1 October 2008

My Spirit Rejoices in God My Saviour

(Gospel e-Letter October 2008)

In my childhood I used to call on the name of Mary every night and commit my soul to her care. I also remember praying, “Jesus, Mary, I love you, save souls.” I was mistaken. Today I am concerned for the millions of Catholics who continue to call on the name of Mary for salvation.

A popular Catholic devotional says, “Let us then, 0 devout reader, beg God to grant us, that at death the name of Mary may be the last word on our lips.” It concludes with a prayer to Mary, “I ask thee, 0 Mary, for the glory of thy name, to come and meet my soul when it is departing from this world, and to take it in thine arms.”

In Scripture, Mary never invited sinners to come to her for salvation. On the contrary, Mary recognized God as her saviour. “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” she said. Should we then dishonour the blessed Mother of our Lord by calling on her name to save us? Or should we rather follow her godly example and turn to the Lord for our salvation?

No one can save except Jesus. The apostle Peter declared that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

There is one name, and that name is not the name of Mary. The only name by which we can escape the fire of Hell is the precious Name of Jesus. For he alone is God and man. He alone is the Christ, appointed by God the Father to rescue his people. He alone shed his immaculate blood to free his people from their sin and the wrath to come. Mary did not die in our place. Mary cannot save, but she needed to be saved. Nonetheless if you trust yourself in the hands of the Lord, just as Mary did, then you can share Mary’s joy, and sing with all the redeemed, “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”

God promises salvation to all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Many people simply ignore the promise of the gospel because they would rather continue to indulge in sin. Others reject God’s promise because don’t really believe him or his Word - that we are saved by his mercy and not on account of our righteous deeds (Titus 3:5). They expect to merit heaven by their righteousness and religion. God will have nothing to do with them.

I beg you, come to God. Come, even though you are helpless and burdened with sins and guilt. Come with full confidence in his goodness and kindness; the cross of Jesus is the proof of God’s love for undeserving sinners. Don’t attempt to approach God on account of your personal merit or through Mary or anybody else. Come to God by faith, through the one and only mediator, Jesus Christ. “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

The Catholic devotional tells you to call on the name of Mary even with your last breath. But that is not what the Bible tells us. When the first Christian martyr, Stephen, was about to die, he called on the name of Jesus. “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).

What, then, is your decision? Would you follow the Catholic teaching or the Bible? What would you say?

I trust in the Name of Jesus and the name of Mary for my salvation, even though the Bible warns us that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

or

Like Mary and all Christians, I trust in the Name of the Lord Jesus alone, for it is written in the Scripture that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Along with Mary and all the redeemed, I rejoice in God my Saviour.