Thursday, October 27, 2011


This two and a half minute video by my pastor RW Glenn explains an essential doctrine of the Gospel. Plus, this video, with it's "kinetic typography" is super cool to watch!

Crossing people, is this what you are being taught in your church? Or is it all about "do more , give more, and try harder and then God will bless you".

As a Christian, I don't have to "do" anything to merit God's favor. In fact, apart from faith in Christ and trusting what He has "done" for me,  there is absolutely nothing I can "do" to please God. By trusting in Christ and His finished work, I am free from the demands of God's laws.  That doesn't mean I can live any way I want to, but it does mean that because I am under the ministry of the Holy Spirit, God tenderizes my conscience to live the way God wants Christians to live, and therefore protects me from falling away.

Here's an excerpt from a letter I wrote to someone who responded to my blog. I will not mention his name, but it does contain essential Gospel Truth, and it bears repeating. 

[We are not justified (declared not guilty) by our works. Apart from faith in Christ, we are incapable of doing anything good to merit God’s approval. One Scripture that is misused to prove that we are justified by our good works is, “You see that a man is justified by works and not faith alone” (James 2:24). That passage directly contradicts Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

To resolve this apparent contradiction, you have to understand the sense in which both James and Paul are writing. Paul is saying that we are not justified by our works. James is saying that works are the result of our justification. Read the whole of James chapter two and the context will be obvious. Read Ephesians 2:1-10. 

In other words, I don’t go to Elk River and hand out conference flyers to gain God’s approval. I hand out the flyers because God has caused me to be born again, and as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in me, I want to hand out flyers. I want to "contend earnestly for the faith" as God commands  in Jude 3-4. 

You see the difference? God does not justify us because we do more, give more, and try harder! That is never, ever the case! It is everywhere in Scripture.

The fact is, we cannot come remotely close to living up to God’s standards set forth in Scripture. After all, when was the last time you had a sinful thought, said a harsh word, or committed a sinful act? Have you loved the God of the Bible with heart, soul, mind, and strength, every second of every day for the entirity of your life?

Jesus said a couple of interesting things in His famous, “Sermon on the Mount” that should bring clarity. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Outwardly, these spiritual leaders were as righteous as you could possibly be] And again in Matthew five, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) 

These verses are intended to make us fall on our knees and say, “I can’t be perfect, never. My righteousness will never, ever surpass that of the Scribes and Pharisees. I am lost, ruined! I will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven because I haven’t lived up to God’s standards set in the Scriptures. God help me!!" As a Christian I sin countless times every day! I cannot go ten seconds without sinning! I am a complete mess in thought, word, deed and complete devotion to God! 

But, what is so liberating about the Gospel is that Christians don’t have to do more, give more, and try harder to please God. We don’t! Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” 

You see, the people of Jesus’ day were weighed down and breaking under the legalistic burden placed upon them by the Scribes and Pharisees. They had to do more and try harder, never being able to live up to their man-made standards. These people were weary of trying to merit God’s favor in order to be justified, and they lived in constant fear that they were not "doing" enough. There was no assurance that they were approved by God. 

Then Jesus comes along and says, “Just trust me, that is all you have to do”, and it rocked their world! 

Think about this: false religion is a “do” religion. True religion is a “done” religion. People living under false religion think, “What do I have to “do” in order to be granted salvation, gain God’s approval, or receive God's blessing?" While people living under True religion-the Gospel-think, “I don’t have to “do” anything to earn God’s approval because Jesus came and has already “done” what I cannot "do"; He gained God's approval for me! 

I perform deeds pleasing to God because I am so grateful to God for saving me through what Jesus has accomplished for me.

Just think of your response to the question I asked, “If you died today and found yourself standing before God, and He asked, "Why should I allow you into My Heaven?" Your response was, "I don't think Jesus would ask me "Why should I let you in?" I believe He would say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant"...Jesus knows my heart, He knows how much I love Him, what I do to serve Him and I know Jesus and His Father through the understanding of the Word.”

This is reminiscent of the parable of the Prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. Here’s a bit of the text as it applies to you. The legalistic older brother says, “Look, for so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a commandment of yours….” Jesus is talking about the Pharisees here. The younger brother, broken and humbled by his inability to save himself goes to his daddy and simply asks for forgiveness, and his daddy gladly receives him and then throws him a massive party!
Jesus came to fulfill the Law of God that Adam failed to do. He was the second Adam. He lived a perfect life and then went to the cross to be punished for all the sins of every person who would ever believe. The doctrine of “imputation” is clearly recognized in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 
In other words, on the cross or sins were transferred to Jesus “account”. Then God the Father treated Jesus as if he were the most vile, despicable, sinner the world had ever known. Jesus experienced Hell is some sort of supernatural event we cannot comprehend. Jesus paid the sin debt we could never, ever do on our own. 

Just think if you got a credit card bill for a hundred billion trillion dollars. You would be in absolute chaos thinking, “I can’t pay that off! Never can I do it”. Then someone comes along and pays the debt for you! That’s what Jesus accomplished on the cross.  

But that’s not all Jesus accomplished. Because Jesus lived a perfect life as the second Adam, His righteousness is transferred to our “account” the moment we trust in Jesus.
This Truth has massive implications in our daily lives as Christians. 

First, we are adopted into God’s family. He is our Father and now He loves us as His children. There is never any alienation or anger toward us when we sin because He sees us as perfect as Christ is perfect. He is never upset when we slack off in our bible reading, prayer, or fail to perform well in our ministry at church. 

Second, we cannot lose our salvation, ever, ever, because every sin you will ever commit in the future was already paid in full by Jesus on the cross. God did not save you because of your good works, therefore you can never, ever lose your salvation for not being good enough.

Third, you can rest in Christ! You love Him and do good things because He is your Lord and you are loyal to Him. You never have to worry about not doing enough. Christ is our Sabbath rest. He has "done" what you cannot "do". We are free from the bondage of sin and slavery, and to unbiblical rules and regulations. We have liberty to live and do ministry in the ordinary, mundane way we live out our lives at home, at work, in school, or on vacation. Of course we should be involved in Church ministry, but we need not be burdened by orbiting our entire lives, talents, and finances around the church you attend as Eric demands. 

In Christ, you are free! Let it sink in and enjoy being free from burdensome and legalistic church rules not found in Scripture. The home page on my blog has a picture of a sturdy chain. I believe with all my heart that, however well intentioned the pastors at The Crossing are, they put their people in chains, in bondage. But the Truth of Jesus, of the Gospel will set you free from those nasty chains.]  

For every single time you fail to live according to God's standards, look ten times to the Cross and realize that all of your sins were paid in full by Christ. When Jesus said "It is finished", He means, it IS finished! 

Don't trust your subjective feelings when you think God does not approve of you when you sin. Rather, trust in the objective fact of the record of your sin being wiped clean, and God sees you as perfect in Christ, even when you sin!

That's the Gospel! Now isn't that better than the legalistic teachings coming out of The Crossing church? 

God Bless you, Casey      

1 comment:

  1. Great post on what Jesus has done for us this ought to encourage Christians who are being beaten down by "all law and no gospel" being taught in their churches. The gospel ought to cause us to obey the law out of thanksgiving and not out of compulsion. And it's a joyful thing.