While on holiday a few miles away it seemed obvious to go and visit Vatican city. Architecturally speaking it is breath taking, especially St. Peter’s.
I’m a reformed guy and as I walked around I thought of Luther, Calvin & Tyndale et al.
But most of all i thought of Jesus.
I thought of the doctrines of grace and how *we differ so much in our belief that salvation is by faith alone through Christ alone. I thought of our firm, uncompromising grasp that Scripture is the final authoritative Word of God that stands high above traditions, church policies, bishops, popes, pastors and creeds.
A lot of men & little Jesus!
I found that this was a place in which men where honored a lot. This isn't wrong as it is good to honor others, but i found from my short time there, that this religion's saints were held high to be plainly seen and commemorated, yet it was all to easy to get back on the bus without Jesus being brought to your attention.
Admittedly i didn't get around everywhere, nor read every plaque of information etc so i'm firing from a quick observation. But let's be honest, even limited exposure should have the Saviour thrust firmly into focus.
Dried up fountain.
When we seek forgiveness from God in any other means that are apart from, or add to the cross we are drinking from broken cisterns - that is, from a fountain that has nothing flowing from it, much like the one pictured above. I say this of any religion, church etc that does not rest upon Christ alone as the only way to the Father.
Jesus is The Fountain of living water
Jesus plainly declared;
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38)
To those who seek to earn favour and/or forgiveness of God.
Jesus’ words in John 4:10 are relevant to all who seek God in ways that do not rest solely on the finished work of Christ.
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
We'll always have more works or penance to do if we are in a religion that holds these as a means of favor & forgiveness with God. We'll be left thirsty as we seek to continually 'do'. But Jesus' cry upon the cross of 'It is finished' means that in Him we find a sacrifice offered up on our behalf once and for all.
In Jesus Christ alone we find our sins; past, present & future have been dealt with and the demands of the law against us; that demand for our punishment & separation from God, has been blotted out.
[Picture: one of the water fountains outside st Peter's basilica, this one had no water running from it]
*see comments for a further note . . .