God.

Dick’s commentary is worth some examination:

If the Church would believe and follow these verses would put the confessional “Out of business”. The truth is that once you accept Jesus as you payment for your sins; your sins are not put to your account. you account has been paid in full. Read it “Once and for all”. Which guarantees you eternal destiny.

Is it appropriate for Christian believers to speak of matters of sin and salvation in terms of payments, accounts, and guarantees? The early Church struggled mightily with this. People professed faith in Christ. But some, when confronted with torture and death, rescinded their Christian witness. Did Baptism mean nothing? A lot of people asked that question.

Over the centuries, Christians have committed grave sins: gossip, sexual abuse, adultery, murder. Is it possible for a Christian to commit such sins, yet still acknowledge Jesus and his priestly act of sacrifice on the cross?

Critics of the Christian practice of confession and the Rite of Penance miss something important, I think. While sometimes Penance is treated as a juridical act, the truth is that at its core it is a personal encounter between a believer and God (cf. John 20:19-23). Many Christians testify to the healthful benefits of confession. There has been a long recognition, going back to the 3rd century at least, of the importance of this kind of honest encounter with the Lord.

I think our friend Dick hasn’t quite quoted accurately. “Once for all” isn’t exactly the same as the idiom, “Once and for all.” Acknowledging Christ’s sacrifice doesn’t mean that every possible human sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel is meaningless.

As for confessing sins, I don’t see the equivalance between that practice and the Israelite burning of bulls, goats, birds, or fine flour. Confession is certainly a sacrifice in some sense: time, pride, embarrassment. But it’s hardly obrogated by this passage from Hebrews.

Open thread for commentary; have at it.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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33 Responses to Open Thread on Accounts and Guarantees

  1. Liam says:

    The Catholic and Orthodox churches have centuries-long understandings of the single (once) Paschal Sacrifice, and the mystical re-presentation and re-participation of it in the Divine Liturgy – even Jesus himself was familiar with the Jewish understanding of zikaron of the original Pasch on which the Greek Christian understanding of anamnesis of the new Pasch drew. A parallel exists in the Christian understanding of sacred iconography (not sacred art generally, but the specific idiom of ikons in the tradition): a mystical windows into the metaphysical reality presented therein.

    American vernacular Christianity tends to distrust or even loath mystical spirituality (it’s flattened into text), and that habit cuts it off from the heart of early Christian life.

    That’s all I have to say. Let the text-spewing begin.

  2. Jim McCrea says:

    I guess Paul in Phil 2:1-2 didn’t know what he was talking about.

  3. Dick Martin says:

    Philippians 2:5-8(NKJV)
    Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
    who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
    but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
    And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (GREEK: Konosis.) If Jesus was totally Man and God when He was on the earth; He could not have used His Power to over come Sin. The Holy spirit lived in Him then just as we have when confirmed. He Only had the Torah to study when growing up. No new testament yet. No Epistles. At twelve Scriptures say that Jesus Grew in Wisdom and stature. Jesus continued to pray to the Father. Acts: 10-38 says Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost and received Power and went about healing all who were oppressed of the Devil. Jesus said that the works you see me doing it’s the Father doing them, all through His Life it was the Father using Him.
    John 5:30(NKJV)
    I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. Why would Jesus return after His ascension To teach Paul about The Dispensation of Grace. Because He did not Know about it. The subject of Grace must be very important. The 4 Gospel’s were included in the New Testament. Should gave been at the end of the Old Testament The new Testament didn’t begin until after The Ascension. The beginning of the Church age. It took 15 years for Paul to get his message across to Peter and the apostles. You can’t mix the Law and Grace together.

  4. Dick Martin says:

    Liam: Let the Text spewing begin. Your speaking about the Word of God which takes precedence over mystical tradition. “mystical”- borders on the satanic. You show off you deep terminology which does no one any benefit. Such Pride.
    1 Peter 5:5-7(NKJV)
    Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
    Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
    casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. . That’s why your followers are in the dark. They should be in the Scriptures where God makes plain and simple, the way to eternal Life. Catholic Church makes it difficult for Catholics to find their way because you want to keep control from Birth to even after physical Death. Your in for an awakening. Get it right now…After death–No free will to choose.. you’ve made your choice.

