Archive for the ‘good works’ category

Even if you do what you believe (because you believe), and “choose life”, there is no life in the law

January 23, 2017

There is no life in the law of Moses. There is no life in the law of Christ.
There is only life in the gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Many who preach sermons in churches could preach the very same sermon in synagogues, because they preach the law and not the gospel. They confuse the law with the gospel, because they think that doing the law brings life. Make your choice, these preachers tell us. Believe the law and then do the law, and if you don’t do the law that means you don’t believe the law.

Deuteronomy 30:11 Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is NOT TOO HARD FOR YOU, nor is it too far away. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and DO IT ?” 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and DO IT” 14 No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to DO 15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 IF YOU OBEY the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and DOING his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live…. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.

But this choice is not as simple as it sounds, which is why legal preachers also cut themselves (and those who listen to them) some slack. They assure us that we need not live by the letter of the law. They say we can choose life and gain life by doing what the law says but at the same without our relying on our believing and on our doing what the law says. We should remain humble and thank God for helping us do the law. We should not sit in judgment those who don’t do the law well, so that others will not judge us when we don’t do the law better.

These preachers have no good news for sinners like me. These preachers have no good news for people like me who are still very unbelieving.

When Jesus preached in a synagogue, Jesus preached about Himself, not about our doing the law. Of those who are guilty before the law , all those for whom Jesus died (the elect) will be freed from that guilt and given life.

Matthew 11: 8 those who wear soft clothes are in kings’ palaces.

Luke 4: 16 Jesus entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,
because He has anointed Me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me
to proclaim freedom to the captives

Luke 4: 25 But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them—but to one widow outside of Israel. 27 And in the prophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had serious skin diseases, yet not one of them was healed —only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged.29 They got up, drove Jesus out of town, and brought Him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl Jesus over the cliff.

These who come in soft clothes to the synagogues are not offended at the idea of a new perspective in which they become more inclusive and welcome others to do the law with them. But those in soft clothes in the synagogues get angry when anybody “narrows the covenant” to only those sinners whose hope is not in doing the law but in election by grace. Those in soft clothes in synagogues reject any notion that their own children and other family members will not be given enough grace to do enough of the law to receive life.

Deuteronomy 27: 26 Cursed is everyone who does not DO ALL the things written in the book of the law'”

John 3:19– “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their DOING was evil. 20 They do not come to the light, lest their DOING be exposed.

“All who depend on DOING the law are under a curse” (Galatians 3:10).

Those who pursue life by doing and obeying the law also accept the consequences of disobeying law. We are all born condemned, even before we do anything good or bad.
Whether we think we are pursuing life by doing or not, we are all born condemned, with no hope except in the gospel.

Hebrews 6:1– “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God”

Hebrews 9:14–”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Faith in the doctrine of Christ’s death and resurrection can be referred to as obedience in the sense that when we believe in Christ we are doing what God command everybody to do. Thus is why the Scriptures sometimes speak of “obeying the gospel.” But doing the law is not faith in the gospel (Romans 3:28). Since whatever is not faith is sin (Romans 14:23 ) , some have concluded that “works of the law” does not refer to failure before the law in general, but rather to a specific kind of sin–the sin of trying to earn life from God by doing the law. But we are all born condemned because of Adam’s sin and also because of all our sins, not only because of the sin of trying to gain life by law. Even though there was never grace for the non-elect, the non-elect also are born condemned before they did anything good or bad, and before they ever attempted to gain life by doing the law. Romans 9:11 For though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything GOOD OR BAD, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works. Law doing is not simply acts one does without faith. “Works” are “anything we do, whether good or bad.”

Romans 3:19 “The law speaks to those who are under the law, in order that every mouth be silenced, and in order that the whole world be held accountable to God. 20 For ‘no human being will be justified in his sight’ by doing commanded by the law. Through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

Jesus has redeemed His elect people from the curse of the law “by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13)

Galatians 3: 12 The law is NOT of faith, rather “The one who DOES them shall LIVE by them.” (Leviticus 18:5)

The logic of “if” is the logic of “or”.

