Tag Archives: Salvation

Feedback; Judgment for Believers?

This post is in reply to a feedback question I recently received from a reader.  This is a very common question, and one the is talked about a lot amongst believers; what awaits believers after death, since we know that our sins are forgiven us, is there any kind of judgment upon us, and how do “our works” play into it?

The main thing to always keep in mind, and the reader pointed this out, is that our sins, and the punishment for those sins has been, is, and will be completely covered by Christ’s sacrifice.  They are over and done with, completely washed away.  This means that the Law has no more power to condemn us and our salvation is not in question.  However, we have freedom with responsibility, we are still called to yield to righteousness.

I believe Paul talks about this idea of our works being judged here in 1 Corinthians chapter 3:

11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  13Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  14If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  15If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Notice this important point; it is our works that our judged, not us.  At this point, Paul is talking about a believer, already saved.  Look at verses 11 and 12.  The foundation is Jesus Christ, then the discussion turns to what we put or build on this foundation.  This is a time of rewarding of deeds; and I believe everything contained in this passage is a reward, even though many people see a negative here if one’s work is mainly wood, hay, stubble, etc…

Let me explain with a question; what greater reward can await we believers than to see all of our bad deeds go up in smoke?  Seriously, regardless of anything else we might receive, this is the one thing that I’m definitely looking forward to.  My sin is already covered, then, at this time that Paul is describing, all my bad works, anytime I’ve failed to respond in faith to God’s leading, or His word, will be burnt up…the works will be burnt up, NOT me.  I emphasize this lest anyone think this passage is talking about something like purgatory, which is not biblical.

As for those works that are not burnt up, I believe those consist of those times we yielded to righteousness.  Nothing truly good that we do originates with ourselves, but rather with the Holy Spirit.  There is some clue that we might take those rewards we receive for yielding and place them at Christ’s feet (look at the elders example in Rev. 4:10), which would make a lot of sense.

So, as Paul clearly teaches, there remains no condemnation for those of us in Christ; our works do follow us but NOT in regards to salvation.  There is also no room for fear at the thought of our works being tried, God loves us and has accepted us via His Son.  What we can take from this, and other teaching of Paul is that we should try to yield to God whenever we can, in whatever situation we find ourselves in.  Not all the rewards are going to go to people who lived fast-paced exciting lives, but rather they will go to anyone who yields in faith to God in big things or in small, everything else including our mistakes and our slip-ups will be burnt up and blown away, praise God for that!

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The Prodigal Son via Breaking Benjamin’s “Medicate”…

Medicate

I got somethin’ up my sleeve
I know you will cover me
Inside out and in between
I know you will cover me
I’ve got bruises on my knees
I know you will cover me
Inside out and in between
And I know you will cover me

[Chorus:]
Run away
Make hate
And get laid
And get laid
You tie me up
I’ve had enough
So medicate
Medicate

I’m already incomplete
I know you will cover me
Broken by your empathy
I know you will cover me
I’ve been lyin’ here for weeks
I know you will cover me
Inside out and in between
And I know you will cover me

Some who hear this song will think it sung in praise of rowdy behavior, though it isn’t…some would just be plain offended, (“What’s all this ‘makin’ hate and gettin’ laid?!”).  Move past that if you can, if not, move on…

When I listen to it, in all of it’s rock angst glory, it reminds me of the story of the prodigal son, and all the sin that is forgiven us, past, present, and future, when we turn to God in faith.  Was this Ben Burnley and the band’s intention; hardly.  Again, my blatant disclaimer; Breaking Benjamin is NOT a Christian Band, far from it.  Most fans agree that this is more of a human relationship-centered song…but I can’t help the connections I make, though I’m pretty sure they are unintentional.

As I’ve said before, one of the ways I tend to think is in terms of the “sacred secular;” there are certain things that I hear/read/watch in the “secular,” or mundane world that reminds me of a lesson or story in the “sacred,” usually as how it applies to me.

So, let’s look at the prodigal son:

Luke 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Well?  The younger brother took his money, ran away, got laid, squandered all the wealth his father had given him.  Lest anyone think that “riotous” living just means partying…the greek is “asotos.”  He was living “profligately” that means “utterly and shamelessly immoral.”  Utterly immoral.  I’m pretty sure the prodigal would indeed have tried to self-“medicate” at some point…to go through all that money, booze has got to be involved somewhere.

