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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Two Kinds of Works, continued
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23—NIV)
And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (II Peter 1:19—NIV)
If we want the Father and the Son to make Their home in us, if we want the Morning Star, which is Christ, to rise in our heart, then we must pay attention to the Hebrew Prophets and to the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.
This is the reason Satan has deceived the churches concerning the necessity of obeying the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. Satan understands it is only by keeping the commandments that Christ is formed in us. And until Christ is formed in us Satan's kingdom is not in danger.
Therefore our diligent obedience to Christ is our response to the mechanism of the new covenant, not an attempt to earn our salvation. Apart from such response, such works of obedience to the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, the program of salvation, of transformation, ceases to operate.
The fruit that Christ is looking for is moral transformation. If we do not change in our moral behavior we will be cut from the Vine, from Christ.
On a talk show recently the moderator said if we do not bear fruit we become a useless branch but we never lose our "salvation." This is not what the Bible says. The Bible says the barren branch is cut from the Vine, from Christ. Can we be cut off from Christ and still be saved, when there is no other name under Heaven whereby we must be saved? I think not.
Those who are teaching the "salvation formula" cannot support their position from the Scripture. They must cut and paste, hedging, appealing to principles of the Greek language not known to most of us, and so forth. But when some of us state that true Christians become new righteous creations, changed daily from sin to righteousness, we have whole books to support us, such as the Book of First John.
James wrote "Faith without works is dead." This means righteous behavior is the very life of faith. There is no such thing as an abstract faith.
The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews is the "faith chapter." It is a lengthy definition of "The just shall live by faith." There is no evidence of a "salvation formula" in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. It is a record of works, of the true works that proceed from obedience to God.
How did this mystical "make a profession of Christ and you will be clothed in perfect righteousness, a state of righteousness not affected by your behavior," ever get started? Probably from two sources. The first is the philosophy of Gnosticism that greatly troubled the first-century Christian churches. The other is, as we pointed out, a Gentile misunderstanding of what the Apostle Paul meant by "works."
To be continued.