2006-09-14 - Excuses: 3
John 1:16, "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace."
As we continue on with the excuses that some will use for not coming to faith in Christ, or following through with that commitment, I want to lay to rest a third here that is a great stumbling block to many. It is that salvation must be by faith alone in Christ. Our works have nothing to do with salvation as a justifying act before God. They may witness of our being in the grace of our Lord, but they have nothing to do with establishing our place into God's mercy.
Many will stumble at this. "What? Are you saying that my good works have nothing to do in assisting in my salvation?" Yes, exactly, and many will and do stumble here.
It is too simple, too easy for it to be just that. The self-righteous man or woman thinks, "You mean to tell me that in salvation, there is no difference between myself and the prostitute on the street? Are you telling me that we both equally need God's grace? I don't lie, don't curse, don't sleep with my neighbors wife, pay my taxes in full, and there is no difference between myself and a harlot in the eyes of God?" Exactly, that is what I am saying, and it is a stumbling block for many. However good as you are or have been, bad as you are or have been, outside of Christ both are going to hell. The Gospel is for "whosoever," and all are equally in need of its saving nature. James 2:10, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all."
It is part of our nature that we want to contribute. We want to pay what we owe. The person is rare who is looking for a free ride, when he knows that his free ride will cost someone dearly, even that person's life. We want to do our part. But that is not an option. To despise the free offer of the gospel in Christ, and rest upon, to any extent, our own good works unto salvation, is to prefer our own righteousness to the righteousness of Christ. Scripture calls our righteousness "filthy rags," Isaiah 64:6.
The excuse then is that it is too easy for this to be true. It is too good to be true. There must be something more, but there isn't, and when we seek to add something more to what God has revealed, we have become fools, because we make ourselves out to have figured out a better, more perfect path to salvation than God. Shall we call this pride or arrogance on our part? How about both? If you are content to invent your own way to peace with God, I submit that you are not only a fool, but you are heading for a huge disappointment. You will one day learn that God doesn't alter His gospel to suit our taste.
How many are sucked in by this quicksand? How many fall for this lie? The Reformation church had a Latin phrase that we ought to make our anthem respecting salvation. It was Solus Christus. It means, translated into English, only Christ. It is only Christ and many fair-minded, intelligent people have not been able to clear the hurdle of the simplicity of the concept that in respect to salvation, it is only the work of Christ applied to us by the Holy Spirit, that saves. Let not the simplicity of the message deceive us into missing its power and significance. It is an excuse, but not a good one. It is not an excuse worth resting the future of our souls upon. "And she shall bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins," Matthew 1:21. From start to finish, salvation is, and always has been, the work of Christ alone.
Soli Deo Gloria,