Sunday, July 26, 2009
Grim Fairy Tales 6.
Many Christians are under the misconception that one is under some obligation when one is a believer in Jesus. This is a Grim Fairy Tale for it is another way that the believer’s eyes are taken off Jesus and placed on his or herself. This is totally unnecessary for the scriptures are quite specific as to the contents of the Law and contents of the Gospel .
Leviticus 18:1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord. ESV
So there you have it. If one was able to fulfill the law and all its requirements he or she would be saved. God nowhere in there says make a good go of it. Neither does he give any outs in it or a mulligan where we start a do over for better luck next time. Yes the promise is that ‘if a person does them he shall live by them’. Wow it would be grim outlook for one will never know if he or she did enough. Plainly speaking of course enough is never done.
Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ESV
The above section contains the promises of the Gospel in stark contrast with the law. In the Gospel Jesus did all the doing and thereby has made us alive, raised us up, and mysteries of all mysteries has seated us with him in heavenly places. None of this is done by the sinner. The done didness of the Gospel is so sweet to the sinner who is deeply troubled by his or her sin.
Good works do play a part in salvation but only in response to being a child of God. Jesus’ good deeds were prepared before hand to do for us in his active obedience. We receive that holiness as a gift and when doing our daily work which God has given us it is indeed holy in his sight. Some object to all this good news which is why the Grim Fairy Tale of mixing the two.
The concern is that some, after hearing this good news, may get the idea they can live anyway they feel like with no regard for Christ. I personally have never met and doubt the existence of a true believer in Jesus who has that opinion. No one who loves Jesus and believes in what he suffered on his or her behalf will want to live in sin. By the mere fact of having this faith good works will follow. Our Comforter is quite capable to ensure that we do these things. He is God after all isn’t he?
In the name of Jesus. Amen. †