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MCG Summary: The saving relationship we enter with Jesus is a marriage covenant (Jer 31:31-32). As such, it functions according to the principles of gain and maintain. We gain our salvation (or marriage to Jesus) through faith (expressed in the waters of baptism – Joh 3:5; 1Pe 3:21; Gal 3:26-27) and we maintain our salvation (or marriage to Jesus) through faithful obedience to all of His commands (Luk 10:25-28).

 

OBJECTIONS: 1) why this matters = Gal 1:6-9; Jud 1:3-4; “If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity” – Albert Einstein,

2) what to keep in mind = Gal 4:16; Psa 19:7 w/Pro 30:5; Isa 8:20; 2Ti 3:15; “If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong” – Richard Feynman (e.g., Mormons do more missions/mercy work than any other religious organization, yet b/c what they believe does not hold up to all of Scripture, they are sending themselves and others to hell).

 

“To defeat relativity , one does not need 100 scientists, but just one fact.” – Albert Einstein

 

“To defeat MCG one does not need 100 Evangelicals, but just one solid proof from Scripture.”

 

What we have encountered thus far: talked to many pastors/Bible teachers, none could refute us, and several (secretly) agreed that we were right (e.g., Dave Anderson of Littleton Bible Chapel).

 

Objection #1. Works/obedience to the Law are not part of justification/salvation (Rom 3:28, 10:4).

1.1. Mac’s Hammer: 1) works are necessary to saving faith (Jam 2:14-26), 2) saving faith is necessary to salvation (Jam 2:14), Conclusion: works are therefore necessary to salvation.

1.2. Bipartite view of the Law: 1) Both James and Paul are dealing with justification (salvation), 2) The “works” James refers to are necessary to salvation (Jam 2:24) whereas the works Paul refers to are not (Rom 3:28), Conclusion: the NT teaches two types of Law/works, one that is necessary to salvation (moral commands = Rom 13:8-10) and one that is not (“works of the law” = Rom 3:28, 10:4 [i.e., OC clean laws: circumcision, animal sacrifices, Sabbath days, separation from the unclean).

1.3. Bipartite view of Justification: 1) Both James and Paul speak of justification in relation to Abraham, 2) the justification Paul speaks about in relation to Abraham happens at the point of faith (Rom 4:1-3 w/Gen 15:6) whereas the justification James speaks about in relation to Abraham happens after he proves his faithfulness (Jam 2:21-23 w/Gen 22:1-18), Conclusion: the NT teaches two types of justification/salvation, one that happens at the point of our faith and another that happens only after we have lived in faithful obedience.

 

Objection #2. Works are the inevitable result of saving faith/work of the Holy Spirit (versus another condition of our salvation)/Christ obeyed for us (Phi 1:6; Mat 5:17)

2.1. The works God requires for salvation are communicated as commands to us – not the Holy Spirit (e.g., Eph 5:22).

2.2. The NT is filled with threats to real Christians who fail to be faithful (e.g., Heb 10:26-30, 12:14; 1Co 6:9; Gal 5:5, 21; 2Ti 2:12)

2.3. The Holy Spirit is never communicated as the Doer of our obedience, but rather as the Helper to those who endeavor to obey God (Joh 14:16; Act 5:32)

2.4. God’s promise to finish the work He started (Phi 1:6) is simply a confirmation of faithfulness to His covenant vow to be our God and us His people (Jer 31:33). IOW: to continue to provide what we need to make it to heaven as long as we remain faithful to our covenant vows to obey His commands (hence why Paul follows Phi 1:6 w/2:12-16; See also 2Pe 1:3-11; 2Ti 2:11-13, 19).

2.5. Nowhere in the Bible does it ever teach Christ obeyed the Law for us – including Mat 5:17 (See Mat 5:18-20 = If Christ were referring to fulfilling the Law for us in v17, then these verses make no sense –or what follows in the remainder of the chapter vv21-48. It also is a direct violation of His words in v17 and there OT origin – Deu 18:18-20 – and God’s Law – Eze 18:1-32; See also Isa 2:1-3 = Messiah would teach God’s Law to the people).

 

Objection #3: We cannot be perfect, if we can lose our salvation due to disobedience, we would all lose it (Rom 3:10-18; Isa 64:6).

3.1. The standard is faithfulness not perfection and is something that all people can do—even those who did not have the help of the Holy Spirit (Deu 28:1-2 w/30:11-14). Hence also the reason God gave the sacrifices/Christ – to cleanse us when we fail (if perfection was all God would accept why the institution of the sacrifices before – and as a part of giving the Law?).

3.2. God hates those who say that can’t do it since this makes them victims and Him unjust in His judgment (Eze 18:1-32).

3.3. Scripture is filled w/examples of people who were faithful in their obedience to God (e.g., Gen 6:9; Neh 9:8; Psa 18:20; Luk 1:6).