    • Atheist Max says:

      you have constructed a fantasy. If there is no eternal life the bargain gains you nothing. And there is no reason to think eternal life is an option.

      “He cares for you”
      How does this manifest? protection from illness? from pain? from ignorance? You tell me.

  5. Dick Martin says:

    John 1:17(NKJV)
    For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
    Notice: The Law is in effect from Mt. Sinai until the present time for the unsaved.
    1 Timothy 1:8-11
    knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
    for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,
    Notice: that the Law was NOT MADE for a righteous person.
    Hebrews 10:1-3
    For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
    For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
    Notice: The Law could NEVER make anyone perfect. A Shadow is an image of the real thing . Jesus once applied there is NO more sacrifice needed because Sin has been dealt with . Righteous one’s are Dead to SIN

    1 Corinthians 2:10-14(NKJV)
    But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
    For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
    Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
    These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
    But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. In Hebrews Paul is showing us that continual offering sacrifices for Sinners in now and has never made anyone Perfect. Offerings and sacrifices must END. Jesus sacrificed Himself Only Once and it was the ONE appeasement necessary for ALL sins committed FOREVER. Do you get it ? Probably not because scripture says that the natural man can’t understand spiritual things.

    • Atheist Max says:

      Dick, help me on this:

      Notice: that the Law was NOT MADE for a righteous person.
      This is an impossible paradox.
      1. Isn’t awareness of righteousness an immediate sin of pride all by itself?
      2. If the law does not apply to the righteous, does this mean the righteous can break the law – and thus become unrighteous while still being considered righteous? For how long? Until they repent? But does this make them righteous again?

      scripture says that the natural man can’t understand spiritual things.
      1. Then why use scripture to preach to a natural man?
      2. Why would god make scripture for natural men if they cannot understand it?
      3. Where do natural men come from?
      4. If natural man needs Jesus to become spiritual why put Jesus in a book which can’t be understood?

    • Atheist Max says:

      Is this not a transparent appeal to the most selfish gene in us all?

      Christians: Take pride in yourselves, you are superior to everyone else:
      “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
      (1 CORINTHIANS 2:14)

      A holy righteous man would be well flattered by such effusive praise – it appeals to the solipsist in all of us. I don’t see how a ‘natural man’ could resist! LOL.

  6. Dick Martin says:

    Why try to explain it to you a Natural man; dead to the things of God. You obviously don’t get it.
    1 Corinthians 1:18-19(NKJV)
    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
    For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” When you seek God with Faith through His precious promise, then the veil of understanding will be lifted. Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened, Ask and it shall be given to you. The Righteous have BENIFITS.

  7. Dick Martin says:

    The Natural man is spiritually dead to the things of your creator God because of Adams selling out OUR birthright and Satan became our Father so our Nature is Sinful Seed produces after it’s own kind. In order to be reconnected to our Creator God we have to be Born Again. God says in His Word ; when we accept Jesus’s sacrifice it pays for All our transgressions and we become a child of God. The reason We could not save ourselves but Jesus could, and DID. When you accept Him your old sinful nature is removed. You then receive your inheritance ( Benefits). You become ALIVE to God spiritually and the Spirit of God takes up residence in you and then your understanding comes. Yes you can Seek God and He will lead you into all truth. It’s like buying a jig saw puzzle and you seeking the final picture. Each piece makes the end result clearer. Pride and Humility are mixed up sometimes. When you get a picture of the meaning of God’s revelation, it make you want to share it with others and it may come across as PRIDE but it is truly Humility in Love . That’s what I am trying to do for you but your not willing to open up to it. All true believers have done this. It’s a must.

  8. Atheist Max says:

    “when we accept Jesus’s sacrifice it pays for All our transgressions”
    But according to you, the natural man is hopelessly unable to act so virtuous – and that is our disagreement. According to you he has no ability to grasp it.
    Mustn’t the ‘natural man’ already have the inner virtue to strive for something better within him? And why isn’t that enough? The virtue is in the inner drive to be a better person – not the shape of the thing you grab hold of!

