Christian Theology

August 28, 2009

O How I Love Thy Law! (Closure of Legalists & Libertines)

Psalm 119:4  Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

While we can see the error of the Legalists on one hand and the Libertines on the other, we should never let such excesses paralyze our own due diligence in the pursuit of holiness. And, mind you, the pursuit of holiness cannot be rightly taken up without the Law of God, for it is the standard by which we measure our progress. Granted, we will only have gradual progress until that day the Lord returns and makes us like He is, but we are nonetheless charged to “keep [God's] precepts diligently.”

Do we love Jesus? Then we ought keep His commandments (John 14:15). Do we hate our sin? Then we ought diligently study the Law to see our sin in light of God’s perfection (Romans 7:7b). Do we love one another? Then we ought seek their good, for Christ’s sake (Exodus 20:12-17). Do we realize the exceeding sinfulness of sin? Then we ought see that the mortification thereof is more important than life or limb (Matthew 5:29, 30).

Christians have the privilege of possessing an alien righteousness that gives us a right standing before the Holy God of Scripture. In light of such a wonderful truth, is it really so difficult to believe that God expects, nay demands, our pursuit of perfect obedience to His Law? It shouldn’t be. Romans 12 calls it out “reasonable service.” Does this mean we can merit God’s favor by keeping His Law? Of course not, because even in our greatest law-keeping we are yet deficient. We don’t keep the law to merit favor, but as a response to undeserved favor lavished upon us.

Would that we can echo the Psalmist when he says, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”

Josh

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13 Comments »

  1. I agree with you. That’s the problem with today’s Religion, Religious Leaders have not only taken away God’s Commandments, they have changed God’s Grace, from the Power of His Spirit to Conform sinful man like unto His Image, to again, justify continued sin of a believer. God warned us against those that teach such things! (11Peter-2-18-22) (Jude-4-18)

    Jesus did not die to justify continued sin, He gave His Life to take Away man’s sin and disobedience against Holy God, that sinful mankind might be Saved. Isn’t such Religion a Repeat of Satan’s words in the Garden? God said, if you eat of the tree of Knowledge, knowing good and evil, you shall Surely Die, and Satan said, you shall not surely die, you shall be as gods knowing good and evil.

    (1John-3-5-8) Jesus came to Destroy, not to justify the works of the devil. (Ephesians-3-16) That He might grant you, according to the Riches of His Glory, to be strengthened with Might by His Spirit in our inner man. (Galatians-5-5) For we through the Spirit, Wait for the Hope of Righteousness by Faith: He gives His Spirit to those that Obey Him:

    (Romans-6-1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that Grace may abound? (2) GOD FORBID: How shall we who are dead to sin, live any longer therein? When sinners came unto Jesus and were forgiven their past sins, He warned them, Sin No More lest a worse thing come upon you, God’s Judgment: He also said, if any man come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. We must deny ourselves the sinful desires of our flesh, before we CAN follow Him. (Romans-6-6) Knowing this, that our old man (created like unto the image of Adam) is Crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (6) He that is dead, (to the old man) is Freed from Sin.

    (Ephesians-4-23-24) As we die to the old man within us, we are being Renewed by His Spirit, unto the New Man, which after God is created in Righteousness and True Holiness. God’s True Grace: (Romans-5-17) For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one: Much More they which Receive Abundance of Grace AND THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS shall Reign in Life by One, Jesus Christ. (Romans-6-22) But now BEING MADE FREE OF SIN, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto Holiness and the End, everlasting Life. (23) For the wages of sin is DEATH: but the GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS is Eternal Life through Christ Jesus our LORD.

    (1Corin-2-13) Having received Wisdom which the Holy Spirit teaches, we compare spiritual things with spiritual, we know the Works of God’s Spirit: (Galatians-5-16) This I say then, walk in His Spirit and you shall not fulfill sinful lust of the flesh, Compared to the works of the spirit of Antichrist: (Ephesians-2-2) While they teach, you may walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the ‘spirit that now works’ in the children of disobedience. (3) fulfilling the desires of your flesh and of your mind, believing their promise of everlasting life, Even so, God said, you are by Nature, a child of Wrath, even as Others. (11Thess-2-3-12) Woe unto false religious leaders who have justified continued sin against Holy God! (Mark-13-20-23) Jesus warned us of these days.

