Insufficient Evidence?

Edward Weaver by angus mcdiarmid

 

If you were accused of the crime of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

 

‘If you are ashamed of me before men, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.’   (paraphrased  Mark 8:38)

 

 

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33 Responses

  1. An interesting post from you Steve –

    Question(s) –

    What charges would be necessary to convict a person of being a Christian?

    How many charges (or enough evidence) would be required to lock a person up for being a Christian?

    Who doing the charging and who will be doing the sentencing?

  2. I’m not certain from Steve’s background but from the piestistic baptist realm, part of which my wife and are from that this phrase is used a lot and generally meaning: “Are you exhibiting enough of the ‘fruits of the faith’ (read: house rules) to be convicted”. And its use is ALWAYS as a “law” stick to whip up the congregation to some favored action by the “pastor” and/or more active “Christians” as opposed to the “nominal Christians”. With the final implication of, “If you don’t get busy like us, then well you must not be saved/justified/reborn/elect…ad nauseum…” A rathe favored expression that goes side by side with it is, “No fruits no justification”.

  3. I saw the hook ….that’s why I posed questions back.

    So what does a follower of Christ look like?

    What makes them set apart from the world?

    “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” 1 Thes 1:5,6

    What/who were they imitating and why?

    Imitating Paul because they were new creatures in Christ?

    What did that look like?

    Were they changed? Was it evident? Evident to whom?

    Did Paul notice they were changed? How different were they now than before they were saved?

    How could he know this?

    I’ve always rejected the implication and the non-Scriptural theory that when God saves someone He leaves them as they were; looking and acting just like the world.

    I’m under firm conviction supported by Scripture that when a person is born-again he is a new creature in Christ bearing fruits worthy of repentance.

    “There is no justification without sanctification, no forgiveness without renewal of life, no real faith from which the fruits of new obedience do not grow.”

    M. Luther

    This is why Paul exhorts us to examine ourselves to see if we are indeed in the faith.

  4. It’s funny how people can be offended by this question. Jesus said that if we loved Him we would obey Him. And that presumption is that if we don’t love Him we won’t obey Him. He had no qualms about telling us that. And when we’re loving Christ, thus obeying Him, that will have to show in how we live, what we say, our attitudes, our motives, etc. There will be fruit. Fruit grows on a tree for everyone to see. It is not hidden.

    To judge the motive of a heart of someone who is challenging fellow believers in their walk is a cynical and dangerous thing to do. Some people posing this question may have less than pure motives, but many simply want to encourage a new perspective on our personal walks, so that we can see if we’re walking forward or backward. I don’t really believe we can stand still.

    The US is becoming more and more anti-Christian. There is still persecution of believers in the form of torture and death in many countries throughout the world and we don’t know where our country will end up. It could soon become a hate crime to preach against homosexuality in the church. Will that scare some into compromising in their teaching of the truth? Or will they, will we, stand strong in our beliefs and convictions no matter the consequences the world around us threatens?

    I remember a student at Columbine who was asked by her killer just before he shot her whether or not she was a Christian. She had a choice: deny Him and live, or confess Him, be judged by the boy and be killed. She did the latter. By him, she was convicted of being a Christian.

    None of us knows what we’ll face. But if we don’t choose to stand strong for God now, no matter the circumstances, we may live to be ashamed when we stand before Him after this life.

    Dorci

  5. That’s the thing. One can quote Luther saying, “There is no justification without sanctification, no forgiveness without renewal of life, no real faith from which the fruits of new obedience do not grow.”

    And so they conclude and use this as a “law wedge” to cause things to get going. But they do not understand neither Luther nor Paul nor Christ, nor do they understand true faith, true good works nor true sanctification. The whole point is the tree bears the fruit (which one cannot cause nor motivate by any form of the law), what Luther is saying is that it is a statement of reality, not statement of motivation.

    E.g. you cannot take Paul or Luther, using above, “There is no justification without sanctification, no forgiveness without renewal of life, no real faith from which the fruits of new obedience do not grow.” And make it motivational, in fact to do so is actually in utter opposition to Christ and Scripture. To read Luther in this quote saying this motivates for so called good works is to miss Luther and that quote entirely. That’s not what Luther is even saying in this quote, he’s quoting reality not motivating.

