A Reply to a Papist Concerning Christ Being the Bread of Life, Wherein is Shown the True Meaning of John 6:48-53, Also Showing the Repulsive Teaching of Transubstantiation to be False
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have not forgotten you, though I have not replied to your rantings in several days. Be sure I have prayed for you much that God would enlighten your benighted mind to receive the truth, for except the Lord regenerate you, you cannot believe though one arose from the dead. I pray not only for you, but also for all deluded by the superstitions advocated by Rome. I am thankful that you are reading our little articles in the Narrow Way, though you appear to read only to rail against the gospel and pick a fight. What you mean for evil, the Lord may mean for good. So we encourage you to continue to read.
As I have pointed out in earlier replies, better men than I have answered all the false claims of Rome with such skill that any with a spiritual mind can see the soul damning errors still advocated by the pope. The fact that otherwise intelligent people still hold to these repulsive doctrines shows the hardness of the human heart and the blindness of the unregenerate mind. Popery is a testimony to the truth of total depravity. You and your blind guides continue to hold stubbornly to ridiculous lies though the scriptures plainly indict you, and the Lord has sent multitudes of faithful men to you to show you of your errors. But as the Lord plainly said in the chapter we are about to consider, “no man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” You and all other deluded papists, including the pope himself are hopeless and helpless except the Lord is pleased to regenerate you. But since we know that God’s grace is amazing indeed, I will give you the truth, praying that the Lord may use my small efforts. Though, as I say better men than I have answered all these errors, the Lord in His good and wise providence has brought you to me by means of electronic mail that you may hear the truth. Eternity will declare whether my words shall be savour of life or of death.
In the passage you so wrongly interpret (John 6:48-53) our Lord calls Himself the Bread of Life that gives life to those who eat. The true sense of our Lord’s words is clearly and easily understood by the context in which they were stated. In the beginning of the chapter our Lord performed a notable miracle of feeding the multitude with a few fishes and loaves. Most of this multitude proved themselves to be unregenerate persons for they sought more of natural bread, rather than Christ Himself. And this is the way with unregenerate souls. They are interested in everything but Christ Himself. They can be satisfied with the things of this world, which are all perishing, but they are not satisfied with Christ. Christ warns such in verse 27, “labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” This verse shows us that Christ is not talking about literal, natural, physical bread in this chapter when He calls Himself the bread of Life. It is clear that our Lord has a spiritual lesson here. As he says in verse 63, “it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing."
In verse 35 our Lord says, “I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Thus we see that coming to Christ and believing on Christ is the same thing. (Or as some would say, coming to Christ is one of the principle acts of faith.) In verse 37 our Lord says, “all that the father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” All of God’s elect, who were given to Christ in the everlasting covenant before the foundation of the world, shall be given the gift of faith and shall believe in Christ to the saving of their souls. As it says in Acts 13:48, “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Thus we see that coming to the bread of life is the same thing as eating the Bread of life as spoken of as he continues His discourse with the Jews. It is clear that our Lord means by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, believing in Him.
In verse 54 where the Lord says “whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life” is a synonymous statement with John 5:24 where we read, “he that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me hath everlasting life.” Please note well that the text in John 5:24 says hath everlasting life. The believer is already in possession of everlasting life. The same is true in John 6:54, "whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life." We do not receive life by believing in Christ (symbolized by eating His flesh and drinking His blood), but rather believing in Christ is the result of God regenerating us (see John 1:13). Eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ is the same as believing on Christ. Let us see how.
Believing on Christ is the act of faith, the same as receiving Christ. So our Lord says in John 1:12, “but as many as received Him gave He power to become the sons of God, even them which believe on His name.” Also in Colossians 1:6, “as ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” Eating well illustrates the act of faith, for in eating natural bread, we receive it into our bodies. So believing in Christ, a poor sinner receives Him into his soul. So you see our Lord is illustrating the act of faith by eating.
But not only is the act of faith illustrated by eating and drinking, but the Object of our faith is well illustrated in the passage under consideration. Note well our Lord speaks of His flesh and His blood as being separate. Thus our Lord declares Himself the Object of saving faith as one whose blood was separated from His flesh. He died for our sins. His blood was poured out for our cleansing and for our salvation.
Also this is an apt illustration of the sufficiency of our Lord’s atonement. By using the term bread, our Lord speaks of that which is sufficient for us naturally. So Christ is sufficient for our salvation. This passage most forcefully declares that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ Alone. These are three ways of saying the same thing. Christ Alone saves His people. As it says in Hebrews 1:3, “when he had by Himself purged our sins.” The atonement made by Christ is sufficient for our salvation. Rites and rituals will add nothing to the finished work of Christ. Our good works and our religion will add nothing to what Christ has done. Christ Alone could redeem. If good works would save, there would have been no point in the Father putting His Son to grief. Christ has fought the battle and won. The angel said in Matthew 1:21, “He shall save His people from their sin", and He did! Also we read in Hebrews 10:14, “by ONE offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” This is the reason the so-called “mass” is blasphemy, for they who claim to perform it claim that Christ is offered again. What heresy! What blasphemy! What a lie out of the pit of hell! Christ will never have to be offered again for He finished the work He came to do. As bread is sufficient for natural life, so Christ is sufficient for spiritual life.