He hits the bottom pretty hard, pretty fast.  He’s lusting after pig slop folks.  He does something else very important; he realizes all of it.  He realized what he’s done, where he’s at, and further, he realizes what he left behind.  He’s sorry.  Not just because of where he finds himself, but what he has done, the sin he’s committed against heaven, and his father.

He’s ready to go home and ask for the position of a servant.  But, there’s a surprise; he can’t out-love his father.  Before the son even gets one word out, before he’s even all the way to the front door, his father is there; Grace – unmerited favor.  Remember the line in the song?  “Broken by your empathy…” this is how we should all be, because the father is representative of our Heavenly Father; God Himself.

He’s waiting for all His prodigals to come home.  Find yourself having run away?  Alone? Scared? Doing things you could never imagine yourself doing before taking on a certain lifestyle?  Get out of the pig slop, ask for help, turn to you Father.  It won’t be all smooth sailing in this life, in fact believers are promised persecution.

I’ve got bruises on my knees; I know you will cover me” I know that when I slip, for I do and I will, that Christ has and will “cover” me.  I am also quite familiar with my knees hitting the floor in prayer, and in sorrow for the grief I must cause my Father…or them hitting the floor in order to show praise and worship.  We should never be tempted to sin all the more so that grace can abound, that is not what we are called to do.  But we should be absolutely certain that God, our Father, is there, He loves us, and we can be covered because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, if we only “return” to Him in Faith.

Breaking Benjamin’s “Medicate” off their album Saturate

Posted on youtube by wrestler805

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Publicans and Harlots; Tax collectors and Prostitutes…

Matthew 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. 27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Read it again, slower this time and really understand what the Lord is preaching here.  There are people sitting in the pews of churches, or watching preachers on TV, or listening to them on the radio that need to get this in their heads…as well as non-believers rejecting the gospel.

Do you know how many people are turned away from the church because of the self-righteousness of the members?  And, I’m not talking about those church goers that hearken to the Spirit, live a life of faith, recognize their own sin, but fight it with the help of the Holy Spirit, that teach faith and live it (yes, they are out there, and I’m privileged to know some).  I’m talking about the people that make up their own lists of sin and then try to make everyone live up to that.

Don’t dance, don’t play a musical instrument, don’t listen to Rock’n’Roll…don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t wear pants if you are a woman, even if they are made for a woman, don’t don’t don’t…don’t don’t.  Find me any one of those in the Bible, and that is but a small example.

Who is Christ talking to here?  The Chief Priests, and the Elders.  And what does He say to them?  In “American,” the cheating, mean, deceptive tax collectors (publicans) and the whores/hookers (harlots) are getting into Heaven before you Priests and Elders.  Why?

First, the Priests and Elders had tacked on all this man-made tradition to the actual law of God.  They had also made the very law of God about following the letter of the law, and not the spirit of the law.  Then, they lorded it over people, and acted “holier than thou.”  What was their most fatal flaw?  They failed to listen to God, who was teaching through John and through Christ.

Who listened and believed?  The Tax guys and the whores.  Why?  I have my guesses; they were under no delusion that they were “good people.”  They lived their lives amongst those that I’m sure reminded them of their sin daily…so, they knew instantly that they were sinners in need of saving…they knew that they could not get to God on their own through any amount of work.  They had to have faith, and trust, and they needed cleansing…and they knew it!

What’s the Greek word there for they “believed” him?  Pisteuo, they had faith in what John was teaching.  We all need to make sure that we are listening to Christ here, after all, look at the words He’s using and who He’s communicating with…can you imagine the reaction of the Priests?

And as far as any of my fellow Christians who look down their noses at people with a past…you should start by examining your own internal thoughts, and flaws…judge yourselves, that the logs out of your own eyes.  People struggle, people slip, people are a bunch of sinners, as am I. It’s no excuse to yield to unrighteousness, to wallow in sin, nor to call evil “good.” However, Christ has covered us and God has provided us a Help, a Comfort, and a Guide in the Holy Spirit…yield to Him; He will change you.

And for anyone who hasn’t yet commited their beings to Christ; take another look.  He’s it; He’s The Saviour that is able to cleanse us all from any level of sin; ANY level of sin.  Look to Christ; He never slips, never stumbles, never sins…He gave His life for us, and He is indeed Lord.