    Typical Calvin, Wesley, Rome is this:

    Where there is life and sanctification there is salvation.

    That’s exactly the opposite of Christ, Paul and Luther who say:

    Where there is salvation there is life and sanctification.

    Now one can quote ANY thing, Scripture, Luther, etc…and read it through the lens of “Where there is life and sanctification there is salvation”. This would be the “twice the son of hell”.

    Or one can read the quotes through the lens of the Gospel of “Where there is salvation there is life and sanctification”, the release the Gospel brings that literally frees for good works and sanctification. The former is to remain in utter bondage, having neither faith, life, good works or sanctification. Pietist, fallen religion, never gets this, it utterly fears freedom and thinks it can motivate by fear of punishment or hope of reward which is very the heart and essence of sin itself, the inward turning.

    It’s the difference in describing the good fruit tree and attempting to motivate to be a good fruit tree which is quite impossible. The later is anything but what it attempts to do. This a lesson few learn and many never get because their wills are in fact bound in this way.

    I’m constantly astounding when I see Christians who don’t try to be Christians are doing the most that actually shows them to be Christians, true fruit. They don’t give a crap how it’s working out for them, they trust Christ, and do their job. Yet conversely amongst the pietist “Christians” I see trying to be Christians are doing lots of external things, many good, but bearing no fruit whatsoever that they are Christians. Their sense of panic in fact bears fruit that Christ is nearly not enough. And the very real paradox of it all. If you question the fruit of the true Christian, he/she does not become at all concerned over it, get angry or defensive. If you question the fruit of the pietist he/she blows up in your face and becomes enraged about it that you would even question it revealing its false fruit and just as damnable as if he/she were to commit murder and adultery a thousand times a day. In fact Luther said just that, ““If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.”
    To many pietist are nothing more than pretend sinners bring pretend sin to be pretend forgiven and have no sense whatsoever of their real sin. That’s why they talk incessantly about themselves and their sanctification and what they need to be doing, they speak of I and I and I and I, what “I am doing, need to be doing ad nausem” it is painfully obvious who they are glorifying constantly only decorating it with Scripture so as to sanctify the whole enterprise. Yet the humble Christian makes much of Christ what He did and does and not themselves.

    What you speak of is what you glorify ultimately, and what you glorify in your speech is in fact your real god in spite of a formal confession when asked for the “right question with the known right answer”. And when the speech by the laity or the pastor is mostly if not entirely “what I am, what I need to be doing, my sanctification…ad nausem…” with a bone thrown to Jesus now and then to sanctify the speech, then it is clear your god is you. But when Christ is spoken of the most and what He did, it is equally clear whose God He is.

    To a Christian, a neighbor is a neighbor, they just help them and don’t worry about the book keeping. To a pietist, a neighbor is a project to help them become more holy and sanctified. That’s why Jesus said that the Christian will say at judgment concerning his/her good works, “Lord, when did I help you…”, shocked that they had. But the pietist will demand and argue, “Lord, when were you there that I didn’t help you…”. The pietist will boast in his projects, the Christian will boast in Christ. The pietist will insist “here’s my proofs”, the Christian will be in utter shock. Why is the pietist shocked and boasting in his/her projects? Because that’s their god. Why is the Christian shocked he/she did anything for Christ? Because his/her heart, mind, strength and soul is fixed upon Christ alone and his/her good works come as undetected aurora of THAT faith. And that reality, indicative, is what Luther was saying, and Paul , and Christ.

    L

  6. Dorci,

    You must be careful here for a martyrs faith does not come until it needs to so that the strength of it comes from God alone. There’s a story of a believer about to be burned at the stake, apparently a true story, and the night before he is using his candle to see if he can endure the pain and not deny Christ. So he keeps trying to hold his hand over the flame and of course fails. This drives him to pray to Christ and long story short, he is burned at the stake confessing Christ.