    “That’s what I am trying to do for you but your not willing to open up to it.”
    But you are wrong. I am completely open and willing to believe in Jesus if you can give me a reason to think he is real. And I would also like evidence which shows Jesus to be good. Because his reality may not be enough for me – I need to know he is a good god as well as a real god.

    All I see are contradictions in Jesus. And his actions and sayings fit predictable patterns which easily comply with man made narratives and well-worn superstitions of his era.
    I’m asking you questions in the hope you will actually answer them.

    Where is your evidence that your feelings for Jesus are based on a real god and not simply a hypothesis you have been indoctrinated into believing.

    And why do you select only the passages which support your claims?
    The internal logic of the Bible is not at all perfect – in fact, there is no internal logic at all which is why hundreds of pages and thousands of verses are dismissed as “out of context” whenever they are mentioned.

    You are telling me I should just believe you.
    But There are dozens of other religions with Holy Books. Each claims “truth” arrived at through the process of “I believe it because someone said I should”:

  9. Dick Martin says:

    Disagreement no. 1:
    John 6:38-40(NKJV)
    For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
    This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
    And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
    Ephesians 2:4-10(NKJV)
    But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
    even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
    and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
    that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
    not of works, lest anyone should boast.
    For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Your salvation is not based on what you do but what Jesus HAS (past-tense) Done in your place.

  10. Dick Martin says:

    disagreement no2: No –your not willing because you have to believe by Faith. This is the way God chooses to operate. This works for Him . It pleases Him. When you sincerely pray and believe the acceptance prayer then He proves His existence by living in your Spirit which becomes alive ( ONE ) with you.
    Ephesians 2:4-10(NKJV)
    But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
    and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
    that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
    not of works, lest anyone should boast.
    For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

  11. Dick Martin says:

    I select passages to agree with my point because I read God’s word and then it fits with my
    experience because it’s truth. Can’t deny experience. 1 Thessalonians 2:13(NKJV)
    For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

    • Atheist Max says:

      “can’t deny experience”

      When have you ever experienced the LITERAL blood spilling from an innocent animal or person (say a child) and an ensuing improvement in your life?
      i.e.: benefits of blood sacrifice?

      Please explain your experience with this. Otherwise I can’t follow how your experience connects to a claim that the spilled blood of innocent person can improve the world in any way.

  12. Dick Martin says:

    We’ve been over this before. Read God’s plan for your life, believe He can do it. speak it into your life and He will do it. My experience is that I’ve done this and He produces what I stepped out in Faith for. He is not a respecter of persons. If He did it for me He will do it for you. There’s millions of us out there. No one can do it for you, you have to for yourself.

    • Atheist Max says:

      I’m sorry you see it that way.

      You are telling me I must pretend – and through pretending I shall find God to be real. And I don’t see where (or how) all the pretending and invigilation actually turns into a real thing. Seems you are trying to force a wish to come true.

      As I have noted, you select some things from the Bible while you reject the rest – what bothers me is I see no reasoning behind why you select some parts while rejecting others.
      The only thing at work seems to be your determination to make it so.

  13. Dick Martin says:

    Do you know that God is all knowing. He see’s things in the future BEFORE the beginning of creation. He doesn’t interfere in our free will to choose though He knows what choice you’ll make. There are dispensation in the past that God treated people different. Adam’s dispensation- Failed, Abraham’s dispensation failed, Noah also, Moses also. All treated differently.

  14. Dick Martin says:

    Genesis Was written by Moses long after the Garden of Eden. This is the first record of the existence of man with genealogy. The Bible tells us of the existence of pre- Adam races and Nations that go back Eons. A Flood prior to Adam. It never rained on the earth until Noah. The earth was in a terrarium atmosphere. This is when the dinosaurs’ were on the earth for who knows how long. A Mammoth was found in the artic region completely frozen and examined – found tropical vegetation in it’s stomach.

  15. Dick Martin says:

    The Bible say’s “Which is God’s words” and it never lies, It says that God created Adam from the dust of the earth; no belly button. God speaks things into existence. Jesus was born without a physical Father. God impregnated Mary with His Spirit. It’s Impossible to please God without FAITH.

