I love to share my faith with non-believers and seekers alike, who have questions about the Christian faith, what we believe and why we believe it. In light of the postmodern perspective that many people adhere to these day, I would like to give a biblical perspective as a contrast to those who say that there is no absolute truth. I believe that the truth can be found in God's word the Bible. http://media4lifeministries.com
Friday, July 20, 2012
Fig Leaf Religion
Once again I had someone argue with me
on my Facebook page about salvation after reading my blog “Faith or
Works?” This person believes as does his church that works are required
in order to be saved. He cited of course the passage in James chapter
2, which some believe contradicts Paul’s writing in Ephesians chapter 2.
Paul and James do not contradict one
another. Paul writes about salvation from God’s perspective and James
from a human perspective.
Saving faith in a person should be
evident in their lives by the fruit they bear. As Jesus said, by their
fruit shall you know them. A genuine believer that is saved by faith
should bear good fruit for the kingdom.
It amazes me that there are so many
people that cannot and will not receive the free gift of salvation
through faith in Jesus Christ. They think that there must be something
that they have to do to be saved. I guess some of of it is our human
nature, but I have witnessed and seen numerous people spending years to
argue that works need to be included. They argue that faith in God alone
is not enough and that we have to do something more than just believe.
I don’t see how anyone can come up with a
works based salvation message. I cannot find that anywhere in the pages
of scripture. It is all God’s work and nothing that we have done. God
did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He send His only begotten
Son. (John 3:16)
We are all declared sinners before God, not one is righteous on their own. “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.” Rom 3:10, 11.
God has declared that ALL of mankind has fallen short of His perfect Holiness. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23.
It started in garden of Eden when Adam
and Eve disobeyed God and they ate from the forbidden tree. That one act
of disobedience caused sin to enter the world and the result was a
spiritual separation from God. Adam and Eve who once were in perfect
harmony with God found themselves separated and soon after witnessed
what their disobedience had brought forth, the first recorded murder
when Cain slew Abel.
I can only imagine what Adam and Eve
must have felt on that day when they saw the outcome of their sin. The
result of sin is death. They did not die physically, but they died
spiritually. There was nothing that Adam and Eve could do to atone for
their sin. They tried to cover up their disobedience with fig leafs,
thinking that God would be ok with that. But it was not ok, God clothed
them in animal skins, signifying that blood was required to atone for
their sins. The blood of an innocent animal could only cover their sins
but not take them away. Later when we come to the time of Moses, God
instituted blood sacrifices as part of the law.
Just as Adam and Eve covered themselves
in fig leafs, so are many people today have a fig leaf religion. They
think that they can appease God on their own merit. They think that by
their “good works” God will look at them as righteous before Him. That
is a false hope, there is absolutely nothing that any of us can do to
please God with our works. God provided one way and one way alone and we
must receive that way.
The only way provided is through the
precious blood of Christ. The shed blood of Christ on the cross was
sufficient and acceptable for the Father. Jesus is our propitiation, the
passover lamb. He that knew no sin became sin for us and died for us,
so that we may live eternally with Him.
To all those who think and teach that
faith in Jesus alone is not enough and that certain works are required
to earn salvation are gravely mistaken. The law could not justify anyone
and no one was or is able to keep the law perfectly. If any of us were
able to keep the law, than Christ died in vain. People that want to live
a life of bondage to the law are destined to fail. The law is perfect
and breaking one of them means breaking all of God’s law.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Rom 3:20.
Paul wrote to the Galatians: “But
the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in
Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But the Scripture has
confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might
be given to those who believe. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring
us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has
come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God
through faith in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:22-26.
Yet there are those who insist that
works are required, the write books about it, they preach from the
pulpit and keep their congregation under legalism and bondage. Christ
came to set us free from all of that. We are no longer under the law but
under grace. The gospel i.e. the good news is so simple, but people
have to make it complicated and the put heavy burden on others. This is
not what Christ came for and it is not what God wants.
Jesus came to die on the cross for us.
He left His place in Heaven to become one of us and to take our sins
upon Him. He didn’t have to do that, but God so loves us that He send
His Son Who willingly gave His life. That is something to rejoice in and
to be thankful for. But what do so many denominations and churches do?
They overlook or don’t understand the true meaning of God’s grace and
teach others that the have to live by certain rules and regulation in
order to be saved.
They have teachings that are not
biblical and not be backed up by the scriptures. They twist and turn
verses or built their whole theology around a couple of verses, failing
to compare scriptures with scriptures. It is no wonder that
non-believers sometimes mock Christianity. There are so many
denominations and branches of churches out there, teaching different
viewpoints and are convinced that the are the only “true church.” There
is a lot of confusion out there among the various denominations.
No wonder that Christians look divided,
rather than being of one mind. They follow the teachings of men rather
than what the word of God teaches.
The only way someone can be saved in by
believing in Jesus by faith. It is not Jesus plus, it is Him alone and
only through Him and Hid finished work can we be justified before God.
It is not our righteousness that God looks at but His righteousness that
was imputed onto every true believer. Thank you God for Your mercy and
for Your grace. Thank you Father for giving Your only begotten Son.
Thank you Jesus for setting us free from
the bondage of law and that you have broken the wall of separation so
that we may come boldly before the throne of God.Thank you for giving us
Your perfect peace.
“Therefore, having been justified by
faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,through
whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and
rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Rom 5:1, 2.
“But now the righteousness of God
apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the
Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ,
to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have
sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His
grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set
forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His
righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins
that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His
righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who
has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law?
Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man
is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Rom 3:21-28.