    We see this in Peter, when Peter told Jesus He would not die, drew his sword in his own strength to defend Jesus and later said, “No not me Lord I won’t leave you”, Jesus did not hail this as good. In fact Jesus called Peter Satan, put your sword away and “Peter, Peter Satan has asked to sift you as wheat (and shall do so easily)”. And again Peter denies Christ in Galatians invoking the rebuke of Paul. BUT when Peter is strengthened in the right way, Christ for him, then Peter bears witness to Christ in truth.

    Beware of men’s natural strength, some just simply are not afraid to die, some of us have that natural strength and can endure death, even pagans do this. There’s a difference in a humble strength given at the time of martyrdom like that young girl and all the saints of old, and around the world today – and self styled engendered strength that is nothing but a devil’s martyr. Luther points out the devil has his martyrs too.

    Your,

    Larry

  7. “If you were accused of the crime of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” (Steve)

    In all honesty, no. What evidence could they haul out to convict a person of such a crime? I don’t hold a seat as a church leader of any sort. I don’t really have any religious icons in my home (except the bible). I don’t attend a church. What exact proof would they be looking for in this conviction?

    The only thing I would have is my personal confession and that’s about it – unless they go by works then maybe I might be convicted of be a nice person. If the confession is warrant enough for the conviction then I guess I would be guilty (and a confession in court would be ample I suppose).

    But then if they start naming off a set of orthodox beliefs as proof – well – I would be let go again.

  8. I understand what you are saying, but I think it’s a matter of perspective. If we aren’t interested in obeying Christ, then it becomes law to do so. But if we have died to ourselves and given our very lives to Him, then doing anything for Him, even if my flesh doesn’t want to, becomes a privilege and an honor.

    Paul said in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.”

    Over and over in the bible believers are called to live out their faith. We are not zombies who stand still and do nothing. God gave us minds and the ability to choose what to do with our lives, whether to serve him or not.

    We are to sacrifice our lives to God every day in all we do and say. That attitude of sacrifice, or lack of it, will carry over to any moment we may be called to literally sacrifice ourselves. The sad thing is, the devil may have more willing to be martyred in his name that Jesus Christ has who would be martyred in His Name.

    Yes, there are many who would do what they believe to be good works in Jesus’ name, but in reality, who are not. Those are the “religious” ones (those with no real relationship with Christ) whom Jesus says He will have to tell that he never really knew.

    But that should not, and does not keep those of us who really are living for God to do what He calls us to do. We are His body and we have been given gifts, and those gifts are to be used. If we sit on our hands instead, we are wasting a God-given gift.

    Yes, God will work in us the desire to do His will. And once He does, what will we do with that? Are we being responsible to “be transformed by the renewing of {our} minds”?

    Are we being salt to a dying world? Are we being light to a darkened world?

    Tit 3:8 “Faithful is the Word, and as to these things, I desire that you strongly affirm that those believing God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”

    This one I think is appropriate to the original question, “Heb 10:23-24 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for He is faithful who promised), and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works,”

    We should be encouraging each other to keep on fighting the good fight – to keep speaking the truth, to keep spreading the gospel according to the gift we have been given.

    James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

    Works is the natural outpouring of our faith. I don’t want my faith to be lukewarm or milktoast. I love my Lord and my perspective is not of *having* to serve God, but of *getting* to serve Him. I am blessed that He would accept me through His Son and anything He calls me to do I am honored to do so.

    James 2:17 “Even so, if it does not have works, faith is dead, being by itself. But someone will say, You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith from my works.”

    (I am not a Lutheran, btw, just so ya know that what I say comes strictly out of my understanding of the bible, not from what Lutheran said.)

  9. Yes, it’s the confession that makes us “guilty.” Confession of Christ is all that is needed in many countries to be killed.

  10. The Christian life is a life of receiving. Jesus said abide in my love.

    How do you do that? By keeping His commandments. Don’t get distracted by the word commandments. If I say mandates, will that help? Mandates. “If you keep, cling to, hold fast to, my mandates, you will abide in my love. What does this mean? We could paraphrase it this way: As you live your Baptism, hear my Word, eat and drink my Body and Blood, you will abide in my love for you. Those are His mandates. That’s why they are so important. Not as commands to make God love us, but as means by which we abide in His love which is always there.

