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Posts Tagged ‘Christ Alone’

The Wednesday Word: The Poisonous Fog of False Doctrine

Is there a difference between regeneration and justification? If we live in the poisonous fog of false doctrine we will answer…NO!

Some folks view regeneration (being born again) as being the basis and ground for approval before God…. But this cannot possibly be so. True, the Holy Spirit regenerates us, sets us apart and gives us faith. But this is not basis of our acceptance before God. This is not the gospel. The gospel is objective. It happened outside of us, in history. It is finished!

Much popular preaching, nevertheless, tells us that the gospel is about God changing the heart of the sinner This theory, however, is but a regurgitation of medieval Roman Catholic teaching on salvation. It’s alarming that our condition and state should once again be the overwhelming preoccupation of much of our thinking today!

The great truth of justification by faith, however, does not deal with the acts of God within the believer, but rather with the saving acts of God outside of us.

The first truth that must grasp us is the ground of our acceptance with God is sheer, unmerited grace. We weren´t involved! Acceptance is all of GRACE!

We were, “justified freely by His grace” Romans 3:24.

The Greek word here translated freely literally means without a cause. So far from grace being a quality within us, the apostle declares that “grace. . . was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9).

Grace is a quality in God’s heart.

Grace is His disposition to be kind and merciful to those who are lost.

Grace demonstrates His love for the undeserving.

Grace means that God accepts those who are unacceptable.

However, God is not only gracious, He is also just. God must have just grounds to forgive and accept us as righteous. And here´s the good news, those grounds of acceptance are entirely outside of us (again, see Romans 3:24). Christ’s sinless life and atoning death are the sole grounds of God’s being able to judge us and treat us as righteous.

The gospel proclaims that His people are saved by His objective, completed acts in history two thousand years ago. We rest on these facts for salvation. This is authentic Bible Christianity. All other religions are in the poisonous fog. They teach that salvation is found in some process within the worshiper, and consequently the worshiper’s supreme preoccupation is with his own experience. What bondage! Christianity alone proclaims a salvation which is found in a finished event outside of the believer.

The basis of our salvation is not a subjective process. No amount of inward holiness can bridge the gulf that sin has made. No amount of list keeping can put us into right relationship with God. Acceptance with God cannot rest on an internal process of supposedly being made holy. Perfection is not something that God requires at the end of the journey. He demands perfection and absolute holiness before the journey begins. And this perfection and absolute holiness is found in Christ alone…not in ourselves!

Two thousand years ago there was an objective, concrete, historical event. God Himself broke into human history in the person of Jesus the Christ. He became our representative. He became so identified with us that all which He did was not only for us but was the same as if we had done it. He defeated sin, the devil and death and destroyed their power. He lived as our substitute as He fulfilled the claims of God’s requirements. Because He is our substitute, the life He lived is credited to us. When He took the punishment for sin, justice saw us punished in Him.

As Spurgeon said, ¨We stand before God as if we were Christ because Christ stood before God as if he were us.¨

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Grace not Debt

“Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:4-5).

Good gracious, that is an audacious statement, but it is perfectly correct and accurate.

God justifies the ungodly!

Why the ungodly? Because there is no other kind of people for Him to justify. All outside of Christ are ungodly. As Romans 3 explained, “There is none righteous and none that doeth good.” NONE! That’s comprehensive if you ask me.

So, let’s say it again, if God did not justify the ungodly, no one would be justified (acquitted). All are ungodly, some are very ungodly; but none are too ungodly to be justified. Why so? Because justification, (acquittal) is by grace— sheer unbounded grace, and not because of merit (what we deserve or earn).

At Calvary, infinite grace met unbounded demerit and grace triumphed.

Notice, we are not even told to believe that God justifies the ungodly. No, we are called to believe on Him,—on God Himself,—who justifies the ungodly (see our text).

Faith in God for justification implies the abandonment of any confidence we have in justification by our own good works. The old gospel Hymn by James Proctor deals so well with this. It says,

“When He, from His lofty throne,

Stooped to do and die,

Ev’rything was fully done;

Hearken to His cry!

Refrain

It is finished! yes, indeed,

Finished, ev’ry jot;

Sinner, this is all you need,

Tell me, is it not?

2) Weary, working, burdened one,

Wherefore toil you so?

