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New City Catechism 33.3

Question 33: Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works, or anywhere else?

Answer: No, they should not, as everything necessary to salvation is found in Christ. To seek salvation through good works is a denial that Christ is the only Redeemer and Savior.

False teachers always add to and subtract from the truth. They add mediators alongside Jesus Christ, and by doing so they subtract from the full accomplishment of his saving work on the cross. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, adds a large number of mediators into the system of salvation. Catholics believe that Christ is our high priest, but they also have a continuing priesthood here on earth, where men of the church have been entrusted with the power to dispense God’s grace to the people through the Catholic sacraments. In this way, the church and its officers is a mediator between God and humanity under Christ.

But Catholics don’t stop there. They also teach prayer to Mary and the saints (defined as particularly righteous dead believers). According to Catholic teaching, these extraordinarily righteous people have contributed to a heavenly treasury of merit that is made accessible to us, a teaching that, by its very nature, puts them in the role of lesser mediators alongside Christ.

Any teaching that seeks to add mediators alongside Christ is a false teaching. Let us trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. He alone deserves all glory for it.

Suggested passage for family or personal reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-7. What does Paul say about Jesus Christ in this passage? How does his teaching apply to our lives today?

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