Posted tagged ‘good works’

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/

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Salvation is Necessary for Good Works

March 18, 2014

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.

I am not that impressed by a distinction between good works being necessary for salvation and good works being the necessary evidence of salvation. It does not at the end of the day seem all that practical to me. I think we would do better to focus on 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 think that our works will give us the evidence that we are still justified, then we have not yet understood and believed the gospel, which is the good news of Christ’s work and not about 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 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 do and never will do.

I do agree that we live in a day of “hyper-grace” in which clergy tell folks that God accepts them just as they are, even if they do not know and believe the gospel. I agree that Christianity is not a theory which we believe but do nothing about. But that being said, in reacting to antinomianism, we need to remember that most professing Christians are legalists who condition salvation on what God does in the sinner. Even the 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 have Good works, or are Good works necessary for Us to have Assurance, or do we have a Situationist Gospel in which the Answer Depends on What’s Good for the Listener?

With its emphasis on “knowledge” and “calling”, 2 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 effective. They are not commanded to become fruitful in order to find out if they know Christ (or are known by Christ).

But many assume an assurance of calling based on our works. 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. In effect, 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 works, not assurance in Christ’s atonement.

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 are trying to follow Christ as Lord without first submitting to salvation only by Christ’s death alone.

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(the results in your life) than they are in the object of faith.

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. As 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.

Scot Hafemann: “ Sandwiched between what God has done for us and what God promises to do for us in the future, we find the commands of God for the present as the necessary link between the two.” 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.

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. To doubt that you are justified or will be justified because of what you have done or not done is to take the focus away from Christ’s one-time-done death for elect sinners.

p 277, Bavinck, A Reasonable Faith–”The gospel, which really makes no demands and lays down no conditions, nevertheless comes to us in the form of a commandment, admonishing us to faith and repentance… The Gospel is sheer good tidings, not demand but promise, not duty but gift As the internal call directly and immediately, without a time lapse, results in “habitual faith,” so also does this faith include from the very beginning of its existence the assurance that not only to others but to me also forgiveness of sins has been granted….When the Scriptures say of this justification that it takes place by and through faith, it does not intend to say that it is produced and wrought through that faith, since Jesus Christ is all our righteousness and all benefits of grace are the fruits of Christ’s labor alone. Saving faith directs our heart from the very beginning away from ourselves and unto God’s mercy in Christ.”

Dan Fuller Teaches that Faith Is Works, And Thus Never Alone

August 25, 2011

I quote from Dan Fuller’s Unity of the Bibe (p181):

“In commenting on Genesis 2:17 -do not eat from that tree–Calvin said, `These words are so far from establishing faith that they do nothing but shake it.’ I argue, however, that there is much reason for regarding these words as well suited to strengthen Adam and Eve’s faith

Fuller: “In Calvin’s thinking, the promise made in Genesis 2:17 could never encourage faith, for its conditionality could encourage only meritorious works. `Faith seeks life that is not found in commandments.’ Consequently, the gospel by which we are saved is an unconditional covenant of grace, made such by Christ having merited it for us by his perfect fulfillment of the covenant of works.

Dan Fuller comments: “I have yet to find anywhere in Scripture a gospel promise that is unconditional.”

More from Unity (p310): “If Abraham was not declared forgiven until ten years later, was he still a guilty sinner when he responded positively to God’s promises in Genesis 12:2-3 and also during the following years up until 15:6?”

Fuller (p313): “Paul would have agreed with James that Abraham’s work of preparing to sacrifice Isaac was an obedience of faith. He would have disagreed strongly with Calvin, who saw obedience and works as only accompanying genuine faith…James’ s concern in 2:14-26 was to urge a faith that saves a person, not simply to tell a person how they could demonstrate their saving faith…Calvin should have taught that justification depends on a persevering faith, since he regarded Abraham as already justified before Genesis 15:6.”

Should Our Obedience be Put into the Assurance Equation?

