The Daily Word of Righteousness

A Fatal Interpretation, continued

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:11,12—NIV)

Titus says grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. But this does not apply to us because we trust God who justifies the wicked.

Paul exhorts Timothy to lay hold on eternal life and to set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity so he might save himself and those who hear him. Of course, Paul did not mean for Timothy to take him seriously because we trust God who justifies the wicked.

We can now throw out the Bible because we trust God who justifies the wicked.

If we claim to be "saved by faith alone" then this is what we are saying. God does not expect us to do what the New Testament commands because we are to trust God and permit Him to justify us. No effort on our part is to be added. God justifies the wicked on the basis of their belief alone.

Do you believe all this? As a Christian of today you may or may not. But do you know how Romans 4:5 is reconciled with the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, which are set forth in the Scriptures as though they are to be obeyed?

Much good has come from the Protestant Reformation. But there is death in the pot. We are beginning to see the harvest of the "faith alone" doctrine. The fruit coming forth is horrible. The secular world is reflecting the moral confusion of the Christians.

The Reformers spoke against the penances and indulgences practiced by the members of the Catholic Church. When they said we are saved by faith alone they meant faith apart from penances, indulgences and the other requirements of Catholicism. They could not mean faith without righteous, holy living because the New Testament is one long exhortation to righteous, holy behavior accompanied by dreadful warnings if we Christians continue walking in sin.

Let us repeat the verse we are examining:

However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. Romans 4:5—NIV)

The key to understanding what Paul meant is the expression "who does not work but trusts God."

Certainly this could be interpreted to mean there is nothing we are to do but trust God, believing Christ died for our sins.

The problem here is that of taking one verse of the Bible without referring to the remainder of the Bible. We all understand this is something we are not supposed to do, and yet the practice is common.

The remainder of the Bible, especially the New Testament, reveals clearly that Paul did not mean there is nothing we are to do but trust God, believing Christ died for our sins.

We have lifted a verse from its context and are using it as a mold over which all other verses must be hammered into shape. The result has been and continues to be an abundance of every sin imaginable on the part of Christian people.

To be continued.