Posts Tagged ‘good works’

Election is the source of and beginning of all good works.”

– John Calvin

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

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Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

-Hebrews 13:16

After hearing of our great hope, of the “kingdom that cannot be shaken” –Heb 12:28, and the “city that is to come” -Heb 13:14, we are exhorted to “not neglect to do  good and share what [we] have.” We are exhorted to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and encouraged to do so not by our own power to be good and obedient but by God’s promise to us. “I will never leave you or forsake you” -Heb 13:5. Being assured of God’s unfailing love we may say with confidence, in the midst of trials, lackings, and even the sinful desires of our selfish hearts, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Is the Lord our Helper? Is He the one who sovereignly rules? Are not all riches His? Is our hope here in this world where we have no lasting city, or is it in the city that is to come?

Oh Lord, You have blessed us so greatly. May we see your blessing in making us your children by adoption. All that we have spiritually and physically is from you and for your glory so let us deny ourselves and serve one another for Your great name’s sake.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Galatians1:6-7

What was that false gospel that was being preached in Galatia? Legalism… Christ+Works=Salvation.

From the very beginning of the Christian church, legalism has been one of the biggest enemies of the gospel of grace. Throughout Paul’s epistles to the churches he constantly attacks and warns against this heresy that says you must keep the law to be able to save your soul. Unfortunately, even today legalism creeps in the church in various forms. Often we don’t even realize it until our heart have become swollen with pride.

C. J. Mahaney says in his book Living the Cross Centered Life, “Legalism isn’t just a matter of someone who has higher standards or more rules than you have. A lot of us wrongly sterotype a legalistic person as someone who never goes to movies or who thinks any music with a beat is evil. Legalism is much more subtle and serious than that- and far more pervasive than most of us realize… Legalism is seeking to achieve forgiveness from God and justification before God through obedience to God.” That will never work. Legalism pushes Jesus off center stage and says what He did wasn’t enough. It says, I must complete what is lacking in His sacrifice. Mahaney continues, “A legalist is anyone who behaves as if they can earn God’s forgiveness [or approval] through personal performance.” And thus the legalist makes Christ death in vain. Paul seeing this in the Galatian church said to them, “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” -Galatians 2:21

Legalism perverts the gospel. It promotes pride and self-righteousness. We must realize each and every one of us for ourselves, that we are the chief of sinners. No matter how hard we try to wash our sins away, or how strict we hold to certain laws, ideas, and traditions, our “righteousness” is as a filthy rag. And so we must do and say as Paul did; “But what things were gain to me (speaking of his religious accomplishments), these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;” – Philippians 3:7-9

Christ is our all in all. He is our boast. By grace we are saved, by grace we are sanctified, and by grace we will be glorified. Let us rejoice, for Christ has cleansed us by His work, and may we continue on worshiping and adoring Him.

J. C. Hahne