    So in the receiving of the above gifts we remain in Jesus’ agape. While remaining in his love the works come flowing out in fruits of the Spirit.

    Lord Jesus. We are by nature sinners. You know this and for this reason you came, lived, died and rose again for us. May those around us see you living through us. Amen

  11. Amen Dorci!

    Those are the biblical answers to all my questions!

    That is exactly what Paul saw in the believers when he wrote to the Thessalonians.

    “Works is the natural outpouring of our faith. I don’t want my faith to be lukewarm or milktoast. I love my Lord and my perspective is not of *having* to serve God, but of *getting* to serve Him. I am blessed that He would accept me through His Son and anything He calls me to do I am honored to do so.”

    That is the key that most miss right there……getting to as opposed to having to.

    I get to serve! I get to tithe! I get to witness His good news! I get to read the Scriptures! I get to go to church!

    ____________________________________

    “We see this in Peter, when Peter told Jesus He would not die, drew his sword in his own strength to defend Jesus and later said, “No not me Lord I won’t leave you”,

    And Peter never did once he was full of the Holy Spirit…He became a passionate preacher of the gospel!!

    Sure, Larry, anyone can find a quote. I used that one of Luthers to make a point about the obvious change that Paul saw in the new believers.

    I’m not under law but grace…I have been saved by a good God who has shown mercy on me! I can’t help but to read His Word and share His news….if I didn’t I would bust!

    “I’m constantly astounding when I see Christians who don’t try to be Christians are doing the most that actually shows them to be Christians, true fruit. They don’t give a crap how it’s working out for them, they trust Christ, and do their job. Yet conversely amongst the pietist “Christians” I see trying to be Christians are doing lots of external things, many good, but bearing no fruit whatsoever that they are Christians. Their sense of panic in fact bears fruit that Christ is nearly not enough. And the very real paradox of it all. If you question the fruit of the true Christian, he/she does not become at all concerned over it, get angry or defensive. If you question the fruit of the pietist he/she blows up in your face and becomes enraged about it that you would even question it revealing its false fruit and just as damnable as if he/she were to commit murder and adultery a thousand times a day. ”

    If this was an accusation towards me I just had to laugh it off! I’m certainly not mad……lol….those questions I asked were honest questions that need an answer concerning what Paul saw in those believers.

    It would be better to have a face to face conversation because typed words never express the real emotion of what is being said; yours included!

    I guess I’m astounded when I see folks living a passive Christianity.

    Where is the joy of being saved?

    Do things go wrong in my life? Yup, all the time…doesn’t steal my joy!

    I’ve been in horrible pain most of this year due to a kidney disease (two lithotripsy’s and one more to go)…doesn’t steal my joy at all!

    Wife lost her job back in Feb. and we are struggling on one income..doesn’t steal my joy!

    Geez…this life is but a vapor and I have salvation…how awesome is that!!

    Go ahead guy’s…..raise your hands up towards God and praise Him with a mighty shout!

    We won’t tell anyone which denomination you associate with 😉

  12. Some of you may agree or disagree with this!

    http://centralityofthegospel.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/the-gospel-and-law/

  13. Wayne,

    >“And Peter never did once he was full of the Holy Spirit…He became a passionate preacher of the gospel!!”>

    That’s not accurate Wayne. He did so post full of the Holy Spirit in Galatia as Paul CLEARLY points out. As even RC Sproul once said, this was just as much a denial of Christ as it was when he did it and the cock crowed three times.