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

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Pets in Heaven…

Will there be animals in heaven?  Will my pets be in Heaven?  Will my pets go in the Rapture, and if they don’t, what will happen to them?  If you’ve been around Christians long enough, these questions will and do come up.  They are not meant to be taken lightly, nor should they be.  Humans have strong bonds and emotional attachments to animals; animals, our pets, our work companions, are a part of our lives, and most of us believe gifts of God.  When we have a pet pass on, or a pet growing old, we begin to contemplate these issues.

First, there is no Biblical evidence decidedly for or against our pets being resurrected or taken to Heaven.  It disturbs me when I see someone pronounce a definite decision either way.  In this post, I’m going to talk about my opinion, but first a clarification on the issue.  When people ask me, or ask this question on a message board, “What about my pets?” I have one question to ask back that will supersede all others; “Do you trust God?”  That’s the real issue, do you trust Him?  If you can answer that question, the animal questions are covered.  If you can (and you should) answer “Yes, I trust Him completely,” then you can totally 100% rest your heart about your animals, no matter what happens.

Second, I do think there is Biblical evidence of animals in Heaven.  After all, the army of the Lord rides down on horses, do we not?  So either there is indeed a Heavenly stable, or they are conjured for us between Heaven and Earth.  Heaven is beyond our ken; 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

We also know that animals are precious in God’s sight; He sees every little sparrow that falls, and values them, though He values humans more, as we are made in His image.  We know that living animals have nephesh or a soul, though theirs are different than ours.  We know that love and loyalty are wonderful things, also gifts of God, and what allows us to show both love and loyalty better than our pets?  Adam was put in the garden to tend it, and was responsible for naming the very animals.  We have a connection to the furballs/hairballs that cannot be denied.  Our ancestor Noah, under God’s direction, help, and guidance, built the ark that carried their ancestors to safety, we are assuredly connected.  For a glimpse at the deeper side of animals, make sure to read the story of Balaam’s Ass in Numbers chapter 22, I’m sure many times they are quicker to catch on to Spiritual things than we are…

It is also possible that they will be resurrected during the Millennial Kingdom; we know for a fact animals will be on the Earth at that point, living peaceably side-by-side.  Or, it is possible that our pets will be made new when the Heavens and the Earth are made new; after all, He did say He was reconciling all of creation to Himself, and was going to make all things new.

In my family, our animals (we’re a dog family) are a part of our family.  I’ve cried tears onto their fur while mourning loss, or guilt for something I’d done.  I’ve cried tears without them after they’d died.  I’ve laughed at their antics and my life has been made richer for them; they’ve reminded me of how God is master of creation, and a God of love, life, and joy.  Do I think we’ll be seeing them again? Yes, but I’m not going to pretend to know for sure.  But, I do know for Truth and for Fact that I can trust God to deal with my pets, and yours, completely Righteously, Mercifully, and with Love for them and us.

Perhaps a fitting question to end this post would be, “Will your pets be seeing you in Heaven or on the new Earth?”  Never forget that we need our Shepherd, to believe on Him, to have faith in Him, for we are but “sheep” gone astray.  And, our relationship with Him is what takes center stage.

Trust God, have faith in Him, fear not, everything will turn out just as it is meant to.

Be thou comforted, little dog, Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail,” –Martin Luther

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John 6 and Transubstantiation (pt.1) …

Since this is my first post about Roman church (RC) doctrine, I want to make something clear from the outset.  As long as a person, as an individual, has placed all their trust and faith in and on Jesus Christ, The Father, and The Holy Spirit to save them, I don’t care what denominational title they give themselves.  I believe in the universal church; the ekklesia, in the Greek, that is made up of all believers regardless of what they call themselves.  We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling; I’m not willing to judge another’s salvation, that is between them and God.

That being said, I believe that all doctrine of all denominations is fair game when testing them to see if they hold up to the Apostle’s teachings, mainly found in scripture.  One of the claims of the RC is that their teachings will not contradict scripture, but that some of their teachings are based more on oral tradition.  Most of us Protestants have some issues with some of the RC teaching because they can’t be found in scripture, and are sometimes contradicted by the word.  I’ve always believed we should study to show ourselves approved, and I’ve taken a lot of time studying RC doctrines, and I also watch EWTN quite a bit; which I must say is much better in execution and style than most Protestant based television stations.

