This year I plan to write a series on current trends in the church. This month I want to begin with an insight into the glorious grace of God.
When believers get to heaven we will declare, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
We will declare, “You are worthy (for)…You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
We will exclaim, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10)
We will worship saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 7:12)
In the verses above we find an excellent example of the many expressions and declarations we will make when we get to heaven, but there is an unstated truth here revealing so much more. In the declaration of praise to God there is a complete absence of praise for human merit and glory! All the glory belongs to the Lord.
The Error of Human Merit
The Apostles warned us that there would be many false teachings introduced to the church. Human inspired – incremental grace is one of the false teachings we should be guarded against. Any teaching that moves people from the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and toward a human centered / human assisted righteousness is forbidden by Scripture. Church history is replete with examples of this error and the array of incidents range from the very extreme to the very subtle.
Those who embrace a human assisted salvation find it difficult to fully embrace the verses cited above. In their view, placing ALL the worth, blessing, glory and honor upon the Lord for salvation is unbalanced. The thoughts supporting their view are summed up in the concept that they participated with the Lord, made efforts and to some degree or another earned a bit of God’s favor by both actions and intentions.
By Grace Through Faith Alone
When a person believes people cannot get to heaven, by faith in Christ alone, but add to faith the requirement of making any or every effort to live a life pleasing to the Lord, that person has embraced a performance based / human assisted Christianity.
Some Shall Suffer Loss
Those who by genuine saving faith in Christ, who have nonetheless been touched by this doctrine, will get to heaven and discover afresh that all their righteous deeds are as filthy rags. Those things thought to be instrumental and worthy of reward will be lost; the works themselves tried by fire at the judgment seat of Christ. In the light of God’s presence they will discover that any “good” they believe to have done is lost and only those things manifest by God’s working within remain. At this revelation they will say… ALL thanksgiving, blessing, glory, honor and power be unto the Lord. No credit to us at all!
The subtleties are endless. If you believe that baptism, participation at the Lord’s Table (Communion), praying more, fasting more, serving more, even reading the Bible more, will make you more righteous, holier or cause God’s favor to rest upon you in a greater way, you are wrong! For it is while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Furthermore, it is while we are yet sinners we are made righteous by grace through faith alone. It’s all about His work in us, not about our work in Him.
Please understand, I am not suggesting we neglect Bible reading, prayer, etc. I am simply showing you that doing these things will not make you holy. These actions will naturally flow from a believer’s life – truly surrendered. We are made holy by the finished work of Christ. We are made holy by grace through faith alone. It’s not about us! It’s all about Him!
Take The Test
Here is a test. Do you feel condemnation when you forget or even neglect to read the Bible? How about when you fail to spend enough time in prayer? Do you ever feel that God is disappointed with you? Have you felt that you have let God down? Do you feel the need to inventory every sin in your life and confess them one by one in order to be forgiven? What if you forget one? If you can say yes to any of these questions you have need again to understand the true Gospel and see the awesomeness of our God. You need to purge out the leaven of error and embrace the true Gospel of grace. It is God who paid the price for our sin. It is by His work we are saved, forgiven, and made righteous. Remember, “For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 6:21)
Oh Lord, “You are worthy… You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood…” (Revelation 5:9-10)
Blessings upon you all,