Thus we see the true meaning of John 6:48-53. Christ illustrates saving faith in Himself by eating and drinking Hid blood.
That our Lord was not speaking here of the Lord’s Supper is also easily shown by these facts:
First, the Lord’s Supper was not yet instituted when our Lord spake these words. Our Lord was speaking of something here that His people were at that time able to do. He speaks here of Himself metaphorically as the Bread of Life which at that present time His people were enjoying.
Secondly, our Lord speaks here of something in which all of His people are able to participate. The dying thief never received the elements of bread and wine as a remembrance of our Lord, but he had eternal life and is in heaven with Christ right now. Multitudes of the Lord’s people have been unable to come to the Lord’s Table because of banishment and imprisonment. The Apostle Paul himself died in prison and was not able to be with the church for the ordinance the last part of his life, but he is with Christ now. Many of the Lord’s people have been physically and mentally unable to receive the ordinance for long periods of time, but they still had eternal life.
Thirdly, this passage cannot refer to the Lord’s Supper for many receive the outward elements who have not the inward reality and therefore are not saved. Those who receive the supper unworthily are guilty of the Lord’s blood and body and are not saved (I Corinthians 11:29).
Fourthly, if this passage refers to the Lord’s Supper it proves more than the pope will allow, for our Lord says that they who eat His flesh and drink His blood have eternal life. This passage teaches the final perseverance of the saints, something the pope will not have, for he still pronounces anathema (in the Council of Trent) on us who hold this scriptural truth. Now, believers have eternal life and cannot lose their salvation. Thus we see that those who truly eat the flesh of Christ and truly drink His blood by believing on Him have eternal life and cannot fall finally away.
Fifthly, if this passage refers to the Lord’s Supper then it puts all papists except for the priests in hell, for only the priests eat the bread and drink the wine. The people only eat the bread for the cup is withheld from the people, therefore the people do not drink His blood and cannot abide in Christ!
Having proven the true meaning of John 6:48-53, and shown that the Lord’s Supper is not under consideration in the passage, I shall now show you how repulsive is the heresy of transubstantiation. The papists appeal to the words of our Lord, “this is my body” as being literal. That our Lord speaks not literally is easily shown by His words following in (for example) Luke 22:20, “this cup is the new testament in my blood.” Anyone with enough sense to lick a postage stamp can see that our Lord by saying “the cup”, He meant what was in the cup. So it is apparent that our Lord was speaking of His body and blood represented by the elements of bread and wine.
The very idea that Christ would have us become cannibals is repulsive to anyone who believes the Bible. The very idea that anyone could be so stupid as to miss the plain sense of our Lord’s words “remember me” and to think He meant for us to become cannibals! Yet you Romanists are so blinded in ignorance that you have killed thousands who refused to confess this abominable lie. Herein we see the difference in the true Church and the Roman cult. If you are stupid enough and superstitious enough to believe that your “priest” is a magician who can change bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Christ, we will not try to kill you for it. We will plead with you and show you the scriptures, but we are not trying to be lords of your consciences. If you reject the gospel for superstition, we are grieved for you, but we will not try to kill you. But you are so blinded in your false zeal as to use the stake and the rack to torture people into confessing what they know is a lie. The gospel does not need torture to support it. The truth accompanied by the Holy Spirit is sufficient. We have a holy zeal for your salvation, but a holy contentment that God has not purposed to save everybody and that He hides the truth from the wise and prudent.
Christ is spiritually present with His people (Matthew 18:20; John 14:16-17), but He is bodily seated on His rightful throne in heaven. The scriptures do not insinuate, must less directly say that a so-called “priest” can chant hocus-pocus and bring part of the Lord’s body down from heaven or create more of His flesh and blood for us to cannibalize.
But the most repulsive thing is the teaching that the Roman ‘priest” sacrifices the body and blood again in the “mass”. As we have shown from Hebrews 10:14 our Lord was ONCE offered. (By the way I know of a former Romish priest who was converted by that very text. I pray the Lord may use it to save many more papists.) Hebrews 9:28 says Christ was ONCE offered. What is there about “once” the pope does not understand?!
May the Lord have mercy on you. I have given you the truth. If you reject it, you do so the peril of your soul. Repent of your superstition and come to Christ. You have His word that He will not cast you out.