    You still are not understanding, let’s try it this way; Luther said that not in the way you are expressing of him or Paul. It is NOT a motivational expression, it is an indicative expression. They are not saying it so you will “go and try to do it”, they are saying this indicates. Rather what Jesus, Paul and Luther are saying in like sayings is like saying, “This is a duck”, and I describe duckness. But NONE of that description is to induce a duck to be or to be more duck like, for he is already a duck, nor is or does it take a snake and make it a duck if the snake hears my description of a duck and says, “I shall try that so I can be a duck”. That’s the point you are missing with Jesus, Paul and Luther on this issue, faith, good works, and fruit of that faith. The fruit comes from the tree and the tree is created ex nihilo by the giving of the good news, “you are fogiven”. That’s why Luther said in contradistinction to Calvin, Wesley and Rome, “Where there IS forgiveness, there is also life and salvation”. Not vice versa, which is how you are using them. What you quoted of Luther is Luther describing, indicating, a Christian, like describing and indicating a duck. It in no way does nor can cause it to happen nor increase it…it all must come from the absolution of the Gospel and no where else.
    Furthermore, Paul’s increasing confession as he aged in the faith was an increasing sight of being a sinner. In fact his very last written Words were a very present tense, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” (1 Tim. 1:15)

    There’s never been a disagreement there. But it must be the Gospel and not another gospel, not a “here you go” with the right hand, and a, “I’ll have that back” with the left hand. THAT is another gospel!

    Paul never encourages by the Law, but by the Gospel, there’s always an “in view of” or “therefore” or “since”. That’s the difference in Luther and Scripture versus pietism in all its forms, where there is forgiveness there is life and salvation. Not where there is life and salvation there is forgiveness. Same words used one is just upside down to the other, the essence of fallen religion is to reverse the loves and the Word of God. Satan often inverts the Word of God.

    What you perceive as passive may mean only your judgment according to the law and your false opinion of what vocation is. I know many Christians who go to work day to day in their callings and distribute the gifts of God to this dying and suffering world. It’s not the pietistic BS flares and fire works that false religion demands, but the very humble and subtle works. See you fail to see that even something as little as eating and sleeping is a good work and sign of faith, if you cannot see that then you can in no way understand true good works especially the best of them. A mother changes her baby’s diaper, is a fruit of faith, the milk maid milking her cow, a man sweeping up a straw, a fast food cook feeding others their lunch, sleeping, eating. These you fail to see. Love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness…are not enumerations of things to do, they are signatures and natures of a faith that manifests itself in various ways. Peace and joy and patience for example may manifest itself by eating, sleeping or being a doctor, missions, etc… Yet unbelief may manifest itself in the pietism of evangelism, missions and church yard duties. Where ever it is explicitly or implicitly communicated that Christ is NOT nearly enough, “where there is forgiveness (first and always) there is life and salvation (secondarily)”, that is unbelief. Unbelief may even have a smile on its face! You see in order to be a FRUIT you have to have a cause, a fruit is not a cause but an effect of something that precedes it and that is “forgiveness of sins”. Thus, if for real fruit is not apparent you cannot say, “You need to show more fruit”, because that only will inflame and cause unbelief and thus false fruit. This is utterly asinine! Fruit, an effect by definition, has to have a cause and the Law cannot cause. The Law points to that which it cannot cause. The Gospel, says Paul, is the power of life.

    Thus, what you see, as I understand your descriptions, as passive Christianity is more than likely real Christianity, a theology of the Cross, and what you assess as “christianity” is nothing less than a theology of glory or antichrist.

    Luther’s proof, Thesis 21:
    A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.

    This is clear: He who does not know Christ does not know God hidden in suffering. Therefore he prefers works to suffering, glory to the cross, strength to weakness, wisdom to folly, and, in general, good to evil. These are the people whom the apostle calls “enemies of the cross of Christ” [Phil. 3:18], for they hate the cross and suffering and love works and the glory of works. Thus they call the good of the cross evil and the evil of a deed good. God can be found only in suffering and the cross, as has already been said. Therefore the friends of the cross say that the cross is good and works are evil, for through the cross works are destroyed and the old Adam, who is especially edified by works, is crucified. It is impossible for a person not to be puffed up by his good works unless he has first been deflated and destroyed by suffering and evil until he knows that he is worthless and that his works are not his but God’s.
    A theologian of glory calls suffering evil while he calls works good. In fact, he works to avoid suffering. And if he is afflicted with adversity, he concludes that he failed in his works. One of the most difficult problems for theologians has been the problem of evil. Why does an all-powerful, all-loving God allow evil to exist in this world? Theologians and philosophers include many things in that category they call evil: disaster, crime, war, disease, abuse, and all manner of misfortune. So much is suffering identified with evil that it should follow that a beneficent God is not to be blamed for such occurrences. If God is good, then bad things cannot be of God.