December 8, 2010

As long as you credit God as the power for your works, most Calvinists have no problem putting your obedience into the equation. Read carefully what Hafemann writes about the “obedience of faith” (p188): “Still others consider obedience to God’s law to be the necessary evidence of faith. For them, if one believes, then obedience becomes the mandatory sign of something else, namely faith, which is the human response to God’s grace that actually saves us. Faith must lead to obedience as a sign that it is real.”

While that it is an accurate description of most Calvinists’ theory about assurance, it is not biblical assurance. We do not work to get assurance. We must have assurance before our works are acceptable to God.

But most Calvinists, along with the Arminians, think that faith is the response that saves us. Yes, they disagree about the cause and source of faith, but they both leave election out of their “atonement” and out of their “gospel”.

It does not matter that some Arminians say that there was “substitutionary satisfaction” for every sinner, since they think faith is what actually saves. It does not matter that some Calvinists say that there were “multiple-purposes” for the atonement, so that the propitiation was only for the elect, since they preach that it’s God gift of faith which actually saves.

Though the true gospel knows that the justification of the ungodly does not happen until righteousness is imputed and faith is created by hearing the gospel, the true gospel knows that it is the righteousness alone (and not the faith created) which satisfies God’s law.

The legalist Calvinists of course are careful to say that works are the evidence of Christ’s work in them. Nevertheless, these legalists do not test their works by their doctrine of righteousness. These legalists think you can be wrong about the doctrine of righteousness, and still give evidence by works of one’s salvation. They raise doubts about those who oppose “Lordship salvation”, but not about sincere hard-working Arminians.

Walter Marshal (The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification) teaches us, as 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.

Since both the Arminian and the legalist Calvinist agree that not everybody will be saved but not about how many sinners Christ died for, they both get assurance from the “tenor of life” of the professing believer.

Indeed, unless we are universalists or fatalists (some Primitive Baptists are both), we cannot avoid the search for evidence. But we need to see that the evidence is submission to the gospel, which involves knowledge about election, imputation and satisfaction. It is a waste of time to talk about other “evidence” unless a person knows what the gospel is. Only after a person knows what the gospel is, can we then ask if that person judges by that gospel.

We first test ourselves to see if we have excluded works as being any part of our righteousness before God. To include the works (done it is said by the Spirit) in the righteousness is evidence all by itself that a person still believes a false gospel. Along with legalism comes indifference about the question of election and about the truth that Christ did not die for the non-elect. Such things don’t matter to the legalist, since what got done on the cross is not enough anyway for the legalist.

There are many false gospels and only one true gospel. There are many different ways to be “legalist”. The only way not to be legalist is to know that the law demands perfect righteousness and that the gospel joyfully explains how Christ satisfied that demand for the elect. One certain result of the righteousness earned by Christ is that the elect will believe this gospel and not any false gospel.

The workers who came before the the judgment in Matthew 7 were sure that their works were characteristic enough. They were not antinomians and they were not insincere. They probably believed in election also (or at least the unconditional right of Israel to the land!). But instead of pleading a Christ who got done a perfect righteousness, they pleaded their characteristic deeds.

They didn‘t say they had “faith alone”. They were not into “easy believism”. They didn’t say that their obedience was a “second step” added to their faith. They avoided the law/gospel antithesis that Hafemann wants us to avoid. They thought they were safe.

Yet despite their false assurance, they were lost. Why? Was it because they lacked enough “characteristic obedience” or was it because they trusted in the false gospel? That’s a trick question: they were lost because they were born lost, and they never were rescued and we know that because they never believed the revealed gospel.

Now the Law Came In to Increase Sin

November 8, 2010

Romans 5:19-20–“For as by one man’s disobedience the elect were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the elect will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the sin, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…”

When we see a “don’t touch the paint” sign, then it occurs to us for the first time that maybe we will touch the paint. But I don’t think this explains the increase of sin.

The greater sin is legalism, the sin of thinking we got God obligated to do something for us because we DID refrain from touching the paint.
In other words, before conversion, we have built-in a motive that says we do stuff to get stuff from God (ie, if that’s not a reason, why bother?).

What good we think we do is not good to God but an abomination to God, because of the motive which would leave Christ out of the picture (at least at this point) in order to get something from God by our “good” works.

Luke 16: 15, 16 : “And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”