Just for Catholics - Testimonies

THE LOVE OF JESUS

Anthony Faber

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. My family and friends are Catholic parishioners from the Northeast section of the United States. To be honest, as a whole, the experience of growing up in a Catholic environment was enjoyable. We went to Mass on most Sundays and I eventually married a Catholic girl. Even beyond this, my ties with the Catholic Church were evident. I attended a large Catholic university where I studied for a doctorate in a non-religious field of study. My wife and I were loyal parishioners of a large church and donated money to help it through the fallout of the priest abuse scandal. I regularly prayed the Rosary, and even joined a Rosary prayer chain with thousands of other devout Catholics.

Then, something happened. I began to read the Christian author Max Lucado. His words directed me to really take a good look at the Bible. As I read and prayerfully studied the Bible, and researched the official views of the Roman Catholic Church, especially the Canon Law, I began to grow more and more apprehensive. Was I after a different God than other Christians? Did I really understand who God was as He revealed Himself to us?

Unfortunately, the answer was an astounding "No". As God started to reveal (or I should say, as I started to pay attention to God revelation of) Himself, I realized the God who created the world and who created us in His likeness, was not the same God I was serving in the Catholic religion.

Funny, I was a Catholic for 26 years, and I needed to be introduced to Jesus! As I studied the Gospel of John, Romans, Ephesians and, ironically, James, my stomach was turning. All along my life I had missed the Gospel message! I came to understand that God is loving and gracious beyond my greatest comprehension. That love seeps out in the words, actions and wounds of Jesus Christ. No wonder they call him the Savior!

 I remember getting on my knees, and tearfully pleading with God to cleanse me of my sins, putting my complete trust and love in Jesus, and asking to be sealed with the Holy Spirit. Now I know that I am secure in the hands of God, and nothing will be able to separate me (and us) from our salvation through our faith in Christ Jesus (Romans 9:38-39).

There was no better advice that I got from Scripture than, "seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you" (Luke 11:9-10). These words ring so true. In our sorrow for sin, if we just truly call on the name of the Lord, He will show Himself to us (Romans 10:13). God does not lie or trick, or turn away; He is not the author of confusion or contradiction (1 Corinthians 14:33). If we put our trust in Him, we will never be disappointed (Romans 3:22; John 12:46).

I can always rest assured that I am saved through faith in Jesus (John 11:15; John 6:47; Acts 13:38-39). Since I know this, God has allowed me to be a much more fruit-producing believer. So many Catholics are trapped in a belief system where they need to earn their salvation. I truly believe God will forgive them for this so long as they have faith in the Son. But believe me when I say this: You will waste the opportunity to bear fruit, to witness for Christ and to pay back love with love, if you remain in doubt about Godís grace and love.

Forget about man-made sacraments, penance and prayers addressed to departed saints rather than to God. Forget everything except the Scripture, the revelation of God to us. Paul tells us, even if they (the apostles) or angels appear and preach a different Gospel, we are to reject it (Galatians 1). So I plead with you to hear, maybe for the first time, the true Gospel message as summed up in a Letter of John to Christians who were wondering if they were saved or not.

"If we have faith in God's Son, we have believed what God has said. But if we don't believe what God has said about his Son, it is the same as calling God a liar. God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. And so, if we have God's Son, we have this life. But if we don't have the Son, we don't have this life" (I John 5: 10-12 CEV).