    It’s every where, you just fail to recognize it because you don’t actually see the real signs of it. You are missing it in this conversation and don’t even realize it because you are bedazzled by good works. I mean that not as a put down, I’m trying to get you to step back to a different perspective, a Gospel perspective and see this. You see you will note in all my conversation before and here I am NOT saying proofs are absent. In fact I’m saying a lot that they are, they are just not what you think they are. You will note that I’m talking MUCH about real and true good works, yet you hear me saying “no good works”. Why is that? Because you are doing what Luther said, “many will speak much of good works and faith and actually know neither one of them”. You don’t see them and you don’t hear me saying what I’m obviously saying, that they are there, because you don’t know what they actually are. Why? Because you define good works per the opinion of the law through fallen man’s understanding, not the Gospel.

    I hope that helps some.

    Yours,

    Larry

  14. I used to think about this because pietists asked me in Sunday School. Of course in Lutheranism we have this invisible faith thing that makes us question whether the guy next to us confessing the creed is really a Christian. (At least among the pietists). But we do have this notion that you cannot really know that the person next to you really believes. He might just be trying to sell insurance. So I always thought no, and would be quite preterbed at the Sunday school teacher for asking me these stupid questions.
    However, reading the history of the church, especially Eusebius, you would be surprised how little evidence needs be to convict when Satan grabs hold of a regime. Thing is I don’t think half the people that ever asked me that question would have the fortitude to be convicted.

  15. “But it must be the Gospel and not another gospel, not a “here you go” with the right hand, and a, “I’ll have that back” with the left hand. THAT is another gospel!”

    I’ve never said that Larry. I hope I didn’t imply that.

    “It’s every where, you just fail to recognize it because you don’t actually see the real signs of it. You are missing it in this conversation and don’t even realize it because you are bedazzled by good works. I mean that not as a put down, I’m trying to get you to step back to a different perspective, a Gospel perspective and see this. You see you will note in all my conversation before and here I am NOT saying proofs are absent. In fact I’m saying a lot that they are, they are just not what you think they are. You will note that I’m talking MUCH about real and true good works, yet you hear me saying “no good works”. Why is that? Because you are doing what Luther said, “many will speak much of good works and faith and actually know neither one of them”. You don’t see them and you don’t hear me saying what I’m obviously saying, that they are there, because you don’t know what they actually are. Why? Because you define good works per the opinion of the law through fallen man’s understanding, not the Gospel.”

    You could not be more wrong.

    I define good works as what flows out of me through the grace of God…not of me; not of the law certainly!

    Dorci sums all this up in her first paragraph –

    “I understand what you are saying, but I think it’s a matter of perspective. If we aren’t interested in obeying Christ, then it becomes law to do so. But if we have died to ourselves and given our very lives to Him, then doing anything for Him, even if my flesh doesn’t want to, becomes a privilege and an honor.”

    Perfect!

    Larry, when God saved me He radically changed me. I don’t ‘do’ what I do out of a demand of the law but because of the grace of God in me (and that not of myself).

    “You are missing it in this conversation and don’t even realize it because you are bedazzled by good works. I mean that not as a put down, I’m trying to get you to step back to a different perspective, a Gospel perspective and see this.”

    I know what you mean and am not offended by the statement…but, again, you can’t be more wrong.

    I not starstruck over works, it’s just a natural outflow of grace within me. I can’t stop it and I can’t help doing the works God has called me to do.

    What I can’t stop and what I can’t help to do materializes itself in an outward observance of godly fruit that is evident in this believer.

    True godly fruit is not through the fear of the law but through the grace of God!!

    Peace!

    • “You could not be more wrong.”

      You could not be more wrong!

    • “I not starstruck over works, it’s just a natural outflow of grace within me. I can’t stop it and I can’t help doing the works God has called me to do.”

