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Living In Grace

A Christ inspired work dealing with American Christian Culture in the New Century.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Gracious Gospel or Man's Moralism?

Romans 11:6
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

There is something we as humans find comforting and satisfying about working to find ourselves approved. From the initiations of secret societies and fraternities to the jocularity of locker rooms and backyard grills we strive and labor to fit in and find forgiveness when wrongs occur. We often go to great lengths to gain the knowing nod from our peers signifying that we are finally " in ",  and when we fall into disfavor the efforts are doubled to work our way back into the good graces of those that matter most to us.

Do we approach God the same way?

Is our moralism the approach we use to gain favor with an infinitely Holy God? Are we trying to earn our way into God's grace by balancing out the bad with the good? Give it up. The Gospel and moralism are antithetical to each other and as such cannot meaningfully coexist in any way, ever.  Ever heard of works righteousness? How about grace plus works? Whatever name this sinister doctrine goes by it is utterly contrary to the free gift of grace as found in Christ Jesus.

How many good deeds cancels out the sins you have committed? Yes, I said sin because your transgression is not only a mistake, a gaff, or a minor misstep but is an affront to a Holy God who cannot look upon sin. You lied today and coveted yesterday. What good deeds will offset these seemingly innocuous sins? Isaiah stated that our righteousness is as filthy rags ( Isaiah 64:5-7 ) and Paul  avers that there is no one who is good or seeks the Lord  ( Romans 3:10-18 ). Think you are/were worthy to obtain God's favor? Do you honestly think that your finite and feeble efforts can appease an infinite and Holy God?

If so read what Paul wrote:
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit ( Titus 3:5 )

Then again in Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God

Counting on your works?:
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ( Romans 6:23 )

Did you gain the Holy Spirit through works or through faith?:
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? ( Galatians 3:1-3 )

Our repeated attempts at moralism are rebuffed and rebuked by God at every turn. It is an insult to God Almighty to try and earn what He has already secured for those who would believe. The Gospel is the good news that Christ is our sufficiency and that our salvation has already been wrought through His atoning work on the Cross. What work can you add to what He has already done? Do your deeds surpass the excellency of the shed blood of the Savior?

The Gospel or Moralism? The Gospel of Jesus Christ or the bad news of your inadequate works? Moralism that leads to an endless cycle of guilt and death or the liberating and life-giving Gospel as presented in the Scriptures?

What do you think? Can you earn your salvation?

Labels: , , ,

11 Comments:

Anonymous Mark@3-foldCord said...

I think the scriptures are quite on that we can do nothing to earn our salvation, however- where there is faith there will also be manifested works. All our works are but filthy rags when it comes to trying to impress God...but with God working through us we can accomplish great things. I guess it really comes down to your heart and your motives. If you are doing things to be recognize by God or man, then you are doing them for the wrong reasons.

You built an iron clad case that we cannot please God via moralisims or works...Great post! Also I wouldn't mind "fitting in" with you over a backyard grill sometime either:->

Blessings,

May 14, 2011 at 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Luther@Living In Grace said...

That grill sounds great. This post's main theme was about salvation and the gospel ;). Going to get to how the power of the gospel transforms the person and produces good works. Hope y'all have a good weekend

May 14, 2011 at 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Reyjacobs said...

 Psalm 62:12 "Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work."

Works-based justification is more gracious than grace-bases justification, in that it presents God as placable, able to be pleased.  In grace-based salvation God is depicted as implacable, unpleasable, a crazed perfectionist who can think of no better thing to do with an imperfect creation than to burn it in hell forever.  But in works-based salvation, God's forgiveness is able to work together with man's works without any false dichotomy between the two.  The Psalmist here praises God as "MERCIFUL" for rendering to every man "ACCORDING TO HIS WORK."  To the Psalmist, grace would be tyranny.  If God could render to an immoral man a great paradise, then he could equally render to a moral man great torment.  In such a case, God's justice would be the opposite of justice.  Grace creates chaos and inconsistency: it creates unpredictability, much like a Communist economy.  But in a world where God (as in Romans 2:6-10) renders ETERNAL LIFE to those who "by patient continuance in well doing seek glory and honor and immortality" and TORMENT AND ANGUISH to those who "obey unrighteousness rather than righteousness" there is predictability and true justice, and in this predictability and in this consistency there is a MERCY that transcends all the cruelty of that unpredictable and repugnantly inconsistent thing called GRACE.

May 15, 2011 at 11:15 PM  
Anonymous theoldadamlives said...

