Sunday, August 22, 2010
In Defense of My Thought Process (Part II)
Principles, Ponderings, and Propositions
I think what got me going was when one comment stated that Anne Rice was right in seeing the hypocrisy of Christianity and rejected it in order for her to have Christ. She thought that she could reject what belonged to Christ and yet keep Christ. Now, I am not opposed to having my faith and Christianity examined. Neither am I opposed to repenting or making changes when my faith or Christianity is found wanting and in error. I am not naïve myself in thinking that there isn’t errors, problems, and even hypocrisy in Christianity.
When I commented that Rice, based on her own testimony and beliefs was not a believer, many commenters didn’t realize that she might not be a believer. Yet, without that knowledge they had considered to be a believer. I am not trying to stifle comments in the least, I was just taken back that we can condone a decision like Rice’s and allow her to be a Christian when we don’t even know what she actually believes. This is the naivety I was speaking of.
Is it love? Is it tolerance? Is it lack of discernment? Is it fear of marking and avoiding those with false doctrine? Is it a rejection of inclusiveness? What is it? Why are we so swift to reckon someone a believer when we don’t even know what they believe?
Those who know me know that I don’t have a pair of horns growing out of my head. They know I don’t have a wanted poster of “witches” and the sort that I am hunting down to destroy. They know how much my heart grieves for those who are deceived by false doctrine. They know my commitment and passion for the correct teaching of the bible. I hope that in the last 18 months of reading this blog you know this also.
The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believes. The gospel transforms the unbelieving and condemned sinner into a believing child of God. The gospel is the gift of faith given by the Holy Spirit in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross alone. The gospel is God accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ by His death and God being fully propitiated or satisfied. God’s satisfaction is in Christ’s willing and obedient death alone. When the Holy Spirit gives life to an individual enabling that individual to repent and believe God imputes the righteousness of Jesus Christ to that sinner and imputes that sinner’s sin to Jesus Christ. When that sinner repents and believes through the gift of faith, God declares that person to be just.
Salvation is by faith alone, by grace alone, by Christ alone to the glory of God alone. Salvation is exclusive, very exclusive. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father, but by me.” You can’t get any more exclusive. However, you become no more of a Christian by saying you believe in Jesus than I can become a member of the Senate by stating I believe I am a Senator and that I believe in Harry Reid, Senate Majority leader.
As a faithful reader from Tried by Fire commented on yesterday's blog, "Today's view of spirituality is highly personal and highly privatized. The attitude is 'If I say I am a Christian, how dare anyone hold me to an external standard like the Bible.' But if our "Christianity" is self-defined, it's not the true Biblical gospel. If this is not confronted in love, many will and do have false assurance. We aren't saved because of our fruit,we're saved by Christ alone. But if there's no fruit, we may not be saved if there's no evidence of His work in our lives. It's no wonder Paul tells us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith."
When you add any works to the sacrifice of Christ you will be rejected by God. God does not infuse grace to you through your efforts or works thereby considering you just. Justification is a forensic declaration made by God through the vehicle of faith because of the trust in the atoning work of Christ as that which appeased God. Justification is not a means by which you secure redemption through your own efforts, works, or obedience. This is the defining difference between Christianity and false Christianity. Justification is the hallmark. Either God forensically declares one to be just via the vehicle of faith or one desires God to synergistically justify one by the efforts of both God and the sinner. There is no middle ground. It is either or, one or the other. God declares one to be just or one attempts to earn, or to cooperation obtains justification.
When you attempt to keep the law, work for penance or redemption, trust that grace will be infused through sacraments, add baptism, diet, ceremonies, washings, and or baptism to that great, sweet, marvelous, majestic, sacrifice of Christ in His death, you have fallen from grace (The Apostle Paul's argument to the Galatians) and made Christ void. If you continue to do so, Anne Rice, Mahatma Gandhi, those who subscribe to easy believeism, or desire God to infuse grace to your works, you will die in your sins.
The Council of Trent in Chapter 16, CANON IX.-"If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema." This says that if any one says that faith alone is the vehicle for justification and that your efforts, obedience, and cooperation is not viable toward justification, then the one who says that is cursed by this Council.
There is an entire system that opposes justification by faith and faith alone. Not only does this system oppose that by faith alone one is justified but if one states nothing else is required then that one is cursed. Therefore, if one believes that they are justified with God because they have cooperated with God as God infuses grace through their works, they are deceived and not a believer.
We must get it right. Even though God is absolutely sovereign and His perfect decree will be worked out with not one thing thwarting His will, even though God will save His elect and not one will perish, in our presentation of the gospel and our commission is to be both a witness and an ambassador of Christ we must get it right. We must understand the biblical justification. When someone makes a public stand and claims to have received justification through a system of works, self-righteous efforts, or cooperation with God we must speak out and proclaim the truth. Thank God, He works through His Holy Spirit regenerating us ensuring that "we get it right."
These have been my thoughts the last few days. I am grieved for those who are deceived. I am grieved by those who state that they can reject the Words of the Savior and yet be a Christian. I am grieved by those who accept these statements "wholesale" without investigation.
I can believe God is sovereign, that God will perfectly redeem His elect, that those whom are lost are justly lost, I can rejoice in God's wisdom and yet grieve, as I stand against false teachers and false teaching. Thanks for allowing me share some principles, some ponderings, and some propositions.
Posted by Gregg Metcalf at 3:00 AM