      The Pharisee went up to the temple and prayed, “I thank you God (giving God credit for the grace) that I am not like this tax collector and sinner over here, I go do this and that and I tithe everything of mine”. But the tax collector could not even lift his eyes toward heaven and said, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner”. “The later”, said Jesus, “was justified.

      The mistake most make about this is to not see it as a constant in the Christian life, but rather some initial conversion.

      And grace, my dear friend, is not a power to be tapped in order to “do good works”, it is nothing less or more than the very forgiveness of sin.

      Luther’s proof, Thesis 22:

      That wisdom which sees the invisible things of God in works as perceived by man is completely puffed up, blinded, and hardened.

      This has already been said. Because men do not know the cross and hate it, they necessarily love the opposite, namely, wisdom, glory, power, and so on. Therefore they become increasingly blinded and hardened by such love, for desire cannot be satisfied by the acquisition of those things which it desires. Just as the love of money grows in proportion to the increase of the money itself, so the dropsy of the soul becomes thirstier the more it drinks, as the poet says: “The more water they drink, the more they thirst for it.” The same thought is expressed in Eccles. 1[:8]: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” This holds true of all desires.

      Thus also the desire for knowledge is not satisfied by the acquisition of wisdom but is stimulated that much more. Likewise the desire for glory is not satisfied by the acquisition of glory, nor is the desire to rule satisfied by power and authority, nor is the desire for praise satisfied by praise, and so on, as Christ shows in John 4[:13], where he says, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again.”

      The remedy for curing desire does not lie in satisfying it, but in extinguishing it. In other words, he who wishes to become wise does not seek wisdom by progressing toward it but becomes a fool by retrogressing into seeking folly. Likewise he who wishes to have much power, honor, pleasure, satisfaction in all things must flee rather than seek power, honor, pleasure, and satisfaction in all things. This is the wisdom which is folly to the world.

      Worldly wisdom involves a false perception of the value of works, a vanity with a thirst for glory that can never be sated. Jesus said, “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst.” (John 4:14) An effort to achieve righteousness through law and works only puffs us up, blinds us, and hardens us. “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” (Phil. 3:18-19)

      Luther’s proof, Thesis 25:

      He is not righteous who does much, but he who, without work, believes much in Christ.

      For the righteousness of God is not acquired by means of acts frequently repeated, as Aristotle taught, but it is imparted by faith, for “He who through faith is righteous shall live” (Rom. 1[:17]), and “Man believes with his heart and so is justified” (Rom. 10[:10]). Therefore I wish to have the words “without work” understood in the following manner: Not that the righteous person does nothing, but that his works do not make him righteous, rather that his righteousness creates works. For grace and faith are infused without our works. After they have been imparted the works follow. Thus Rom. 3[:20] states, “No human being will be justified in His sight by works of the law,” and, “For we hold that man is justified by faith apart from works of law” (Rom. 3[:28]). In other words, works contribute nothing to justification. Therefore man knows that works which he does by such faith are not his but God’s. For this reason he does not seek to become justified or glorified through them, but seeks God. His justification by faith in Christ is sufficient to him. Christ is his wisdom, righteousness, etc., as 1 Cor. 1[:30] has it, that he himself may be Christ’s action and instrument.

      This thesis is a statement of justification by faith alone. Works avail nothing. Only those who believe much in Christ are righteous before God. In his proof, Luther cites Aristotle, who wrote, “Anything that we have to learn to do we learn by the actual doing of it: people become builders by building, and instrumentalists by playing instruments. Similarly, we become just by performing just acts, temperate by performing temperate ones, and brave by performing brave ones.” (Ethics 92) Aristotle here articulates worldly wisdom (Luther’s philosophical theses are directed at Aristotelian premises, which are contrary to the theology of the cross). But “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Rom. 10:17) We come to faith passively, through the work of God in us, just as we do good works passively, in the work of God through us. “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” (Rom. 7:4) In his Operationes in Psalmos, Luther wrote:

      Wherever the holy scriptures command good works to be done, understand that it forbids you to do any good work by yourself, because you cannot; but to keep a holy Sabbath unto God, that is, a rest from all your works, and that you become dead and buried and permit God to work in you.”