Cease your doing; all was done

Long, long ago.

Refrain

3) Till to Jesus’ work you cling

By a simple faith,

“Doing” is a deadly thing-

“Doing” ends in death.

Refrain

4) Cast your deadly “doing” down-

Down at Jesus’ feet;

Stand in Him, in Him alone,

Gloriously complete.”

Our only hope of heaven is Jesus Himself. Our good works cannot bring us eternal life. As the scripture says, “To him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” Now that is a plain, well-known matter. If we work for a wage, we’ve earned it. It is not grace, therefore, on the part of our employer to, at the end of the week, give us our wages. We’ve earned them.

But grace gives us what we haven’t earned or deserved.

Supposing you met a homeless stranger and you bought him a meal, that would be grace,—but only in a small measure. Gospel grace is much greater than that. Gospel grace is more akin to the following. Suppose a stranger plundered your home and robbed you and you, knowing who he was and what he had done, unbegrudgingly and gladly bought him a meal, that’s more like the grace of God.

We are saved by grace!

There is no question of working for wages to gain eternal life.

Salvation is “to him that works not— but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly,”—Gospel truth makes us repudiate our works as our hope of salvation. In grace, the Lord justifies the ungodly, the stranger, the destitute and the enemy. He is “the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.”

The blood of the Lamb is the basis on which He can righteously justify. That is why He “is just, and the justifier of him that believes in Jesus” (Romans 3:25-26). God justifies the ungodly—but some people would rather do anything other than simply trust themselves to Him. They would rather work than believe. They want their own righteousness and refuse to surrender themselves to the righteousness of God. They won’t submit, they won’t repent.

But, thank God, the most ungodly who trusts in Him is declared not guilty.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

Joy Because of Justification

by Erroll Hulse

WE have seen that humiliation because of sin is the first experience of Christianity and without it there can be no salvation. The good news of the Gospel is for sinners only. The self-righteous cannot be saved because they trust in themselves and their own works. The degree to which sinners will experience conviction and feel their guilt varies. After conversion the experience of humiliation because of sin can be intense as is seen in many examples — Job, Isaiah, Peter and Paul. The depth of humiliation has a profound effect upon the believer, particularly with reference to understanding and practising the doctrines of grace. Spurgeon put it this way:

Hardly a glimmer of the humbling truth of our natural depravity dawns on the dull apprehension of the worldly-wise, though souls taught from above know it and are appalled by it. In divers ways the discovery comes to those whom the Lord ordains to save. . . . There is a vital connection between soul-distress and sound doctrine. Sovereign grace is dear to those who have groaned deeply because they see what grievous sinners they are. Witness Joseph Hart and John Newton whose hymns you have often sung, or David Brainerd and Jonathan Edwards, whose biographies many of you have read.1

Also we have observed that the new birth takes place after, before or during conviction, i.e. in some cases it might precede, in other cases it might follow. That the new birth precedes saving faith and saving repentance is fundamental to the Reformed faith, but, again as we have seen, it has always been a matter of debate as to how much conviction or preparation goes on in a sinner before the new birth is wrought by the Holy Spirit. Some believe in more preparatory work prior to the new birth than others. Jonathan Edwards in his writings……

Read the entire article here.

Justification and Imputation

by Persis Lorenti

On October 31, 2017, many Christians celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. My church held a service where several pastors spoke on the theological importance of this historical event, namely the recovery of the doctrine of justification by faith alone through grace alone in Christ alone for God’s glory alone. This indeed is a wonderful truth that is the ground of the gospel. What then is the ground of justification? The doctrine of imputation.

Apart from God’s intervention, Romans 3:23 is true for every man, woman, and child. We have fallen short of the glory of God, and we have fallen in two respects. We are guilty of breaking the law, which is a capital offense. (Gen. 2:16-17) God cannot sweep our sin under the rug and maintain His holiness. Therefore, sin must be punished. (Ps. 5:4-6, Heb. 10:26-31) We are also guilty of not keeping the law. (Deut. 5:29-33) God our Creator rightfully demands perfect obedience, but our best efforts are filthy rags. (Is. 64:6) Therefore, these two mammoth obstacles must be dealt with in order for us….

