This is sort of an unintended follow-up to last month’s article on the Catholic Eucharist, which can be found here:
The Catholic Church makes much of the Eucharistic Mass by insisting that not only is the Eucharist an offering to God for the forgiveness of sins (CCC #1350, #1354, #1366, #1369), but when it is offered in the Mass, it is the very same sacrifice that Jesus offered on Calvary (CCC #1366, #1367). But is it really a re-presenting of Calvary, as they claim? Is the work of Jesus on the cross even something that mortal man is able to offer to God at all? The answer to both of these questions is no.
Consider this analogy:
Let’s suppose you have committed a very serious crime and you are fined and you owe the court one million dollars. And there is no way that you could possibly pay your fine in your lifetime. But a rich and merciful stranger pays the debt in full. Imagine your relief at the kindness of this stranger! You are now free of your impossible debt!
But a little later, you decide that you want to go back to court and present, not the money, but the memory of the stranger’s payment, and you “offer” that memory to the court as payment. And you insist that by doing this, you are actually “making that past event present,” in effect, paying the debt. But the judge is not amused and says:
“But that paid-off debt is a past transaction that need never be brought up again. And even if we could accept payment for a closed account, offering the mere memory of a past payment is absurd. Furthermore, the million dollars that was offered in the past was never yours to offer. Remember, you were unable to pay the debt. It was the rich stranger’s offering, not yours. To try and somehow now offer to the court, as payment, the mere memory of someone else’s past payment of your debt is a joke.” The judge continues, “If you want to say thanks for my accepting your rich stranger’s offer, that’s fine. But you can’t ‘offer’ anything for this closed account, much less the memory of it. And furthermore, the memory of a past event does not magically “make it present.” Again, attempting to offer the memory of an event as some kind of valid payment to the court is an insult to both the court and the rich stranger.”
And an insult it is. Now, compare the spiritual application of the story above to what the Catholic Church claims for the Eucharist:
In much the same way, you have sinned against Almighty God and you have a debt of sin that you could never pay. But a merciful and perfectly sinless Person (Jesus Christ) is willing to pay for your sins with His life, and He pays for it once and for all on the cross of Calvary (Hebrews 10:10-12, 14, 18). It is a singular and very unique offering, “the just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18; Romans 5:8).
But you (the Catholic or the priest) decide that you want to take the memory of His payment for sin and somehow “offer” it once again to the Father as a payment for your sin through the ritual of the Catholic Mass. And the Father tells you, “But the payment for your sin is a past transaction and it cannot be ‘re-offered’ to Me (Hebrews 10:14). It can never be your offering, since My Son is the One Who offered it (Hebrews 10:10, 12). It is forever HIS offering, and no one else’s. No priest, individual, or church can ever offer, present, or ‘RE-present’ it to Me. It could only be offered by the Perfect God-man, and it was offered ONCE FOR ALL at Calvary (Hebrews 10:10-18). Anyone else attempting to ‘offer’ what Jesus did is committing a vain and blasphemous mockery.” The Father continues, “If you want to thank Me for accepting His perfect payment, that’s fine. But no one can ever go back and re-offer what My Son did, lest it be a ridiculous pretense and an insult to both Me and My Son.”
So, once again, no one can “present Calvary” as an offering, no matter how well-intentioned the “offer” is. The only way that MAN can offer Calvary is by sharing its truth with others, by spreading the gospel. The Bible never suggests any other way for man to “offer” Jesus. The work of offering a sacrifice for man’s sin has already been done perfectly by the one spotless Person, and as stated earlier, it was done by Him once for all (Hebrews 10:10-12, 14, 18). Jesus said that it is finished (John 19:30), the penalty for sin is paid.
The Catholic Church claims that Jesus is continually offering His sacrifice - through the priest - daily in the Eucharist. But the Bible tells us that while every priest STANDS to present offerings (Hebrews 10:11), Jesus is now SEATED at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12) in Heaven, signifying that His work of redemption is finished! He is not continually offering because He is finished offering. There were no chairs in the Jewish temple or tabernacle, so no offering for sin was ever done sitting down. The sin offering is finished, so there is no need whatsoever for Him to “RE-present” His offering to God. By the way, using this term is just a word game that the Catholic Church plays to try to downplay the “once for all” aspect of His work, so they’ll say: “No, we’re not offering Jesus again; we’re just ‘re-presenting’ His once-for-all offering.” You can make up all the fancy terms you want, but “RE-presenting” is simply re-offering, no matter how you slice it. And you can’t offer a sacrifice for sin that has already been offered, anyway.
If Jesus’ work on the cross ever needed to be offered again to God, for man’s sin, that would mean that it was ineffective the first time. All “repeat” offerings or “RE-presented” offerings for sin are imperfect ones (Hebrews 10:1-2, 11).
Once again, Jesus’ work on the cross does not need to be re-offered or RE-presented. It was perfect, final, and fully sufficient (Hebrews 10:10, 12, 14). But it will not, it cannot, ever be offered to God again for sin. Not even by Jesus Christ. Unless the inspired author of Hebrews lied when he said:
By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10)
But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:12)
For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)
Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:18)
The offering of the Eucharist and the event of Calvary are NOT one and the same. It is blasphemous to equate ANY human work, ritual, or accomplishments with Calvary. Jesus’ offering of Himself on the cross is a priceless one-time offering – it cannot be “RE-offered,” “RE-presented,” or “RE-used” as an offering to God. It is not ours to offer.