3.4. Rom 3 and Isa 64 are in reference to people committed to folly, evil, violent rebellion and wickedness – or those whose life is characterized not by faithfulness to God’s commands but to practicing iniquity, injustice and what is unholy (for Rom 3:10-18 see Psa 14:1-3, 53:1-3; Psa 5:9, 140:3; Psa 10:7; Isa 59:7f; Psa 36:1; for Isa 64:6 see Isa 64:1-5 “we sinned [and continued in them] for a long time”).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Objection #4: This is a works-based salvation that gives glory to man rather than God (Eph 2:8-9).

4.1. The Bible nowhere teaches a works-based salvation yet has always taught the necessity of faithful obedience (e.g., Luk 10:25-28 w/Lev 18:5; Joh 4:22 = The mechanics of our salvation is the same as their salvation).

4.2. Marriage requires covenant fidelity to remain intact (e.g., Jer 3:1-3 w/Isa 50:1-2). Yet no one ever thinks they are earning their marriage through such faithfulness (e.g., “honey I was faithful today and have earned three kisses”). Rather the blessings afforded to us at the time we gave our marital vows and gained our marriages remain abundantly available to us as long as we remain faithful to our vows (of obedience/fidelity).

4.3. There is no glory taken from God (or given to us) when we obey (as a necessity of our salvation). Rather we are just making good on what we originally vowed – i.e., doing what those purchased by God ought to do as their obligation to their Master (Luk 17:1-10).

4.4. Eph 2:8-9 are in reference to the lack of boasting that exists for all those who have come into saving covenant relationship w/Christ since the ability to gain such a relationship was only made possible because of God’s decision to show us mercy and Christ’s decision to die for our sins (See Eph 2:1-7). Before that, we were “without hope and without God.” (Eph 2:11-12). Interestingly enough, it is this “grace” (and lack of boasting) that establishes our obligation to obey (“grace” = Ancient term implying reciprocity. In ancient times all gifts were covenantal and establishing a relationship of reciprocity. No ancient society existed where grace was given with “no strings attached” [See Marcel Mauss, The gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Socieities; John Barclay, Paul and the Gift. e.g., Gen 21:23 [hesed] = grace]; Rom 13:8-10 w/Eph 2:10 “prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” = We must reciprocate on God’s gift of grace through obedience to the Law [what God prepared beforehand]; e.g., Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant, “[This covenant] demands a result not an appeasement”; The false gospel is known by its abuse of grace in this respect [i.e., no reciprocation – Jud 1:4]).

 

Objection #5: Christ’s death was needless or insufficient if we still need to obey (practice justice) or can lose our salvation (Gal 2:21; Joh 6:39)

5.1. Jesus’ death was propitiatory not penal. IOW: He did not come to remove our need to obey/practice justice. If He did then why: 1) do we still die?, 2) still need to repent of our sins (1Jo 1:9 = No such thing as “your sins are all forgiven, past, present and future”), 3) is there nowhere in the Bible that states Jesus was punished (paid justice) for our sins? (IOW: God is not the cosmic child-abuser, Evangelicals make Him out to be) 4) are the OT lambs never spoken of as being punished?

5.2. Propitiation (cleansing the stain of sin away) has always been necessary for gaining justification and Christ perfectly accomplished this mission (“It is finished” – Joh 19:30) as proven by His resurrection (Rom 4:25). Yet what has also always been necessary is that those receiving such propitiation, practice justice (faithful obedience) to continue receiving it (i.e., maintain what they have already gained).

5.3. Paul’s statement in (Gal 2:21) is in regard to gaining justification not maintaining it (See Gal 2:15-20: 1] we gain justification not thru observing the OC clean laws [“works of the law”] but faith in Christ [15-16], 2] gaining justification by faith in Christ does not give us a license to sin. We must maintain that justification just as they did under the OC, thru dying/submitting to God’s/Christ’s laws [17-20]).

5.4. Jesus promises to never lose us (those given by the Father) (Joh 6:39), but we still possess a free will and can decide to leave Him (lose our salvation) through unwillingness to obey/disobedience (i.e., not fulfilling our covenant vows of obedience) (Joh 6:66 “disciples” = Those baptized into a saving covenant relationship w/Jesus [(Mat 28:19) = Notice what follows gaining salvation/becoming a disciple, the maintenance of obedience (v20).

 

Objection #6: Marriage is a metaphor only

6.1. Metaphors can explain or express but never dictate or justify the actions of a person.

6.2. God (Jesus) justifies His actions (or the actions of His disciples) based on the principles governing marriage and the rights of the marital spouse (Isa 50:1 = I had the right to divorce/sell you b/c or your covenant disobedience; Jer 3:1 w/Deu 24:1-4; Eze 16:8-16, 32; Hos 2:1-13; Mat 9:14-15 = Disciples are justified in not fasting b/c the Bridegroom is present).

 

Objection #7: No historical support for the MCG (or view of gain and maintain).

“[According to the early Christians] the second stage of salvation is this: we must maintain our saved condition by holding fast to our faith in living obedience to Christ’s commandments. Please understand we are already saved, we are not doing these things to earn salvation. We do these things to maintain our already saved condition.” – David Bercot (What the Early Christians Believed About Salvation).