Galatians 2:21 if righteousness and life came through doing the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Christ died for a purpose (all for whom Christ died will be saved) OR righteousness is through our doing the law. No synthesis possible. Christ did not come to help us to get around that antithesis

Galatians 3:18 For IF the inheritance comes by DOING the law, the inheritance does NOT come by promise

Galatians 3:21 For IF a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by doing the law.

Romans 3: 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded.

If our doing the law brings life, then trusting only in Christ’s death is excluded. Faith in Christ’s death and resurrection means “not doing the law”

This is why we cannot say that doing the law because we believe gives us life. We do not receive or keep life by doing the law.

John 7:19 “Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law.”

Acts 13: 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died, was laid beside his ancestors, and experienced corruption 37 but Jesus who God raised up experienced no corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that through this man Jesus forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; 39 by this Jesus each and every person who believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

II Corinthians 3: 7 Now if the ministry of death, in letters on stone tablets, came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at the face of Moses because of the glory, a glory now set aside, 8 how much more will the ministry of the Holy Spirit come in glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, much more does the ministry of justification abound in glory! 10 Indeed, what ONCE HAD glory has lost its glory because of the greater glory. 11 if what was SET ASIDE came through glory, much more has the PERMANENT come in glory!

Trust and Duty–the written commands of Christ our Creator, Lawgiver and Lord Husband

December 17, 2016

Those who are not yet justified in Christ CANNOT obey God or offer God any acceptable sacrifices. Proverbs 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD”

Romans 6:20 ”For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those thing is death”

Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we now bear FRUIT FOR GOD. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear FRUIT FOR DEATH.”

Luke 16:15 That which is highly esteemed among humans is abomination in the sight of God.

Those now outside of Christ cannot do any good works. But those who believe the gospel are obligated to obey the written commands of Christ our Creator, Lord and Lawgiver.

Hebrews 13: 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

I Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”

Romans 12 I appeal to you therefore, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

II Timothy 3– But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud … ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good,… reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people..All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching.. for correcting, for training in righteousness

Matthew 11:29 Take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I john 5 2 This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands. 3 For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden, 4 because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.

I Corinthians 7: 22 For as many as who are called by the Lord as a slave are the Lord’s free person Likewise as many as who are called as a free person are Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price. Do not become slaves of others

I Corinthians 9: 19 Although I am a free person and not anyone’s slave, I have made myself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the Mosaic law, like one under the Mosaic law—though I myself am not under the Mosaic law —to win those under the Mosaic law. 21 To those who are without the Mosaic law, like one without the Mosaic law—NOT BEING WITHOUT GOD’S LAW BUT BEING IN CHRIST’S LAW….

Galatians 6: 2 Carry one another’s burdens. In this way you will fulfill THE LAW OF CHRIST…each person should examine their OWN WORK, and then they will have a reason for boasting in themselves alone, and not in respect to someone else

Romans 6: 18 Having been justified from sin, you became ENSLAVED TO righteousness… just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity… now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification….22 since you have been liberated from sin and have BECOME ENSLAVED TO God, you have YOUR fruit, which results in sanctification[—and the end is the life of the age to come

Romans 7: 4 You were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah, in order to BELONG TO ANOTHER—to Him who was raised from the dead—in order to BEAR FRUIT FOR God… 6 we have died to what held us, in order to SERVE….

Romans 8: 9 if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not BELONG TO CHRIST…

8:15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, and by the Spirit we cry out, “Abba, Father!”

8:21 the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children

Galatians 6: 13 You were called to be free… don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but SERVE one another through love.

David Bishop—“If grace makes me angry, if the law of Christ makes me angry, then I have not been converted. I don’t get upset at Christ’s commandments. I get upset with the sinner-exalting attempt to use Christ’s commands as a means to establish self righteousness. I get upset at the lie that people who attempt such wickedness are Christians. I don’t get angry at our Creator and Redeemer’s law. I delight in Christ’s word revealed, I see Christ’s holiness in His commands, and my sins against Christ’s law drive me again and again to Christ to thank Him for grace and to confess His glory in my salvation.”

http://media.sermonaudio.com/articles/da-9201593255-1.PDF

David Bishop—-“Another form of Antinomianism is found in the teaching of those who say we are justified by the absence of any law altogether. They tell us that because there is no more law to condemn us, therefore we are righteous. Notice, it’s not that because Christ died for us as the reason why we are righteous. These antinomians say it’s because there is no more law to condemn us which is why we are righteous. They tell us it is impossible for Christians to sin; because, after all, there is no more law to sin against. Some of them even interpret the words “not under law but under grace” to mean that no law was ever satisfied by Christ’s death

