‘TRUSTING’ NOT ‘TRYING’ (2)

Many who consider themselves zealous Christians today are wearing themselves out trying to obey God's commandments in hopes they will obtain his favor. Yet their zeal is misguided (Rom. 10:2), for they seek the divine acquital, "not by faith but as though it were by works" (Rom. 9:32). The way to God's approval is altogether different, Paul affirms. That way is to trust God. To illustrate this, … [Read more...]

‘TRUSTING’ NOT ‘TRYING’ (1)

"Christ is the end of the law for righteousness," writes Paul, "to everyone who believes" (Rom. 10:4). The word translated "end" here is telos, and it means "goal" rather than "termination." Many Jews in Paul's day tried to keep God's laws so well and so thoroughly that God would examine their record of obedience and pronounce them "righteous" (Rom. 9:31-32; 10:2-3). Their goal to be found right … [Read more...]

JESUS PAID IT ALL

An independent Christian church minister in Missouri writes: "Jesus paid it all on Golgotha, plus or minus nothing. It is finished! The cross of Christ was and always will be enough." * * * Amen and hallelujah! As the apostle Paul put it in Romans 4:16, God's promised salvation "is by FAITH [we can only trust God for it], that it might be in accordance with GRACE [for it is his undeserved gift], … [Read more...]

GRACE-ONLY NOT CLUTTER

A gracEmail subscriber complains that I am "cluttering up" his email with my "grace-only teaching." * * * I do not use the term "grace only," but I am glad that you did, because it states an important truth. That truth is that we sinners cannot, through any amount of effort, obedience, good intentions or good works, ingratiate ourselves to God, place him in our debt, or create a situation which … [Read more...]

GRACE FREE BUT NOT CHEAP

A brother in the Northeast asks, "I know that God forgives us again and again and that his forgiveness is forever. But I am sometimes concerned that we presume on God by taking his forgiveness for granted. That seems to me to be cheap grace which fails to appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus." * * * We can never overstate the truth that God loves and forgives sinners, receiving them as his dear … [Read more...]

JESUS’ CROSS AND OURS (2)

A friend in the Southeast recently sent a private post expressing concern at a sermon he had heard in which the preacher quoted Galatians 2:20 and insisted that the work of salvation involves two crosses -- Jesus on his, and us on ours. * * * The climax of Galatians 2 comes in verse 21: "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness (right standing with God) comes through law (our … [Read more...]

JESUS’ CROSS AND OURS (1)

A friend in the Southeast recently sent a private post expressing concern at a sermon he had heard in which the preacher quoted Galatians 2:20 and insisted that the work of salvation involves two crosses -- Jesus on his, and us on ours. * * * Those Scriptures are very important which speak of our participation in Christ's cross, sufferings and death (Rom. 6:2ff; Gal. 2:20, Eph. 2:1ff; Phil. … [Read more...]

GOD’S LAW & GOD’S APPROVAL (2)

A gracEmail reader asks, "Since no one is justified by the law" (Gal. 3:11), how can Paul say that he was "blameless" according to the law? (Phil. 3:6)" * * * When Paul wrote that he had been "blameless" according to the Law, I believe he was stating the matter the way it had appeared to him before he came to know Jesus Christ. Many of us who grew up in what we considered "the true church" (and … [Read more...]

GOD’S LAW & GOD’S APPROVAL (1)

A gracEmail reader asks, "Since no one is justified by the law" (Gal. 3:11), how can Paul say that he was "blameless" according to the law? (Phil. 3:6)" * * * All God's commandments are "holy, just and good" (Rom. 7:12), but God never intended law to be a means of forgiveness or the means for obtaining divine approval. When he gave the Law to Israel at Sinai, after rescuing them from Egyptian … [Read more...]

GOD’S GIFT CONDITIONAL? (2)

Someone writes: "I believe that salvation is totally God's gift of grace, and that we do not merit or earn any of it. However, I think we may truly say that baptism is the condition on which a person receives salvation as a free gift." * * * If Christ accomplished salvation rather than merely made it a possibility, does that mean that every human being without exception will finally be saved. … [Read more...]