Edward O’Hara Tue 2/11/2020 10:39 PM
How is my doing works for salvation any different from me trusting in someone else doing the works for me for salvation? I mean, it still works no matter who does them, right? And what is it about salvation by works anyway that is so ingrained in so many people that they just can’t see works not being involved in some way in salvation? Why is it so easy for people to be deceived into salvation by works mentality? It is because most people are taught from day one that if they want something in this life they will need to work for it. So what it comes down to is whether we will have God’s wisdom, or man’
Thinking in terms of earning or working for salvation is not God’s method for righteousness. It is not the wisdom regarding salvation that comes from Him. It is man’s wisdom. Even if we believe that God did all the work and we do nothing except believe in Him to receive this righteousness, it’s still righteousness based on works. So how are we to understand this righteousness that comes to us that no one works for because it is by grace? What does it mean when the scripture says in Eph.2:4-9 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved); And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”?
Does this scripture only refer to the works that we do? Or works done by anyone? If it only refers to works that we do so that the works of another can count toward our righteousness, why would that not still be considered salvation by works? Because that is by definition exactly what it is. Isn’t this what the verse means when Paul says “it is the gift of God”? So the “someone had to work for it” mentality is man’s wisdom, not God’s. And it is specifically because it is man’s wisdom, the wisdom of the carnal mind, that so many are so easily deceived into this kind of belief. Because in their unrenewed carnal thinking produced by their secular training from the first day of their natural lives, this makes it the norm for them to think in terms of works to get something. So when the carnal mind hears the message of a salvation that is by grace through faith without works as the Bible teaches, the best the unrenewed carnal mind can do with this is to twist what this means so that it will still be as close to the old way of their works to get something thinking as possible. When what should be happening is that this person must allow God to change the way they have been taught by the world to think as Paul said in Rom.12:1,2.
So the carnal mind interprets grace as Jesus doing the work so you don’t have to. Instead of as the Bible plainly says, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it is of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” So the scripture is clear that no one, not even God, works for any part of salvation. Let me show you a really good example from one of Jesus’ parables that beautifully illustrates this point.
In Mt.18 we see Jesus explaining how God forgives. And how if they are being obedient to God they will learn from this how-to forgive as well. How to love as God loves Leading up to this parable Jesus told them that they were not only to forgive up until 7 times. But, “Until seventy times seven”. And to show them how this works Jesus told the parable of a king that represents God who decided he was going to take account of his servants the Israelites. So this king tallied up all that the servants owed to him and brought them before him one by one to get from them what they owed him.
Since this parable is about forgiveness what Jesus was trying to show them was actually how to love God and one another as God loves. And that to truly love as God does they must learn to forgive one another of any and all offenses. So in this story, we see a servant that owed much more than he could ever pay. We will pick the story up in vs.25 where Jesus says “But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
The servant, therefore, fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.”vs.24-27.
One will say, “What!? How can this be? Doesn’t someone have to pay? I mean isn’t that what we are taught the Bible says Jesus’ death was for? To pay the penalty for sin? Isn’t this the payment for offenses God’s holiness demands!? This story can’t possibly be about the God of the Bible. He would never allow sin in His presence. So without the penalty, God’s holiness demands being paid there can be no forgiveness. Right!? And without this penalty being paid no one could ever be in His presence! Right?”
No, no, thousand times no! God’s holiness demands no such thing. Remember Jesus is telling them this parable as a representation of what “the kingdom of heaven is likened unto”.vs.23. So Jesus is telling them this story to show them just exactly how God forgives. And how men receive God’s grace to be able then to forgive just as God does. How to love as God does.
In order to really understand this parable the significance of the fact that when the king forgave the debt no one stepped up to pay it in the servant’s place can not be overstated. Because of his compassion for his servants, the king simply forgave the debt, case closed. If it was true as so many teach that Jesus had to pay the penalty God’s justice demands for sin so that men could be forgiven, wouldn’t Jesus’ telling of this story has been the perfect time to illustrate that point? Of course, it would. But, Jesus doesn’t even mention that. And He never said anyone took the punishment for the servant even later when he would not forgive his fellow servant either. Because the only way out of the prison of unforgiveness that this “wicked and unprofitable servant” placed himself in is by having “compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee” as Jesus said in vs.33. So only by forgiving as God forgives, by loving as God loves us, is how the servant would “pay all that was due unto Him.”vs.34.
In this parable, Jesus shows us what is needed for God to forgive sin. That it is a matter of God’s compassion, His love for mankind simply forgiving without anyone having to pay any penalty for it. This is the grace of God. Freely given and freely received. With no need for works done by anyone having any place in the process. This is true grace. So anything that includes works, no matter who we say does them, is not grace. Because it is just as I quoted Paul earlier saying, if it is by grace it can not be of works or grace is no more grace. So if you want to be a part of this remnant Paul spoke of you must purge your beliefs about salvation from any works done by anyone. You must renew your mind as Paul instructed by the renewing of the Holy Spirit.
In this parable, Jesus is teaching Israel how to love as God loves them. Jesus has shown them that God forgives freely without any need for payment of a penalty. But, simply because He loves them. And that it is only when they are unwilling to forgive, unwilling to love as God has loved them, that they are in a prison of unforgiveness that they will remain in until they forgive completely as God has forgiven them. And Paul confirms this for the church by showing how the love of God has shed abroad in our hearts in Rom.5:1-5. Forgiveness is the key. Because forgiveness that is free can only be done by those who have come to know the God who freely forgives.
Now I’m going to show you how the most sacred of sacred cows are shredded by this parable. Because when we really understand this parable it is revealed to us that Jesus’ death was not the payment of a penalty for sin as so many falsely believe and teach. It was not a “vicarious penal substitutionary death”. To the contrary, Jesus’ death was, in fact, the expression of God’s love for mankind to show just how free His gift of forgiveness is by confronting man’s enemy, the devil, and death, head-on as Paul writes in Col.2:15 saying, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” No, Jesus’ death was not the satisfaction of some Augustinian inspired fictitious holy demands of God that demanded the beating and killing of Jesus “in our place” to appease God’s wrath as so many falsely believe and teach because they have believed Augustine’s Gnosticism instead of the Bible. On the contrary, it is through Jesus becoming a man just like us that God was able to live just as any man does(Heb.4:15). And because He was a man just like us He was also able to die the same death that any man does(Heb.2:14,15). Doing this so that by the resurrection He could conquer man’s death. Making “the way”(John14:6) for us to be joined to Jesus by grace through faith without works done by anyone just as Jesus was joined with the Father by believing in Him while living as a man on earth. Because only in this way can we too conquer death through the resurrection.
Have you believed in Jesus? Have you trusted in Jesus’ love for you without works done by anyone? Have you been born of the Spirit so you can inherit eternal life? If you are reading this God is calling you. He loves you and wants you to know Him. Because knowing Him is eternal life.John17:3. So if you do not know Him please take the time right now to pray and confess Jesus as Lord of your life. And believe that He has raised from the dead. Because by doing this and really meaning it from your heart you will be saved from death to life. From sin to righteousness. And from the wrath to peace with God. Because when you trust in Jesus you leave the old life behind where you were only able to trust in what has been made. And now will be equipped to trust in Jesus who alone can equip you for heaven because by His resurrection He is the only WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE.
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