David Bishop–Antinomianism undermines the true grace of God by eliminating justice from the gospel. It does this is by placing the blame with God’s law rather than with the sinner. It is true, as revealed to us in Romans 5, we would have not known what coveting was had the law not said do not covet. But this does not mean the law was wrong to say do not covet. No, the law was good and holy and just to say this. The problem was not with the law. Rather, the problem was and always is with us. We are sinners. Not only do we attempt to say—I have done enough of the law to make the difference. But we also on top of that sin against the law—we do what the law says not to.do. We don’t do what the law says to do.

https://cornbreadandbourbon.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/studies-in-hebrews-part-19the-lords-discipline/

Haldane on Putting to Death the Deeds of the Body

June 3, 2016

Romans 8: 12, 13 — Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13.For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Robert Haldane—This is a consequence drawn from what the Apostle had said with reference to the state of enmity against God, and of the death of those who are in the flesh; and likewise from what He had been showing to be the great privilege of believers, as being not in the flesh but in the Spirit; as having the Spirit of God dwelling in them; and securing the future quickening and raising of their bodies. From all this he infers their obligation to live a holy life, in walking according to the Spirit in the character which he had shown belonged to them. They were not then debtors to the flesh — the state in which they had been by nature, which is a state of corruption, guilt, and weakness — to live after the flesh, either to expect life from its best efforts, or to obey it in its lusts. The ways of the flesh promise happiness, but misery is their reward. On the contrary, it is implied that they were debtors to God, to whom they were under so great obligations as being redeemed from the law of sin and death, to serve and obey Him, in walking according to the Spirit

Galatians 5: 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus HAVE CRUCIFIED the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.

Take the deeds of the body out of the equation, that’s living the gospel, that’s walking after the Spirit

This is not to deny that we are to obedient to the law of Christ, that we are to be moral

But our obedience is not acceptable to God unless and until we take our obedience out of the equation to get assurance or blessing

Our morality is not acceptable to God until and unless we take our morality out of the mix by which we have assurance that we are walking in the Spirit

Romans 8:4 Walking in the Spirit is believing the gospel, and our believing the gospel is not what fulfills the requirement of the law.
We are believing that Christ has fulfilled the requirement of the law

Anybody who thinks walking after the Spirit in part satisfies God’s law is in fact walking after the flesh, “has confidence in the flesh”

The apostle Paul warned the Galatians that more is less, more is NOTHING . If you add more —– ,“Christ will be of NO profit to you.”

Galatians 2:21—if any part of our salvation is by our works, then Christ died to NO purpose.

So you are not obligation to live according to guilt

If you know that you have been imputed with Christ’s righteousness, then you will be living a life of putting to death legal fear. No, we have not “stopped trying” (as the Keswick antinomian soundbite puts it). We are still trying to please God, but only as those who have already pleased God in Christ’s death.

Weak in Christ

December 2, 2015

Thanks to my son Kevin for causing me to think about this needed topic! http://www.dkers.net/k-anything/boast-in-weakness

http://www.dkers.net/videos.html

One evidence that we do not have “freewill” is that our deaths are not “voluntary” but forced up on us from the outside. We are more like spectators than participants in our own dying. Judged before we were born, our only hope is the power of God to give us life.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

1 Corinthians 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling

2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

2 Corinthians 13:4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are WEAK IN HIM, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

Marva Dawn first sets out the standard translation. “My grace is
sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (37). A summary of her argument against this translation consists of the fact there is no possessive pronoun to make “strength” God’s strength and that the verb televw does not mean perfect, but ‘bring to an end’, which is in agreement with its use throughout the rest of the New Testament. Therefore she thinks that 2 Cor 12.9 should be translated “My grace is sufficient for you, for [your] power is brought to its end in weakness.” (41). This allows Dawn to make two fundamental claims about weakness and God’s tabernacling. First “…Paul’s power is brought to its end in his weakness; consequently, Paul glories in his weakness because through its very existence Christ is able to reveal his presence in him” (45), and second, “Even as Christ accomplished atonement for us by suffering and death, so the Lord accomplishes witness to the world through our weakness. Thus God has more need of our weakness than of our strength.” (47).

