Archive for the ‘works-righteousness’ Category

A right understanding of justification is absolutely crucial to the whole Christian faith

September 26, 2009

A right understanding of justification is absolutely crucial to the whole Christian faith. Once Martin Luther realized the truth of justification by faith alone, he became a Christian and overflowed with the new-found joy of the gospel…Even today, a true view of justification is the dividing line between the biblical gospel of salvation by faith alone and all false gospels of salvation based on good works.

Wayne Grudem

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The tragic works-based religion of Mormonism

September 11, 2009

Ordinances are basic to the gospel. Now, what is the gospel of which we speak? It is the power of God unto salvation; it is the code of laws and commandments which help us to become perfect, and the ordinances which constitute the entrance requirements.

The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 502

Adding to Scripture

September 4, 2009

Joseph Fielding Smith (Mormon President 1970-72) said that a cup of tea can keep a member out of heaven:

…but my brethren if you drink coffee or tea, or take tobacco, are you letting a cup of tea or a little tobacco stand in the road and bar you from the Celestial Kingdom of God, where you might otherwise have received a fulness of glory?

“Oh, it is such a little thing, and the Lord will forgive us.” Well, there is not anything that is little in the way of sinning. There is not anything that is little in the world in the aggregate. One cup of tea, then it is another cup of tea and another cup of tea, and when you get them all together, they are not so little.

Joseph Smith, Mormon founder, drank tea, beer, wine and possibly smoked too.

The Law is Powerless to Change us

September 4, 2009

Benjamin Franklin made 13 virtues for himself, including: Silence (‘speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation’), frugality, industry (‘lose not time; be always employed in something useful’) and tranquility (‘be not disturbed at trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable’).

He set up a book with a page for each virtue, lining a column in which to record “defects.” Choosing a different virtue to work on each week, he daily noted every mistake, starting over every 13 weeks in order to cycle through the list four times a year.

For many decades Franklin carried his little book with him, striving for a clean thirteen-week cycle. As he made progress, he found himself struggling with yet another defect. “There is perhaps no one of natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it. Struggle with it. Stifle it. Mortify it as much as one pleases. It is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself….even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

Phillip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Zondervan, 1997, p. 35

…These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Col.2.23

The law is spiritual

September 4, 2009

The little word “law” you must not take in human fashion, as a teaching about what works are to be done or not done. That is the way it is with human laws — human laws can be fulfilled by works, even though there is no heart in them.

But God JUDGES according to what is at the bottom of the heart, and cannot be satisfied with mere works. For even though you keep the law outwardly, with works, from fear of punishment of desire for reward, nevertheless, you do all this without willingness and pleasure, and without love for the law, but rather with unwillingness, under compulsion and if the law were not there you would gladly do otherwise. The conclusion is that you hate the law.

For this reason Paul says the law is spiritual. What is that? If the law were a human law, it could be satisfied with works; but since it is spiritual, no one can satisfy it, UNLESS all that you do is done from the bottom of the heart.

But nobody has a heart like that. Only the Holy Spirit can give a man such a heart. Thus it comes about that faith alone justifies a man and fulfils the law, for faith brings the Holy Spirit through the merits of Christ.

Martin  Luther, Preface to Romans

The problem of the human heart

August 26, 2009

The problem of the human heart is the heart of the human problem.

Rico Tice

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17.9

Works Righteousness

July 31, 2009

Captain John Miller’s (Tom Hanks) last words to private James Ryan (Matt Damon) were, ‘Earn this. Earn it.’ In other words, repay the sacrifice of all those who died so you might live.

But he didn’t and couldn’t earn it. All he could do was live a life in gratitude to them. His good deeds could not bring them back to life and give them the grandchildren they never got to see as he did.

Saving Private Ryan

Faith and Works

May 28, 2009

It is faith alone that saves us, but not a bare faith. When a horse beareth a saddle and a man thereon, we may well say that the horse only and alone beareth the saddle, but we do not mean the saddle empty, and no man thereon.

William Tyndale

The Reformation In England, By J. H. Merle D’Aubigné
(Originally published in 1866)
Reprint by Banner of Truth Trust
1962 (first edition). p.396

Monasticism and Works

November 6, 2008

(As a monk, Luther) fasted, sometimes three days on end without a crumb. The seasons of fasting were more consoling to him than those of feasting. Lent was more comforting than Easter. He laid upon himself vigils and prayers in excess of those stipulated by the rule. He cast off the blankets permitted him and well-nigh froze himself to death. At times he was proud of his sanctity and would say, “I have done nothing wrong today.” Then misgivings would arise. “Have you fasted enough? Are you poor enough?” He would then strip himself of all save that which decency required. He believed in later life that his austerities had done permanent damage to his digestion.

I was a good monk, and I kept the rule of my order so strictly that I may say that if ever a monk got to heaven by his monkery it was I. All my brothers in the monastery who knew me will bear me out. If I had kept on any longer, I should have killed myself with vigils, prayers, reading, and other work.

Here I Stand – A Life of Martin Luther
By Roland Bainton, p.44

But for those who try to reach heaven by works there is always the nagging doubt: have I done enough?

Works Righteousness – Luther’s Experience

November 6, 2008

When Luther became a monk he would have heard these words:

“Bless thou thy servant,” intoned the prior. “Hear, O Lord, our heartfelt pleas and deign to confer thy blessing on this thy servant, whom in thy holy name we have clad in the habit of a monk, that he may continue with thy help faithful in thy Church and merit eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.” During the singing of the closing hymn Luther prostrated himself with arms extended in the form of a cross. He was then received into the convent by the brethren with the kiss of peace and again admonished by the prior with the words, “Not he that hath begun but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

Here I Stand – A Life of Martin Luther
By Roland Bainton, p.34

But the Scripture says that it is not of works lest any man boast.