Thesis # 63 of 95 – The vital means for communicating spiritual renewal and ongoing sanctification is through the sacraments of the Church. Thesis #64 of 95- An essential component of the Christian life is participation in the Divine Eucharist. Thesis #65 of 95- The Lord has ensured throughout the Church's history that faithful assemblies in East and West are gathered to Himself, so that from the rising of the sun until its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to His name. Thesis #66 of 95 - In some meaningful albeit mystical sense Christ's body must be eaten and His blood drunk by the Christian for “whoever eats Me will draw life from me" and "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person"
Rom8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers
Jn6:53-56 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood possesses eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him.
Through what I have been shown (by the Spirit I believe) even the true Church has propagated substantial doctrinal error through the centuries. Such I also believe was foretold in the Book of Enoch’s Apocalypse of Weeks, as my linked post explains. Despite such fallibility, both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches (divided since the 1054 schism) and those episcopal churches affiliated to them have been enabled to fulfil their primary salvific obligations. For the Lord “has never ceased to gather a people to Himself so that from the rising of the sun until its setting a pure sacrifice is offered to His name”. As universal sacrament for the world, the Apostolic Church, East and West has ensured that the fullness of sacramental provision necessary for gospel salvation (sometimes with more besides) has been provided in each century for every generation of the Christian era, such that those appointed to eternal life (Acts13:48) might be supplied for divine service now and in the ages to come.
The 95 theses taken as a whole affirm that everyone who responds positively to conscience demonstrate themselves to be “of God” as opposed to being like Cain “of the Wicked One” (1Jn3:11-12). However, atheists, agnostics and those of other faiths cannot be presented “faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jud1:24). That requires one to become a disciple of Jesus Christ and a partaker of Jesus Christ in order to become conformed to His image (Rom8:29). To do so one must draw on His spiritual life-force by (in some meaningful sense) eating His flesh and drinking His blood, for “whoever eats Me will draw life from Me (Jn6:57).
The eucharist – our sanctification
Receiving this Sacrament might be likened to the body’s blood flowing through the heart and being renewed and cleansed by it: spiritual life is renewed and refreshed by participation in the Eucharist. Yet it is no mechanical process even for those regularly attending this means of grace. Faith is required just as it was when Jesus was physically present on earth by those who would be healed by Him. The pupil of the apostle John (Ignatius) affirmed this Sacrament to be the medicine of immortality. Yet it is more than a salve it is a Saviour (i.e. a Person). The Eucharistic meal possesses the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, not through the magic of a priest but by the Holy Spirit imprecated by him. One must have faith to regard it as such if one is fully to benefit from its transforming power for one is not merely receiving medicine for the soul but a Person to relate to it.
Of course, many sincere believers in Christ will not accept such teaching regarding the Eucharist/Mass/Divine Liturgy/Lord’s Supper. For the first 28 years of my Christian life, I did not either. Key to the change in my understanding was a study of the Early Church Fathers, i.e. the teaching and observations of those who had been tutored by the apostles themselves or the likes of Timothy, Jude, Philemon or the men they personally tutored (which takes us into the early to middle second century). I reviewed their writings on the subject in an earlier post. This is reinforced by the witness of Irenaeus and Church historian Eusebius, the former theologian in particular witnessing to the unity of liturgy within the churches of the second century.
Although I cannot be certain how the Lord will at last deal with those who have sought to be faithful to Him but are genuinely ignorant of these matters, These four related theses testify to the assertion there is no salvation outside the Apostolic Church (as defined above). But as the previous post/thesis delineated, by “salvation” I mean SALVATION: those to whom Paul refers as heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, who suffer with Him that they might be also glorified with Him (Rom8:17); those who are seeking to attain the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phi3:14). That does not equate to who does or does not go to heaven when they die, which has more to do with the final judgement parable in Mt25. However the issue under consideration does determine whether or not one can attain an inheritance reserved for those who are sanctified (Acts20:32).
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