Sounds good, but no— If there is no possessive pronoun why does she say Paul is implied when it could be God?Notice the parallelism in the couplet, grace=power, sufficient =perfect. My grace =my power. Her making perfect, ‘come to an end’ also takes away the parallelism. Otherwise it would be that Paul’s strength was taken away and replaced by his weakness.

Philippians 4: 11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content

My reading of Philippians 4 makes it sound like Paul is being hostile
thanks for what you sent, but I didn’t need it
but i guess you need a thank you, and you will also receive reward from God for sending it to me (though you don’t need that it either) Philippians 4:10-20

Pity would be no more,
If we did not make somebody Poor:
And Mercy no more could be,
If all were as happy as we;

And mutual fear brings peace;
Till the selfish loves increase.
Then Cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care. William Blake

how can you solve a problem like maria (Sound of Music, sung by mother superior)

how can you give a gift to somebody who does not need anything?
create a need? first steal their stuff? Job was sitting pretty, and then there was this methodism, first take his family away, from problem to solution

now that you have kidney failure….

law before gospel, create a problem and then solve it, here’s the answer

hostile–i do not need anything

hostile back–you do need something
first 90 percent of a Billy Graham sermon

Bonhoeffer was critical of what he called ‘methodism.’ Many think that to win someone for the Christian faith one must speak to him [or her] at the point of his [or her] weakness. One who makes this assumption is then predisposed to attend to the shadow side of human existence, since it is that which proves that ‘something more is needed.’ Such ‘methodism jumps on a man when he is down’: it proves the need of God by proving we are no good without God. This is for Bonhoeffer the opposite of the gospel itself, which should be telling people, especially outsiders, about the love and goodness of God for is own sake, not trying to convince people of their misery or their guiltiness. Only if it is not seen as a response to weakness, only if its credibility does not depend on proving human weakness, is the gospel really the good news of the love of God as Creator, sustainer, Savior. Apologetic approaches that try first to make the point of human weakness and ignorance and lostness are hopeless, not because they do not say something true, but because what they are interested in proving is not the good news.” John Howard Yoder in The Priestly Kingdom: Social Ethics as Gospel, pg. 185

All Christians are Saints, but Roman Catholics are Not Christians

September 24, 2015

Seeking sainthood in the Catholic Church? If you’re from outside Western Europe, things are looking up. A Harvard University study suggests both an uptick in saint-making and a larger portion of new saints coming from outside Western Europe, thanks to increasing competition for worshipers around the world from Protestant religions. Sainthood is quite an exclusive club for American Catholics. Pope Francis’s plans to canonize a Spanish missionary next week will be only the 11th canonization of anyone with close ties to America. During his trip to the United States later this month, the pope will canonize Junipero Serra, who spread Catholicism in modern-day California. Declaring Serra a saint — meaning the Catholic Church recognizes that a person has made it to heaven and can intercede for those on earth. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/09/14/so-you-want-to-be-declared-a-saint-by-pope-francis-see-your-odds-here/

Proverbs 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD”

Romans 6:20 ”For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those thing is death”

Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we now bear FRUIT FOR GOD. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear FRUIT FOR DEATH.”

Luke 16:15 That which is highly esteemed among humans is abomination in the sight of God.

Being set apart by God for God is not the same thing as being “moral”. Morality is not “sanctification” because those who are not yet justified before God by Christ’s death are not yet sanctified, not by the blood and not by the Holy Spirit.

The Bible teaches a distinction between “dead works” (works done with unacceptable motives, like gaining assurance) and “fruit unto God” (works that are pleasing to God without being “necessary”)

Our justification is not by our works, not even by our works after faith and justification. If we are already justified, then it’s too late for us to be justified by works. If we think we will lose our justification if we don’t work, then we do not yet understand what God’s justification is.

When Roman Catholics (and most Protestants) do not yet understand what God’s justification is, that is the result of God not having yet justified most professing Christians. According to John 10, the sheep know the Shepherd’s voice and do not follow strangers, and this includes legalist and Arminian Protestants as well the pope who claims to be “the vicar of Christ”. If we think that our works will give us the evidence that we are saints, then we have not yet believed the gospel, which is the good news about being joined to Christ’s death and NOT ABOUT OUR WORKS.