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

Justification and the Old Perspective

by Jeffrey Stivason

Charles Spurgeon’s famous quip goes something like this, “I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus.” We might say something similar about justification. We may describe it as the Reformed perspective or Protestant perspective on justification but it is nothing other than the truth of God revealed in Scripture. In this article, I simply want to point out the constituent elements of the doctrine of justification and make reference to their Biblical support.

First, we must affirm that man is fallen in Adam……

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

Justification and the New Perspective

Jeffrey Stivason

The New Perspective now feels old. Or to say it differently, it has gained stability in the academy and in the church. Tom Wright, its leading salesperson, is as intelligent as he is winsome. He also has the instincts of a pastor. Hence the Everyone’s Commentary, which has quickly become a staple in the church, is reaching, well, everyone! The New Perspective is leaching into the pews at an accessible rate. So, as we think about justification I think it’s a good idea that we address the New Perspective on Paul (NPP).

Let me begin by saying that Robert Cara, Provost, Chief Academic Officer and Hugh and Sallie Reaves Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, has gifted the church with a book titled, Cracking the Foundations of the New Perspective. It is a text meant to equip pastors who are ill-equipped to answer arguments rooted in Second Temple Judaism made by advocates…..

Read the entire article at Reformation21 

Why Evangelicals Must Engage Roman Catholicism

As I speak to different audiences and at various conferences, the question comes back over and over again: why should Evangelicals bother engaging Roman Catholicism? Let me suggest four reasons.

It’s a Global Issue

Wherever you go in the world – North and South, East and West – you will find people who call themselves Roman Catholics and with whom all of us will interact in one way or another on matters of faith. You will also encounter the Roman Catholic Church through its institutions and agencies: parishes, schools, hospitals, charities, movements, etc. According to the 2020 edition of the Pontifical Yearbook, Catholics around the world amount….

Read the entire article here

Justification and Roman Catholicism

by Stephen Unthank

It shouldn’t surprise Protestant readers that our Roman Catholic friends (or maybe they’re not your friends) really do believe that God justifies sinners. When they read Romans 3:19-26 they also say “Amen!” But of course, it’s what is meant by the term justify that needs careful clarification. In fact, it’s that very definition which makes the difference between calling our Roman Catholic neighbors merely a friend or a brother.[1]

The history of Rome’s understanding is itself variegated and in no way lends itself to an easy retelling, at least not in a short article like this. There’s a story about an argument over justification by faith, held during the two-decade deliberation of the Council of Trent, where “the Bishop of La Cava wrenched the beard of the Cretan Bishop of Chironissa, who had commented that he was either a knave or a fool for sounding a bit like Martin Luther on justification.”[2] And yet, you could turn to many of Thomas Aquinas’ statements on justification and easily conclude that he sounds exactly like Martin Luther. That is to say, there is not a clearly defined doctrine of justification which is easily traceable throughout the history of the Catholic Church. This is partly why there could be such a vague document like the Evangelicals and Catholics Together, which plays on how close Catholics and Protestants can seemingly come. Yet, being close is not the same thing as being faithful and when it comes to the Gospel, faithful is essential whereas being close is still an eternally distant “close.”

It is not quite right to say that the Roman Catholic church opposes salvation by grace through faith. Their own Catechism explicitly states that a person is made right with God by God’s grace, and that grace is accepted by faith. “The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit….

Read the entire article over at Reformation21  

The Wednesday Word: What Faith Sees

“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). But how is faith obtained? Listen to this! “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

Its no wonder the Word of God is under such attack nowadays

Real faith, is not faith in ourselves or faith in what we do. No indeed! But real faith is a living, personal faith, in that living, personal Saviour who came to earth and lived, died, was buried and rose again. And real faith now informs us that this same Saviour ascended into heaven and is now ruling and reigning and seated in cosmic authority (see Acts 2:33; Hebrews 10:12).

“Behold Him there, the risen Lord,

The sinless spotless sacrifice.

Upward I look and see Him there,

Who made an end of all my sin.”

As we listen to what God’s word says about Christ Jesus and His work for us, faith grows. Faith bows to the divine record of the person, work and offices of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith sees, in a personal way, that the Bible is true when it says that all have sinned (Romans 3:23).

Faith causes us to agree that, in ourselves, we are lost and undone (Isaiah 53:6).

Faith leads us to fully trust in Christ Jesus as our sin-bearer (1 Peter 2:24-25).