    Comment by Annette — September 23, 2009 @ 9:40 am | Reply

  2. Annette,

    A few things:

    1. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
    2. I think we may not agree entirely (unless I’m just misunderstanding you).

    While I agree that Christians ought not ever point to the Cross as a license to sin, I do believe that Christ died for the all the sins (past, present, and future) of His people. He did this not so that they “could be” saved, but that they “would be” saved. In other words, Christ’s death didn’t merely make men savable, but actually accomplished the salvation of His people.

    Professing Christians who would, without reservation, presume that they may engage in sin because Christ has already paid for it should be weary to call themselves Christians in the first place. Such is not a mark of a Christian. This doesn’t mean that Christians will *never* do that, but should be horrified at such presumption. On the other other hand, I definitely believe that Christ, in fact, has justified Christians of future sins.

    What I think may be a good distinction in this case is the difference between Justification and Sanctification. Sinners are justified with one act, but sanctified with many acts between initial conversion and glory. Sanctification flows *from* Justification. Good works and law keeping are a *result* of saving faith, not a means *to* saving faith. This, ultimately, is what distinguishes Biblical Christianity from all other religions. Namely, that salvation is a gift that cannot be earned and that it is the free gift of God so that no man may boast of his inheritance.

    All of the passages to which you alluded certainly affirm what I’m saying and by no means teach that Christians are responsible for “keeping” their faith. We cannot. God must. It is God Who saves, is saving, and will save the Christian from eternal hell. He does this by means and, yes, in the process He conforms us to the likeness of His Son. But we are saved by Christ’s works, Christ’s righteousness, and not our own. Left to ourselves, all our works would only serve to condemn us. Nevertheless, because of Christ’s blood sprinkled on our half-hearted law-keeping, the Lord graciously accepts it as our “reasonable act of service,” but not as an earned merit of approval.

    I hope that clears up what I’ve mean by what I’ve written.

    Blessings,

    Josh

    Comment by Josh Hicks — September 23, 2009 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  3. No, we don’t agree with each other. (Romans-3-24) Being justified freely by His Grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His Blood, to declared His Righteousness for the remission of sins that are PAST, through the forbearance of God.

    (11Peter-1-3) According as His Divine Power has given unto us all things that pertain unto Life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him that called us to Glory and Virtue: (4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be Partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world of lusts. (5) And besides this, giving all diligence; add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to kindness charity. (8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) But he that lacks these things is Blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

    (Jude-24) Now unto Him that is Able to keep you from Falling, and to present you Faultless before the presence of His Glory with Exceeding Joy, (25) To the Only Wise GOD our Saviour, be Glory and Majesty, Dominion and Power, both now and ever, Amen.

    (Hebrews-6-1) Therefore leaving the principles of the Doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto the Perfecting; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and faith toward God, (2) Of the doctrine of baptisms, and laying on hands, and resurrection of the dead, and of Eternal Judgment. (3) And this will we do, if God permit. (4) For it is impossible for those who were once Enlightened, and have tasted of the Heavenly Gift, and were made Partakers of the Holy Spirit, (5) And have tasted the Good Word of God and the powers of the world to come, (6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto Repentance, seeing they crucify God afresh and put Him to open shame.

    (Hebrews-10-26) For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, (27) But a certain fearful looking for of Judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (28) He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: (29) Of how Much Sorer Punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has Counted the Blood of the Covenant, wherein He was Sanctified, (to CLEANSE us from sin) an unholy thing, and has done Despite unto the Spirit of Grace? To teach Christ died for a believer’s Future sins, is to deny the Power of the Spirit of Grace, making His Holy Blood of no more power than of the blood of bulls and goats, that could not take away sin. GOD FORBID: (Hebrews-12-5-8)

    Comment by Annette — September 23, 2009 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

  4. Yes, we do *definitely* disagree, then. That’s an impossible row to hoe, Annette. If your context-ripping interpretation of those passages is correct, then no one will make it into heaven, for we do all disobey His Law daily in thought, word, and deed. No thanks, I’ll take imputed righteousness over my own any day.

