Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

I Believe; week five

This was of course written for general Church consumption, but this can be a difficult area for many LGBT+ people as we so often find ourselves rejected and ostracised by churches. I hope I make the point that this is not about any individual Church, definitely not about a particular denomination, but about the body of believers

5     I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins.

A lot of protestants over the years have struggled with this bit, thinking that this was a reference to the Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the veneration of Saints, I have very carefully not used capital letters to emphasise that this is the all-inclusive body of believers referred to in Revelations.   So often John’s symbolism shows us that salvation is inclusive, that it is available to everyone who accepts Jesus as Saviour, we should consider ourselves all part of the same family of God, His church.
The church is portrayed as the wife of Christ, to be united in perfect harmony with him at the second coming, that is Christ will bring all believers (the Saints) to himself, in a closer and more intimate way than we can imagine.
Some people believe that Saints are special super spiritual Christians, those who have been used by God for remarkable acts of faith, and through whom He has worked miracles.   It is out of this belief that some Christians will venerate Saints, seeking an intermediary between themselves and God.    The Saints are in communion with God as they are already in Heaven.
Yet when Jesus was crucified the Temple curtain was split down the middle signifying that God (through Jesus’ sacrifice to serve the sentence for our sin), had now made himself accessible to all who acknowledge Jesus, further John refers often to believers as Saints in Revelation, the saints are the individual believers who collectively make up the church, the saints are in communion with each other through their shared faith, and in communion with the father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.
When his disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray one thing he encouraged them to ask to be forgiven, and for help in forgiving “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”  Not only should we accept the gift of forgiveness won by Jesus on the cross but in turn we need to practise forgiveness.   The whole point of Jesus self-sacrifice was that he should pay the price for our sin, therefore allowing us to be forgiven paying the penalty.   Once we have been forgiven for God it is as though we had never sinned.
God is without sin and totally Holy, so much so that we cannot approach Him in our sinful state, therefore it was essential if we are to be in continuous relationship with God that a solution be found to the problem of sin.   God knew that there was nothing we could do so He had to act.   The price for sin is death, that is not death in this world but eternal death, separation from God for eternity.   If we were to be reconciled to God that price had to be paid and God choose to pay the price through Jesus.   It is only through Jesus sacrifice that we are forgiven our sins and reconciled with God.   It is through His forgiveness that we can approach the throne, that our prayers can be heard, and that we can receive the Holy Spirit.

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