GOSPEL: Up or Down?

  1. Many of us see the Law for the mountain it really is.  Some of us see the Gospel as a climb that it really isn’t.
  2. The Law is a mount like Sinai, which we could never climb.  The Gospel is not the backside of the Law (Sinai), a more gradual slope we climb.
  3. The Gospel is God having come down to us in Christ Jesus,  not another way of making our way up to God.
  4. Beware of those who get the Law right, but turn the Gospel upside-down, by turning it into another Law.
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SLIPPING: Need Chains?

Where the Gospel “seems” to lose traction – failing to “improve” our lives – we are apt to apply the chains of the Law in some form.

However, the believer’s traction, in whatever degree God causes it, is never apart from the Gospel itself.  In our beholding the person and work of Christ, the treads of the Gospel grip upon our lives, causing our minds and hearts to genuinely love God and neighbor.

The treads of the Spirit leave the marks of the Gospel.  So, let’s hang those Law-chains where they belong…upon the Cross.

BELIEF: Hard work!

As believers, we all stand by grace answering the hardest call…”believe and be-living!”

What we experience when moving away from grace is not liberty, but the bonds of legality, whether formally or practically.  (Yes, licentiousness is a form of legalism.)  Where we are not overcome by the abundance of His life-giving love…we are apt to be found attempting to build ourselves up into His image.

Idolatry is banished only in the light of God’s glory beheld in the face of Jesus Christ.

Grace, mercy, and peace to you!

RIGHTEOUS: Trying to be?

I came across this recently in Piper’s book entitled Think.  In principle, this seems to apply quite well to believers, particularly as we struggle to live under grace and not the Law.

In relation to Rom.10.2-3…

“They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” 

Piper writes:

Here is the root of their suicidal zeal for God.  In all their thinking about God and his righteousness, they missed the main point – that it is a free gift for faith.  When they seek to establish their own righteousness, they are not submitting to the righteousness of God.  In fact, their effort to establish their own righteousness is rebellion and insubordination against the righteousness of God.  This is why they are not saved.

But you can hear the zealous kinsmen of Paul cry out in defense: “Wait a minute!  You do us entirely wrong.  It is precisely our efforts to establish righteousness in our lives that is our submission to God’s righteousness.  What else would subjection to God’s righteousness look like, except the zeal to establish righteousness in our lives so that it come into conformity to God’s righteousness?  What would you want us to do – be indifferent to whether we are righteous or not?”

But Paul says that when you live this way – when you labor to show yourself righteous so that God will accept you – you are not submitting to God’s righteousness; you are in rebellion against God.  Why?  Because God’s righteousness is a gift of free and sovereign grace, not a merited attainment by human effort – or even a Spirit-wrought performance of relative success in holiness (sanctification).  And since it is always and entirely a free gift, submission to it means receiving righteousness as a gift.

The way that gift comes is described in Rom.10.4 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  All of God’s law was leading to Christ for righteousness for all who believe.  By faith we receive Christ.  And in Christ we have the righteousness of God.  “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Cor.5.21). This is what they were ignorant of, and therefore, Paul says, they had a zeal for God and were not saved.

…Paul’s kinsmen needed to see that the righteousness of God that they lacked was a free gift of that same grace.  It comes only through union with Christ by faith.  And when it comes, it brings in its train the power to love (Rom.13.8; Gal.5.6).

Code or Christ?

Another helpful article by John Dunn:  Puritan Experientialism

John provides some insight into the legal focus of Subjectivism practiced by Puritanism and its heirs.

Our attention is drawn to the realities of the Gospel…and not the Law…as the sufficient and effective revelation of God’s righteousness.  Fact is, that Christ himself is the incarnate revelation of God’s righteousness.  Righteousness is a Person.  Righteousness is not a precept, though the former precept bore witness to the Person of Righteousness.  This Person not only fulfilled all righteousness, but is the Fullness of Righteousness.  He is the Standard, not merely as code-keeper and code-enforcer, but in and of Himself.  This King is personally the Rule(r).

Seeking a ‘standard’ (code) of righteousness to keep us in line with God or a misinformed conscience, is not the way of Christ for us.  Rather, Christ himself indwells us by the Holy Spirit, as our Ruler, not merely informing us in precept, but calling us to faith that He is Righteousness in us.

These things are the Apostle Paul’s refrain:

Rom 3:21-22
(21) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–
(22) the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
Rom 1:16-17
(16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
(17) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Rom 10:3-4
(3) For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
(4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
 

This is the Rule of Faith in which we must persevere, hold fast to…Christ is righteousness ‘for us’ and ‘in us’!!!

LEGALISM: Of the Gospel

The Progression of LEGAL-ism

Legalizing the Gospel,

leads to a legalization of the Church,

which leads to a legalization of the Christian,

who in turn lives to legalize the World.

—-

PS

By the phrase “legalizing the Gospel” the following is meant:

1) Either the Law is viewed as the Good News that converts

the soul;

2) Or, the Law is added to the Gospel (making it no gospel).

In both cases…Christ’s mercies and merits are trumped by Moses.

BOOK REVIEW: The Naked Gospel

AMAZON BOOK REVIEW:  The Naked Gospel

[The following is my own book review. mjm]

Please, listen closely to all reviews that deem this book as faulty! And, note well, how, what Farley is teaching bears upon the criticisms by others about this book.  Some will say: “The book is off-track!” This is exactly right…The Naked Gospel is far from the garden-variety preaching/teaching we all have been subject to within much of the church.

The Gospel remains a stumbling block for all those who would seek life apart from and not in Christ Jesus, himself.

Our default mode: LAW!

Thank you, Andrew, for laboring to bring to light the Truth of the Gospel…Jesus is Our righteousness, Our life, Our rest, Our Lord! And as Lord…he literally RULES in the lives of those who believe (take Him at his word, that, He is Life!).

I have lived long enough (within the realm of works-righteousness) and alongside others who do the same to see the truth of Scripture confirmed that man is incurably self-righteous (even when it appears “godly”).

Chief Problem: IDOLATRY!

As Christians, we exercise some of the most blatant forms of IDOLATRY. That is, mingling grace (God’s image-making) and works (Our image-making). Failing to give up on our own “image-making” project (fashioning ourselves into God’s image), while missing how it is that God in Christ (the expresses image of God) goes about making us into His image.

Every IMPERATIVE of Scripture is FULFILLED in Christ.
Ultimately, every IMPERATIVE of Scripture is DESCRIPTIVE of the work of Christ “for” and “in” us.

Man is innately most comfortable in his own image-making…being as God.

For those who can’t readily swallow naked (non-sugar-coated!) Gospel-Truth (even as a Believer!)…there remains a degree of blindness and deafness to the REALITIES of Christ as fulfillment of all shadows (The Law). We become what we behold! Blind, deaf, and dumb? Or, seeing, hearing, and praising?

Farley’s work here is a great beginning to our continuing to unpack the essence of Christ crucified and risen, the New Creation.