The narrow and unculturally correct road to a very broad salvation
For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
How do we receive eternal salvation and forgiveness of our sins after this body wears out or dies, and we step into eternity? I realize that for many this is just foolishness and something that no sophisticated, broadminded, progressive should concern themselves with. However there is nothing new or progressive about laughing off judgment and eternal separation from God in Hell, it’s been around since before the Greeks.
And besides many of us would never be considered sophisticated or hip, even if we tried. For those of us who have theistic tendencies, who still find it impossible to shrug off the ancient words and warnings of Scripture, how do we get into Gods good graces? Is it by works? Keeping the Sabbath or getting circumcised? These were huge commandments in the Jewish covenants of Abraham and Moses. So is it by keeping the right day of the week, or maybe by joining the right organization? But what about obeying all the moral laws? Surely we must keep these as well, or keeping certain days or customs and other ceremonial laws would appear quite empty. Or maybe if we do all that and place our faith in Christ, then we will be truly righteous enough to enter heaven.
If you could do all that, you could claim that you had your “own righteousness”, and you could march up to God and tell him how zealous you were for His Law, and tell him of all your selfless acts of love towards the Saints and the poor.
However, that is not the kind of salvation that Paul the Apostle is talking about in Scripture. And since Paul tells us in the book of Galatians (Gal. 1:8,9) that any one who preaches a different Gospel than what he preached is under a curse, I’m not sure it would be wise to preach that kind of salvation. The funny thing is, according to Scripture, the righteousness that saves us, isn’t our own righteousness at all. It doesn’t come from us and it only becomes ours by faith. It is His righteousness, the righteousness of God, in and from Jesus Christ. Paul put it this way, “That I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is found through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” (Philippians 3:8, 9)
He says the same thing in the book of Romans,” But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets (the Old Testament) even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ…”(Rom.3:21,22) Again in vs.26 and 27, same chapter, “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 the boasting then? By what law? Of Works?” No. To put it in the vernacular, by no kind of law. It can’t be by our own works, because it’s not “our” righteousness. It doesn’t originate with us, but Him; we inherit it from Him by faith.
Where do the good works come in then? They follow salvation; they are done as a result of salvation, not a cause. “For by grace you are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any should boast…For we are created in Christ Jesus for good works…that we should walk in.”(Eph.2:8, 9) We are not saved either by the law or to keep the law, but rather to walk in the Spirit. As Paul said in Gal.5:18,”But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” And, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, against which there is no law”(Gal 5:22,23) The law does not walk hand in hand with faith as a fellow heir, and Paul warns us clearly to “cast out the bondswoman and her son (representing the mosaic covenant from Sinai) for the son of the bondswoman will not be heir with the son of the freewoman”(the new covenant) and, “Having begun in the Spirit are you being made perfect by the flesh? (Gal.3:3)
No mix and match here. I’m sorry to lay that on all you people who feel you are being saved by your own righteousness. You can argue among yourselves until you’re blue in the face over which works of the law are the most important or necessary. Just remember, if you are saved, doing or failing to do those works will never be the cause or justification of your salvation, or lack thereof.
I know that can be tough on your pride. You can never feel you are better than the other person because you go to the only right organization, are more zealous for the law and good works or whatever. Sorry, Charlie. If you get into heaven you’ll have to get in the same way the rest of us sorry people do, by placing your faith in the physical death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and confessing Him as Lord (God). As Paul tells us in Romans 10:8, 9, “the word of faith which we preach; that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” By all means, bring forth fruits of repentance and faith in Christ, just remember, they are the fruits, not the causes of your salvation. If you serve Christ, serve Him because you love Him, not in order to save yourself. When it comes to salvation, we rest in Christ and in His work alone. We serve from love, not gain.
Soli Dei Gloria