We cannot trust in our works because our motives are tainted by sin.

When Christ Jesus separated the sheep from the goats, those He sent away did all sorts of things (works), in Jesus' name no less!

But those whom He loved and kept were not even aware that they were giving Jesus food, or drink, or visiting Him in prison.

May 16, 2011 at 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Luther@Living In Grace said...

It is not by works of righteousness we have done but by His mercy He
had saved us.

We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works

The thing is even our best effort falls miserably short of God and His
holiness. If you have NO works ( fruit ) I would doubt your conversion
and if you are trusting in your works I to would doubt.

Fruit comes naturally by who we are in Christ while works are our
efforts to please God

A Living Stone

May 16, 2011 at 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Luther@Living In Grace said...

 Hello ReyJacobs and thanks for stopping by.

Can I start by asking you a question?  What makes your works good and by what standard are they judged?  Are they judged according to your own subjective standard or is there a standard upon which we can look?  The standard by which your works will be judged is the PERFECTION of God. 1 Peter 1:16

Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
 
That is the standard by which you are choosing to be judged or maybe it is the Law of God?
Deuteronomy 5:32-33 (New American Standard Bible)


 32"So you shall observe to do just as the LORD your God has commanded you; (A)you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left.
 33"(B)You shall walk in all the way which the LORD your God has commanded you, (C)that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess.

Ever turned to the right or the left Rey?

Galatians 2:16

nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
 
Looking bad for ya Rey....but keep working at it maybe one day God will change His mind

James 2:10

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

Ever stumbled in one point....told a little lie or was unjustly angry?  How many " good " things must you do to rectify the situation?

"  If God could render to an immoral man a great paradise, then he could equally render to a moral man great torment. "

Who is moral?  Romans tells us that their is none righteous and none who seeks after God. So by what standard are you deeming them moral?

If  Grace is truly repugnant then the New Testament is a repugnant document since:

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

and:
Titus 3:5 (New American Standard Bible)


 5(A)He saved us, (B)not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but (C)according to His mercy, by the (D)washing of regeneration and (E)renewing by the Holy Spirit

May 16, 2011 at 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Reyjacobs said...

Why go for Deuteronomy rather than Ezekiel 18?  Simply to stack the deck obviously.  Everyone knows the Deuteronomist wrote Deuteronomy after Solomon built the temple and mainly to establish a new law saying all sacrifices had to be made in Jerusalem as opposed to Exodus which allowed for personal altars.

"Who is moral?  Romans tells us that their is none righteous and none who seeks after God."  In chapter 3, Paul contradicts what he had said in chapter 2.  Read 2:6-10.  You follow Paul's error, I follow his truth.

May 16, 2011 at 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Reyjacobs said...

Paul becomes all things to all men.  To the true Christian he is a true Christian and teaches justification by works (Rom 2:6-10) and to the heretic he becomes a heretic and teaches hogwash that requires twisting the Old Testament (Rom 3-4)

May 16, 2011 at 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Luther@Living In Grace said...

You are one cognitive dissonant mess my friend. There is no twisting
of the old testament but rather an expounding of the doctrines found
there.

Paul became all things to all men so that some may be won to Christ
and it was not through deceit. Your salvaging of scripture is no to be
commended.

Are you moral and by why standard? Who allows you to pick and choose
which NT passage is true or not? Have you broken any law and where is
the sacrifice required for you who wants to be justified by the law?

Glad you keep showing up
A Living Stone

May 16, 2011 at 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Reyjacobs said...

The passages that Paul abuses in Romans 3 all comes from contexts speaking exclusively about atheists.  Paul twists them to apply them to all mankind.  If you cannot see that, there is no hope for you.  Undoubtedly, like most, you've never looked up what passages those are and gone and read them in their OT contexts.  You just implicitly follow the heretic Paul to hell.

May 16, 2011 at 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Luther@Living In Grace said...

There are no true atheists only those who acknowledge the wrong god.
To be a heretic you must teach something that would exclude someone
from the communion of faith and salvation. Your works based salvation
is the heresy as it is a burden to grievous for
You to carry and you would gladly lay it on others.

A works based salvation is heresy and always has been. Abraham
believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.

Is Jesus your messiah, are you an adherent of a sect of Judaism, or
your own god? Is your problem with Paul or the entirety of the new
testament plus whatever OT passage you don't like?

Are you moral and by what standard will your works be judged?

A Living Stone

May 16, 2011 at 11:32 PM  

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