Sunday, October 21, 2007
Why is justification by faith alone, by believing in Christ alone such a hard concept to grasp? The fundamental problem of it is this:
Everyone who is reading this post has done something with the law to bring the wrath of God upon themselves. In this case, everyone has transgressed the law. (1John 3:4) In our fallen states, we think that the God's approved way to fix our transgression is to go back to where it got broken and do the reverse of what we did to break the law to make it look like it never got broken in the first place; in other words, "put the law back together that we broke". In all, it's entirely something that we do. The Gospel isn't that. The Gospel is that God sent his only begotten Son that everyone who believes on him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) This is an objective truth. It is not left to our subjective opinions as to what the Gospel is. Two thousand and seven years ago, Jesus Christ came in the flesh, lived a perfect, non-law-transgressing life, and went to a tree to be hung to become a curse for the elect (those that believe on him). (Gal 3:13) The Gospel is not, "Well, I believe..." or "I think..." The Gospel is "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh." (1John 4:1-3) That is why justification by faith alone is so hard to grasp. Our sinful nature wants it to be "All about me! Look, what I've done! Look, what I do! Let's get away from this whole 'heady/arrogant' use of facts which is only used by 'people in ivory towers; not the 'true' peeps on the streets' and talk about me... oh yeah, and us, what we do!" That's also why the seeker-sensitive movement makes me sick. It's because the message of the seeker-sensitive movement is "How does this make you feel?" or "You're special in whatever you do, just try and do better... that's all." That's not the Gospel. That's "Go back to the beginning. I know you've done wrong, but go back and build up what you once destroyed." That doesn't make someone righteous before God, that makes them a transgressor. (Gal 2:18) Self-righteousness will never make up for the righteousness of God, the righteousness that comes by faith in Christ (Php 3:9) , and it is utter blasphemy to say that it does and is the spreading of heresy to lead others to believe that as well.
So in conclusion, we have broken the law. It is a work that we've done. As fallen human beings who can not possibly conceive of something outside of ourselves apart from the grace of God in allowing us to know that He sent his only Son to justify those that believe on Him not because of our works but because of His grace that His purpose of election might stand (Rom. 9:11), we try to make the Gospel into another work that we've done to justify ourselves. That is not grace because if grace is by works then it is no longer grace. (Rom. 11:6) For those of you who like outlines:
1) We transgressed the law. [Work]
2) We realize we transgressed the law by the law (Rom. 3:20) and seek to justify ourselves by "not breaking the law quite as much anymore." or "Just being 'good' people now." [Work]
3) The Gospel declares: "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh 2007 years ago. It's an objective historical fact. He was raised from the dead. Another historical objective fact. Believe on Him. You didn't send Him. You didn't die on a tree. You didn't even make it possible for you to hear about what He did." Well, if that's true... who can boast themselves? (Eph. 2:8-9) [Grace]
Salvation doesn't come by 1) and 2), it comes by 3). Cast out the bondwoman and her child because the child of the bond shall not share the inheritance of the child of the free. (Gen. 21:10, Gal 4:30)