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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Two Kinds of Works
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11-14—NIV)
I am at it again! Someone dared criticize my daily essays on the Internet, claiming I am denigrating the significance of Christ's righteousness imputed to believers, stressing the believer's own works of righteousness, bifurcating between (sic) believers who rule and those who are ruled, sneaking human merit into the "salvation formula," insisting that full redemption depends on the sinner's own righteousness, and remedying imbalance while giving lip-service to justification by faith.
So I have decided to once again explain the role of righteous behavior in the Christian salvation, although I have explained, explained, explained until the country is in danger of running out of paper. I have no real need to do this, I guess, because God's sheep know His voice. But still, I may be able to explain the role of righteousness in a fresh way that might help someone.
I went to prayer about this because the traditional "state of grace" position is elusive. I can't seem to get hold of it. It actually is Gnostic philosophy and not Christianity at all. The New Testament does not teach a state of grace in which the behavior of the recipient is shielded from God's sight, but grace applied to the life in such a manner that a new righteous creation comes forth. This is so clear in the New Testament that further discussion seems redundant. Yet the "state of grace" error is so widespread and so utterly destructive that we must keep at it until the Holy Spirit awakens the churches of Christ. In fact, one preacher was heard to say recently there is not so much as one commandment in the New Testament. Can you believe this? Although the words "Thou shalt not" are not employed, I'll bet there are close to five hundred injunctions in the New Testament, such as:
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians 3:8—NIV)
Because of the current definition of grace there are numerous believers who are vindictive, covetous, slanderous, argumentative, proud, haughty, lustful, rebellious, unteachable, divisive, treacherous, and they have no intention of changing because they are "saved by grace." Although they claim to be Christians they are children of the devil as long as they act this way.
The children of God act like God. The children of the devil act like the devil. This is the plain truth of it and all the grace and theology in the world will never make the situation any different.
If you are of Jesus Christ you will act like Jesus Christ. If you are of the devil you will act like the devil. No "salvation formula" (a term used by our critic) is of use when people keep doing the works of Satan. Check it out in the Scriptures.
To be continued.