This post is to look at the doctrine of transubstantiation and John 6, I will raise more issues with the idea of transubstantiation in my next post.  I’m addressing this through John 6 because watching “The Journey Home” on EWTN regularly I’ve noticed an interesting occurrence in those Protestants that become RC…they all say they’ve never heard John 6 explained, which I can’t quite grasp, but I’m going with the flow anyway, and will discuss it here.

To start off; What is transubstantiation? Transubstantiation is the belief that the bread and wine at the celebration of Mass becomes the literal flesh of Christ, and the literal blood of Christ. When it says literal, it means literal. You are no longer eating bread; you are eating flesh (and in fact, the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ). You are no longer drinking wine, you are drinking blood. My main contention with this is not that this is taught per se, but rather, scripture is claimed to back it up. Transubstantiation is not something taught in scripture, nor was it believed or taught by the earliest church leaders. When we examine scripture; Christ did not teach it, Paul did not teach it, and even James, the leader at the earliest church, Jerusalem, did not teach it.

John Chapter 6; this chapter, to get at the meaning of Jesus’ words must be read in entirety and in context. Please do so, here I will only give a run down on context, then on to the the main verses at hand.

John 6:1-14 Jesus feeds the five thousand. He fed them loaves of bread and fishes. This same group follows Him after this incident.

John 6:15-21 Jesus walks on the water

John 6:22-71 As we go through this, you’ll probably want your Bible opened to this, or your web-browser open as there is a lot of ground to cover here. I’ll quote the whole verses in my responses.

So, in John chapter 6, the large group that followed Jesus were after one thing:

26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

They wanted actual physical literal food. They were there when He did it before (verses 1-14), and they want more.

31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believenot.

So Jesus is the Bread of Life. Is He literal flour and water? No. This is a spiritual analogy. This clues us in right off the bat that He’s going to be speaking this way in this discourse. The symbolic language surrounding Christ is present in full effect in the Gospel of John, for example:

John 15: 1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Is Jesus literally a plant? No.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. We have a perfect example here, because what is being compared is an actual drink; water. Does Jesus give actual physical literal water? No.

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture Is Jesus a literal door or opening, made out of wood, or nothing? No. He’s a Spiritual one. Is He an actual lamb or lion? Are we literal and physical sheep? No.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. In this context, is He literal light waves? No. The point here is that John especially is filled with highly meaningful symbolic language.

How does Jesus give life to the world? He came, walked perfect, was a sacrifice, gave His flesh and blood in that sacrifice for us. How do we participate in this life He brings us; not by physical eating, but by coming to Him and believing (faithing) on Him. He will not give them physical, literal food, but only Himself to faithe on.

For those that believe in Transubstantiation do you claim not to physically and literally hunger anymore? Do you claim not to thirst? Of course not, so this idea is not a literal physical one. We don’t hunger spiritually anymore, we don’t thirst spiritually anymore after coming to Christ and faithing on Him.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

For everyone that has Faith in Him, they get everlasting life.

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

So, He is the living bread. For those of you who believe Transubstantiation is literal, do you believe that you will not literally, physically die? Of course not, it is obvious He is talking about spiritual death. If we come to Christ, and Faith on Him, we will not die. How does He give His flesh for the life of the world? By sacrificing it, not by us literally ingesting it.

John 6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Notice it is NOT as their fathers did eat manna. How did they eat manna? Literally and Physically. We also have a repeat of the phrase “hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Where did we see this phrase before? In verse 40: And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day

So, we get this everlasting life by belief, or more accurately rendered; by faith in Him. This too lines up with all of Paul’s teachings on faith vs. works. And also professing Christ (Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation) is indeed what saves, not literally eating or drinking.

John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Now we come to the conclusion of this chapter, and it wraps the whole thing up. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Jesus is blatantly telling us that nothing you physically and literally eat can save you (this goes right along with His teaching that nothing you physically and literally eat can make you unclean; Matthew 15:18). His word are about Spiritual matters, not fleshly, the flesh doesn’t profit anything.  Peter’s answer sheds more light on the situation. “Thou has the WORDS of eternal life.” Peter got it, it was Jesus’ words themselves that were giving life, His teachings. Again, it’s backed up by Peter’s believing Him; thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. That is what saves, that is what we need to come to and believe in order to have eternal life.

In part 2, I will continue on by examining the reaction of the crowd, and other scriptural insights, such as the scene at the Last Supper, that do not support the doctrine of transubstantiation.

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