Romans 3: 27 “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a law of faith. 28 For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”

Even after we are justified saints, we are not yet glorified, not yet raised from the first death and given immortality. But neither is the rest of salvation conditioned on our morality and works. Our future resurrection from death is not about God enabling us to do what is required, but about God doing for us what we cannot and never will do.

Most professing Christians condition salvation on what God does in the sinner. Even many Augustinians define grace as God doing in us what God requires in us, instead of defining the gospel by Christ’s death as satisfaction of God’s law.

Is Assurance Necessary for Us to Be Moral, or is morality necessary for Us to have Assurance, or do we have a Situationist Gospel in which the Answer Depends on Who’s Listening?

With its emphasis on “knowledge” and “calling”, II Peter One reverses legalism by commanding us to examine our works by making our calling and election sure. Those who know Christ are commanded to become become fruitful, but not in order to find out if they know Christ (or are known by Christ.

But many assume an assurance of calling based on our morality. To do that, they attempt to isolate one verse and ignore the context of II Peter 1, which begins in the very first verse with the idea that faith is given because of Christ’s righteousness. They makes their “works of faith” the assurance.

Their assurance of Christ’s atonement is only as good as their confidence in their own works. Their “faith” turns out to be assurance in God causing them to be moral, not assurance in Christ’s death because of the sins of the elect imputed.

By what gospel were we called? Was it the gospel of “characteristic obedience” or was it the gospel of “Christ paid it all for the elect”?

Legalists warn against thinking you are justified if you are not “sanctified” (following moral rules) . But they are trying to be saints without first being justified by Christ’s death alone. They have not yet submitted to the gospel which teaches a righteousness not our own, a righteousness found in Christ’s death. Instead the legalists give their idol god the glory for creating in them a righteousness of their own.

We do not work to get assurance. We must have assurance before our works are acceptable to God. But even many professing “Reformed” folks think of faith as the “condition” that saves them. Yes, they disagree (somewhat) about the source of faith, but they both are way more concerned about the condition faith leaves you in than they are in the object of faith.

We get “results”, they boast. We are seriously and sincerely moral. This false gospel makes everything conditional, not on Christ’s death, but on us—-if the Holy Spirit enables you do enough things right, then God promises not to break you off.

The true gospel explains that the justification of the ungodly does not happen apart from the imputation of Christ’s death and that faith is created by hearing the gospel. The true gospel tells us that it is the righteousness ALONE (Christ’s death bearing sins, apart from any works of faith created in us ) which satisfies the requirement of God’s law. (Romans 8:4)

The moralist does not test her works by the gospel doctrine of righteousness. Hebrews 9:14 and Romans 7:4-6 teach us, that a person not yet submitted to the righteousness revealed in the gospel is still an evil worker, bringing forth fruit unto death.

Hebrews 6:1– “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God”

Hebrews 9:14–”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

The problem with using works “done after you are in the family” to get assurance that you are a saint is that works done without assurance are not pleasing to God. The light of the true gospel of free grace exposes our “good works” as “dead works”. And “dead works” are sins.

John 3:19– “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Certainly God commands us all to be moral. But morality can be done in the flesh, by people who are not yet justified. To doubt that you are justified or will be justified because of morality or immortality is to take the focus away from Christ’s one-time-done death for elect sinners.

If You are Not Yet Justified, then You are Not Yet Sanctified

September 8, 2015

Proverbs 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD”

Romans 6:20 ”For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those thing is death”

Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we now bear FRUIT FOR GOD. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear FRUIT FOR DEATH.”

Luke 16:15 That which is highly esteemed among humans is abomination in the sight of God.

Being set apart by God for God is not the same thing as being “moral”. Morality is not “sanctification” because those who are not yet justified before God by Christ’s death are not yet sanctified, not by the blood and not by the Holy Spirit.

The Bible teaches a distinction between “dead works” (works done with unacceptable motives, like gaining assurance) and “fruit unto God” (works that are pleasing to God without being “necessary”)

Our justification is not by our works, not even by our works after faith and justification. If we are already justified, then it’s too late for us to be justified by works. If we think we will lose our justification if we don’t work, then we do not yet understand what God’s justification is.