    Comment by Josh Hicks — September 23, 2009 @ 1:56 pm | Reply

  5. Annette, I appreciate your persistence with the plethora of unapproved comments that keep coming in, but I don’t intend displaying them here. Shotgun style proof-text arguments don’t bode well with me, particularly when they’re laced with assertions but no exegesis or appreciation for context and the *whole* of Scripture. Suffice it to say that the Scriptures do not teach that man is able to *keep* himself saved, only God can do that. Justification is a one-time thing. We’re not justified by Christ’s merit for past sin, then at the end of days gonna be justified by our works from conversion on. A major point of Scripture and the need of Christ is to show that man cannot satisfy the wrath of God against sin, and that the God-Man, Jesus, was the only sacrifice *able* to save men from the wrath and condemnation that our sin would have brought.

    It is the height of arrogance (even in ignorance) to think we could satisfy the wrath of God against our future sins in the way that Christ did for our past sins. Such is no justification whatsoever. Justification was decreed in eternity, accomplished at the cross, and is applied to the individual elect when he/she believes the Gospel by faith alone via the grace of God. You’re scheme of salvation, if it were called Christianity, would simply making Christianity like all the other religions of the world: salvation must be earned by merit. Biblical Christianity, however, teaches that man *cannot* merit favor before God if left to himself, and that God must do *all* the work in order for it to be so. This is why we proclaim loudly the statement soli Deo gloria (to the glory of God alone). For it is by faith (a faith mind you that has been given by God) that we have been saved (initially, sequentially, and finally), lest any man should boast. Such a religion as you have espoused is one filled with hopeless endeavors of unattainable holiness.

    Comment by Josh Hicks — September 28, 2009 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

  6. I didn’t think you would allow my last comments to stay on your thread, even so, (Luke-4-1-18) And the Lord said unto the devil, saying, man shall not live by bread alone, but by ‘Every Word of God’

    Comment by annette71 — September 29, 2009 @ 9:35 am | Reply

  7. I agree that we cannot live by bread alone, but by every Word of God. I’ve said absolutely nothing that contradicts that. You, on the other hand, are using selective Words of God and not giving mind to “every” one of them.

    Comment by Josh Hicks — September 29, 2009 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  8. C’mon Annette. Play fair. It’s not like Josh has not given you every opportunity to reasonably persuade or to explain you position but you just keep quoting Bible verses as if they do the work themselves. The question is whether or not they mean what you are implying that they mean, and you have not done a good job of explaining why they bolster your position. So really, though I think you are trying to stick with scripture, you are just yelling without explanation.

    Notice of course that when Jesus or the Apostle Paul argued though they quoted scripture they always defended and explained their reasons why they thought the scriptures were “on their side” so to speak. That is the biblical method and you are not doing that.

    Neiswonger

    Comment by Neiswonger — September 29, 2009 @ 10:45 am | Reply

  9. (Jude-4-9-18) (11Peter-2-15-22)

    Comment by annette71 — September 29, 2009 @ 10:46 am | Reply

  10. You quote Paul, did you not hear what Paul said concerning continued sin? (Romans-6-1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that Grace may abound? (2) GOD FORBID: How shall we who are dead to sin, live any longer therein??

    Comment by annette71 — September 29, 2009 @ 10:56 am | Reply

  11. (Genesis 1:1 – Revelation 22:21) – Wherein all the manifold mercies of God are offered and his justice proclaimed. His mercy pointing to a Savior Who would die for His people, because they couldn’t pay the debt owed to God themselves. His justice exacted against those know not the Lord and obey not the Gospel. “Gospel” meaning “good news.” In light of the bad news (i.e. you’re lost and deserving of hell, and you cannot be saved), the good news (i.e. however, you needn’t be left to yourself to be saved, the Lord will save you. Believe the Gospel) is a source of rest and relief.

    Comment by Josh Hicks — September 29, 2009 @ 11:12 am | Reply


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