Faith sees that Christ alone did all the work that was needed to cleanse us and make us fit for the presence of God (John 19:30).

Faith rests on the fact that the work which Christ finished on the cross 2000 years ago, is really finished.

Faith agrees that we cannot add to this work (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Faith agrees that we cannot take away from this work. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Faith grasps that peace is not only a thing of enjoyment within us, but it is Christ outside of us: for He is our peace (Ephesians 2:4).

“My love is oftimes low,

My joy still ebbs and flows,

But peace with Him remains the same;

No change Jehovah knows.”

Bonar

Salvation is received by faith plus nothing. If there was a way for us to contribute to our own salvation; or if it depended on our merits; or indeed, if there were some way we could earn it or deserve it — then we would not receive our salvation by faith alone; we would be saved by faith plus works. But salvation is God’s gift. It is all by grace! There is nothing we can possibly add to what God has already done to save us in Jesus Christ. There is no other way to receive the benefits of Christ Crucified than by faith alone.

Some years ago, an old preacher had just finished giving a lecture at a Bible College and asked for questions. One student raised his hand and asked, “Sir, when were you saved.” The old pastor knew what the student wanted to know. He wanted to know where and when the Pastor had received Christ … was it at a gospel meeting, or in a church, did he raise his hand or walk to the front of the church?

The old preacher smiled and said, “When was I saved? Ï was saved 2000 years ago at Calvary, for it says in 2 Corinthians 5:19 “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself not imputing their trespasses to them.” I received that salvation by faith alone 50 years ago.

To receive this glorious salvation, we don’t do anything…we simply rest on His doing, dying and rising again.

Salvation was accomplished by Christ alone, it is received by faith alone without the addition of any works of our own.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Wednesday Word: Jesus + Nothing

No church saved us.

No religious act on our part saved us.

We were, are and will be entirely saved by Christ alone.

We are saved by the free, unconditional, invincible grace brought to us in the doing, dying and rising again of Christ Jesus the Lord.

For when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. That’s you and that’s me! For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet perhaps for a good man, someone would even dare to die. But God commends His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

That’s priceless!

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (see Romans 5:6-10).

Christ’s sinless life and atoning death have been accepted by the Father as ours. His doing and dying of two thousand years ago is the only ground of our acceptance with God today.

“Here we have a firm foundation;

Here the refuge of the lost;

Christ’s the Rock of our salvation,

His the name of which we boast.

Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,

Sacrifice to cancel guilt!

None shall ever be confounded

Who on Him their hope have built.”

Thomas Kelly

Christ alone has been found pleasing in the Father’s sight. So, since repetition is the price of learning, let’s say it again….There is but one reason and only one reason for our acceptance by God—Christ Alone!

There is no other way to God but in, through and by Christ.

Let us not forget that Jesus unashamedly claimed to be God in human flesh appearing. If, therefore, the one true and living God has come to save us, what other way to God can there be? Since Christ alone is God, we can ruthlessly and immediately dispense with all other supposed ways of salvation. They are all fabrications of men’s imaginations and devising. There is only one salvation, and it comes to us in Christ alone.

When we declare that we are saved by Christ alone, we stand opposed to the teachings which state that Christ’s sacrifice is insufficient without the addition of some manner of sacrament administered by clerics. What sheer, Christ belittling, nonsense is this?

Others say that Christ saves but not without our good works. How they cling to their inferior and flawed works as they fear to rest entirely on the good works of the Saviour … yet they damn us for not joining them in their folly.

Others say that Christ’s sacrifice is worthless without us adding faith to the equation. They say that our believing does the saving! Thus they oppose the teaching of Christ Alone. While it is true that faith apprehends the Gospel, faith is not our Saviour. We rest, not on faith, but on Christ alone.

Enemies of the cross urge the necessity of something more than Christ alone for salvation Without their particular addition they say that we cannot be saved. In these schemes, Christ’s sufficiency as the Saviour is consequently denied.

When we follow their logic, we must conclude that the Christ in whom they trust is at best a partial saviour. He lacks something, a certain something, provided by them that somehow augments His person and work.

What a dishonour to Christ Jesus. God has come here to rescue and save His people yet He is incapable of saving without the help of some form of mediation on man’s part. Sheer rubbish!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com