Safely navigating our souls to the shores of heaven requires we spy the lies that lead to shipwreck and the truth those lies often conceal.
- You don’t have what it takes to live for God and get to heaven (2Pe 1:3).
- The Devil poses no threat to the Christian (1Pe 5:8).
- The consensus of pagans, our thoughts, our spiritual beliefs and our feelings are all things we can trust when attempting to discern truth (Joh 17:17; Isa 8:20).
- The Bible is your only spiritual authority (Neh 9:7-8; Jer 3:15).
- Stop trying to carry the heavy burden of obedience to the Law and start resting in God’s free grace.
5.1. God’s grace is never free in the sense that it doesn’t expect something in return. Rather, because of God’s gift (of “free grace”), we are now expected to live faithfully obedient lives.
5.1.1. (Eph 2:8-10) = Saving grace is “not [our] own doing; [it is] a gift of God not a result of works…we are [instead] His workmanship.” Yet God did such work with the sole intention that we “should (in response) walk” in those “good works” He “prepared beforehand” – i.e., God’s commands in the Law. When in reference to good, “works” generally refers to observance of the Law. The Law was established long before (“beforehand”) the Ephesian believers existed. In summary then, God gave His grace to us (in salvation) with the expectation that we would respond in obedience (see 1:3-4).
5.1.2. (2Co 6:1 w/14-7:1) = If we do not respond to the grace we received with holy living (separated from lawless people and those other things which defile body or spirit), then God will not continue to be a Father to us and we will not continue as His children (“then I will be a Father you”). That initial grace will be considered as received “in vain.” (1Th 1:4 w/3:5).
5.1.3. (Heb 12:14-16) = Grace expects holy living, the promotion of lawful practice w/the covenant community and sexual purity otherwise the salvation received in grace will be permanently lost in apostasy no matter how much we may regret it later (“though he sought it with tears”) (in re: to lawful practice in the CC: “root of bitterness…”; Deu 29:18-19 = Notice serving other gods includes believing obedience to be optional to receiving God’s grace/blessing. This kind of thinking can become infectious in the covenant community and will lead to our apostasy – See v20).
5.2. If God’s grace expects nothing in return, then why does God still:
5.2.1. promise to pay everyone according to their (not Christ’s) deeds? (2Ti 4:14 w/Psa 62:11-12) = Notice God’s covenant love [“steadfast love”; Deu 7:9] is defined by rendering/giving to everyone “according to their work.” This understanding should cause us to realize that chapter 4 is not the first place Paul addresses this principle in 2Timothy. It is first addressed in chapter two (2Ti 2:11-13) = B/C of God’s covenant/steadfast love or faithfulness, everyone will get what they deserve (including condemnation where deserved). BTW: if this principle were only true under the OT (the position of Evangelicals whether they realize it or not), then God has morally compromised Himself since His reason for responding this way in the past was due to justice. IOW: God giving us what we deserve (true covenant and perfect love) is the same principle that undergirds justice: the punishment must fit the crime (we must get what we deserve for justice to be upheld) (Deu19:21). It’s all Newton’s 3rd law.
5.2.2. require His people to practice holiness? (1Pe 1:13-19) = Notice once more the issue of God judging according to our deeds (and that it applies to all people – a “Father who impartially judges”). The point then not to miss (and why Peter also speaks of our ransom thru the “precious blood of Christ”): We better be careful (“conduct yourselves with fear”) not to mess up what God sacrificed so much for. If we do, God ‘s judgment against us will be no less (impartial judgment) than that issued against the unbelieving in the world. It will actually be worse. Hence again the reference to “fear” (see Heb 10:27-30).
5.2.3. warn His people of the possibility of missing out on future grace and heaven if they don’t live holy, obedient lives (Heb 12:14-15; 1 Co 6:9; Gal 5:19-21).
5.3. The only passages mentioning rest and/or heavy burdens are Jesus’ words in Matthew. They are however not directed against God’s Laws, but rather the laws and lawlessness of men (Mat 11:28-30) = The heavy/burdensome yoke Jesus is referring to is the man-made rules, lack of rules and hypocrisy being practiced by the Pharisees. This was creating the burden (or guilt) that wearied the people (Mat 15:1-9, 23:1-4, 23, 28). The easier yoke provided by Jesus (which included the rest/peace of a clean conscience) wb defined by two things: 1) bringing the people back to God’s law (Mat 5:17; Jer 6:16-19) = The ancient paths giving rest (or peace) is discovered thru returning to God’s Law (Psa 119:165), 2) (Jesus) fulfilling the only portion of the Law considered unbearable, the clean laws: circumcision, sacrifice, special separation (Act 15:10-11; e.g., Col 2:11-14: circumcision and sacrifice; Eph 2:13-16; Rom 14:14; Act 10:15; Gal 4:10: special separation; This BTW is what Paul is referring to in Rom 10:1-10 = Justification/gaining a right standing with God/salvation [“the law for righteousness”] no longer requires living by/practicing the OT clean laws. The sacrifice of Christ applied thru faith has ended the need for the practice of these laws. The moral commands still apply – Rom 13:8-10).
5.4. That being said, faithful obedience to God’s Law is not easy. According to Jesus, it requires hard work and perseverance that may – at times, seem agonizing (Luk 13:22-24 “agonizomai”) = Agonize to enter (e.g., in re: to sexual sin: Mat 5:27-30; in re: to being a bad witness to others: Mar 9:43-50 “every fiery sacrifice expects execution” = The forgiveness/grace rec’d expects faithful follow thru no matter the cost otherwise your end wb in fiery hell).
5.5. The truth this lie often conceals = Obedience is not contrary but complementary to grace/faith. What was gained by grace thru faith in Christ (our justification/righteousness) must be maintained thru obedience to God’s moral commands (Rom 13:8-10; Jam 2:24).