By Neal Griffin
A writer of some note wrote an article with the same title as the one above and cited Romans 4:5-8: "But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works; "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin'." He further wrote that, "We are made partakers of the Divine nature by means of the promises and not by human achievement". 2nd Peter 1:4; "And are being changed into Christ's image by the Holy Spirit, not by our works". 2nd Corinthians 3:18.
Another writer of the same brotherhood cited Titus 3:4-5: "But when the goodness of God our Savior appeared He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration of the Holy Spirit". He also cited Romans 9:16 indicating that salvation is of God and not of man.
These two writers with almost all others of the Restoration Movement Churches (Church of Christ, Christian Church, and etc) pay lip service to the clearly stated principle of "free" salvation, but when it gets right down to being accepted by them one must agree that certain stipulations are inherent in "free" salvation. You must agree that effort is required, that you must earn the "free" gift and the big stipulation is that one must submit to water baptism in order to gain the gift. Perfect submission to this particular law from their imagined new legal system is essential to salvation but perfect submission to all the other imagined requirements is excused as being pardonable. Dear reader, it does not take a degree in Theology to see this inconsistency. If law keeping is essential to salvation Christ avails us nothing. It is absolute folly to rely on law-keeping for salvation and to argue otherwise is to fall from grace. Galatians 5:4. These brethren argue that under the Old Testament God always attached conditions to His promises, therefore we should expect the same under the New Covenant. This might have been true except for the fact that Jeremiah promised a "different" covenant. If the New Covenant is a legal system where is the difference?
The New Covenant is not a legal system with "do's" and "do not's" the compliance with which is necessary to gain salvation. They mistake the New Covenant writings for the New Covenant. The New Covenant is God's presentation of a "free" gift while the New Covenant writings are commentary on it. They should be viewed as love letters to certain believers explaining how they should conduct themselves. When sons of God view the New Covenant writings as a new legal code they miss the point of the New Covenant. New Covenant laws are not written with pen and ink. They are rather written on the hearts of grateful recipients of the greatest gift imaginable. 2'nd Corinthians 3:3. The New Covenant is a system of faith. Compliance with it is not compliance with a system of laws. Compliance with it is to appropriate the blood of Jesus to one's guilt. It is to trust in Jesus for salvation. His righteousness has been imputed to us. He is our righteousness and only claim to salvation. This is all about what the New Covenant is. The essential of the New Covenant was performed by Jesus at Calvary. He became sin in our place and fulfilled our obligation to law. To Him belongs the glory and it is a tragic mistake to ascribe salvation to anything other than Him. When the final judgement comes there is going to be a rude awakening for all who have put their trust for salvation in their Church membership or in their own efforts at law-keeping.
God never intended for men to gain salvation by reason of their own goodness. It is because of the goodness of God that men are saved. Salvation is of Him. It always was and ever will be His accomplishment. Man cannot accomplish it. It is "impossible" on the part of man. Matthew 19:26 and Romans 9:16.
Where then is the place for works in the scheme of things? They were created long ago for our doing but salvation does not come by our doing them, otherwise we would have somewhat of which to boast. Salvation does not come by human effort. It is God's "free" gift. Ephesians 2:7-10. It is a fair assumption that believers will be characterized by good works but it is not once recorded that salvation is accomplished by the doing of them.
Please consider these thoughts. I believe them to be true to the Word. Your servant by reason of Calvary,
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