If we do not yet understand what God’s justification is, then that is the result of God not having justified us yet. According to John 10, the sheep know the Shepherd’s voice and do not follow strangers. If we think that our works will give us the evidence that we are still justified, then we have not yet believed the gospel, which is the good news about being joined to Christ’s death and not about our morality and our works.

Even after we are justified saints, we are not yet glorified, not yet raised from the first death and given immortality. But neither is the rest of salvation conditioned on our morality and works. Our future resurrection from death is not about God enabling us to do what is required, but about God doing for us what we cannot and never will do.

Most professing Christians are legalists who condition salvation on what God does in the sinner. Even many Augustinians define grace as God doing in us what God requires in us, instead of defining the gospel by Christ’s death as satisfaction of God’s law.

Is Assurance Necessary for Us to Be Moral, or is morality necessary for Us to have Assurance, or do we have a Situationist Gospel in which the Answer Depends on Who’s Listening?

With its emphasis on “knowledge” and “calling”, II Peter One reverses legalism by commanding us to examine our works by making our calling and election sure. Those who know Christ are commanded to become become fruitful, but not in order to find out if they know Christ (or are known by Christ.

But many assume an assurance of calling based on our morality. To do that, they attempt to isolate one verse and ignore the context of II Peter 1, which begins in the very first verse with the idea that faith is given because of Christ’s righteousness. They makes their “works of faith” the assurance.

Their assurance of Christ’s atonement is only as good as their confidence in their own works. Their “faith” turns out to be assurance in God causing them to be moral, not assurance in Christ’s death because of the sins of the elect imputed.

By what gospel were we called? Was it the gospel of “characteristic obedience” or was it the gospel of “Christ paid it all for the elect”?

Legalists warn against thinking you are justified if you are not “sanctified” (following moral rules) . But they are trying to follow Christ as Lord without first being justified by Christ’s death alone. They have not yet submitted to the gospel which teaches a righteousness not our own, a righteousness found in Christ’s death. Instead the legalists boast in giving God the glory for creating in them a righteousness of their own.

We do not work to get assurance. We must have assurance before our works are acceptable to God. But many “Calvinists”, along with the Arminians, think of faith as the “condition” that saves them. Yes, they disagree (somewhat) about the source of faith, but they both are way more concerned about the condition faith leaves you in than they are in the object of faith.

We get “results”, they boast. We are seriously and sincerely moral. This false gospel makes everything conditional, not on Christ, but on us—-if the Holy Spirit enables you do enough things right, then God promises not to break you off.

The true gospel explains that the justification of the ungodly does not happen apart from the imputation of Christ’s death and that faith is created by hearing the gospel. The true gospel tells us that it is the righteousness ALONE (Christ’s death bearing sins, apart from any works of faith created in us ) which satisfies the requirement of God’s law. (Romans 8:4)

The moralist does not test her works by the gospel doctrine of righteousness. Hebrews 9:14 and Romans 7:4-6 teach us, that a person not yet submitted to the righteousness revealed in the gospel is still an evil worker, bringing forth fruit unto death.

Hebrews 6:1– “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God”

Hebrews 9:14–”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

The problem with using works “done after you are in the family” to get assurance is that works done without assurance are not pleasing to God. But the light of the gospel exposes our “good works” as “dead works”. And “dead works” are sins.

John 3:19– “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Certainly God commands us all to be moral. But morality can be done in the flesh, by people who are not yet justified. To doubt that you are justified or will be justified because of morality or immortality is to take the focus away from Christ’s one-time-done death for elect sinners.

If I am a little more sanctified than you, then I am a little more sure that I believe ???

July 2, 2015

when I am obeying him (however imperfectly) more than you are, my progress in sanctification is the fruit of free justification and my progress in sanctification does contribute to my assurance, but if your lack of progress in sanctification contributes to your lack of assurance, remember not to make your progress the first thing but only something second or third in your assurance, because even if you have a little less dirt (and more gas) in your tank than I do, you do have some dirt, and none of us have all gas (some dirt is mixed into all our progress) , and assurance is not all or nothing, which is why my progress in sanctification is not the first main thing but only one of the reasons that gives me assurance