    • Atheist Max says:

      Okay. So no belly button for Adam. And following your analysis there must have been no belly button for Eve, either.

      So was the first umbilical cord invented by EVE?
      According to you, God didn’t make umbilical cords so where did they come from?

    • Atheist Max says:


      Just to be clear. You claimed God made Adam and Eve perfect and without belly buttons.

      Where did umbilical cords come from if they were not God’s original design?

  16. Dick Martin says:

    Correct on both acc’ts. No b.b. for Adam and Eve. No Inventions. God’s original design for the rest of us. I know you knew that already. your not stupid. You asked questions to keep the subject going.

    • Atheist Max says:

      Dick, hold it right there!

      You said, “Belly Buttons …..are God’s original design for the rest of us.”

      Where did you read this in the Bible? God ALTERED EVE’S BODY so she could create UMBILICAL CORDS ??

  17. Dick Martin says:

    This is how our anatomy was created to work after Adam and Eve were : you know about the birds and the bees.

    • Atheist Max says:

      I don’t know why you are missing this.
      A woman who has no belly button would not have the genetic or chromosomal ability (female) to create umbilical cords from the composition of Adam’s (male) rib.

      Male is an XY Chromosomal pair
      Female is XX pair

      The first male would need to have a belly button. And the first female would also – even if God made them some other way.

  18. Dick Martin says:

    God can and did it his way. obviously it works , so through out science. Faith works. Faith is speaking things into existence that you can’t explain. God is a Faith God. Cords only are used by Mothers giving birth to babies. I don’t know why I’m telling you this , it’s so basic.

    • Atheist Max says:

      I don’t believe Adam or Eve existed. And science proves it to be impossible. DNA alone proves evolution is how we came to exist. Even as a metaphor the Adam and Eve story is a dark, anti-social fable. It rivals most other religious stories for its sadism and masochism.

      Since science clearly disproves the Adam and Eve story, why do you believe in it? What benefit do you find in forcing yourself to steamroll over the science? The story of Adam and Eve is not only untrue – its worst lesson is to claim all of humanity is guilty of a crime of original sin – a crime for which there was no volition.

      To claim one is “born a criminal” without having actually done anything wrong or worthy of punishment is to destroy the very concept of justice and decency.

  19. Dick Martin says:

    Which came first the chicken or the egg? Everything hade to begin somewhere. Evolution is a fictional theory any way. Everyone who believes in evolution are those who don’t believe in Faith and creation. All science is so balanced and unique that would have to have been created by some Master intellect.
    Romans 1:18-23(NKJV)
    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
    because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
    For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
    because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    Professing to be wise, they became fools,
    and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. That is the way it is.

    • Atheist Max says:

      Dear Dick Martin,

      “Everything had to begin somewhere.”
      Except for the gods? That is called special pleading. Anyway, how do you know this? Why couldn’t the Cosmos always have existed?

      “Evolution is a fictional theory any way.”
      Religion is not being helpful to our society when it rejects science.
      Evolution is a fact. It is not merely supported by evidence. Evolution IS the evidence.

      “Everyone who believes in evolution are those who don’t believe in Faith and creation.”
      So what?

      “All science is so balanced and unique that would have to have been created by some Master intellect.”
      Except you rejected science only two sentences ago. Please be aware you cannot praise science while you reject it.

      “For the wrath of God is revealed…His invisible attributes are clearly seen…so that they are without excuse..
      I only see God’s absence – what am I to make of that? Are you similarly ‘without excuse’?

      “Professing to be wise, they became fools…”
      I never professed to be wise.

      “the incorruptible God….”
      Where is the sign of God’s incorruptibility? Nothing ever works out as God plans it – the Bible exists for the sole purpose of pointing that out.
      The humanity of the earth was repopulated after the great flood (supposedly) thanks to the incest of Noah and his family – where is your evidence that God’s plan (which included incest) was somehow ‘incorruptible’? Incest is a complete corruption – yet it was God’s plan!

      Dick, you need to question these things. There is no way to gain traction with me if you don’t even plug the holes in your argument before you propose them.

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