      “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” (Rom. 4:5)

      Luther’s proof, Thesis 26:

      The law says, “Do this,” and it is never done. Grace says, “believe in this,” and everything is already done.

      The first part is clear from what has been stated by the Apostle and his interpreter, St. Augustine, in many places. And it has been stated often enough above that the law works wrath and keeps all men under the curse. The second part is clear from the same sources, for faith justifies. “And the law (says St. Augustine) commands what faith obtains.” For through faith Christ is in us, indeed, one with us. Christ is just and has fulfilled all the commands of God, wherefore we also fulfill everything through him since he was made ours through faith.

      The law cannot bring into being that which it commands. Paul wrote, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 3:20) And: “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:3-4) And: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom. 10:4) Paradoxically, what the law requires is freedom from the law.

      Christ has fulfilled all things and, through faith, we are at one with Him. “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39) Paul wrote, “A man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” (Gal. 2:16)

  16. “I not starstruck over works, it’s just a natural outflow of grace within me. I can’t stop it and I can’t help doing the works God has called me to do.

    What I can’t stop and what I can’t help to do materializes itself in an outward observance of godly fruit that is evident in this believer.

    True godly fruit is not through the fear of the law but through the grace of God!!”
    waynedawg, I have missed most of this conversation. I just read this last little part. I want to tell you the way you are talking contradicts what you are saying. You say you aren’t start struck. I don’t know. But it comes off a little like bragging about them, and dangerously attaching the grace of God to them, when you say they are just an outflow of the grace of God in me. I can’t stop them.
    Read Roman’s chapter 7, see if Paul had that same experience. He didn’t seem to think he could do them.
    Its a paradox, but it is kind of like the fact that you know you are doing them, reveals that you have deceived yourself concerning how good they are.
    When you attach them to grace the way you have above, it becomes very dangerous. Good works do flow from grace, because the only thing that makes them good is the blood of Christ. Without his blood covering them and forgiving them they are vile, no matter how good they might look. With Gods Grace they are good no matter how menial and boring they look to us. But what happens to grace when you think of your works in they way you seem to be proposing and have a Romans 7 day?
    I’ll tell you. You begin to swirl. First is false belief. “my works are great and nothing but a manifistation of God’s Grace with in me.” a couple days later you wake up and realize that you have made a shamble of your life, or done something really bad to someone else. You begin to despair you don’t see the “good” works that were a manifistation of God’s grace, his turning your life around. what happened? “Has God withdrawn his grace from me?” and not the other great shames and vices rear their head, because if I’m going to hell I may as well go having fun.
    That may or may not happen to you. But when you talk that way, and pass it off as the Christian life, you send others down that way if not yourself.

  17. “We should be encouraging each other to keep on fighting the good fight – to keep speaking the truth, to keep spreading the gospel according to the gift we have been given”.

    After spending many years ‘doing’ evangelism, I learned the importance of Jesus commandment to ‘make disciples’ from all nations’ – that’s a FAR steeper gradient than just giving out tracts or ticking the boxes on the latest pre-packed ‘gospel program’. It means sharing life – having people live with you, in your job, your spiritual growth and crucially in your everyday life, and that’s the reality so often missed – we are sent out into the world, and it’s there, amidst our ‘tent making’ (vocations) and everyday world that the gospel needs to be evidenced – at the core of all that drives and engages us – that is the manner of faith that can begin to appeal to people – Christ, evidenced in the real world.

  18. Bragging in the Lord, Bror!!

    No where in my post do I NOT give all the glory to God!

    I state over and over that it is not me but God doing the works through me. If it is God doing them then they are good works by definition.

    “Read Roman’s chapter 7, see if Paul had that same experience. He didn’t seem to think he could do them.”

    But his good works were evident for all to see the good work of the Lord through him.

    I have Roman 7 days just like you do…….but I am still joyful because my joy is not built on whether or not I have those kinds of days. My joy is built upon what Jesus did on the cross and the fact that God saved me.

    But God still works in my life, pruning and shearing to make sure that I bear the fruit that He wants me to bear. Does it hurt sometimes…yes, of course. But that does not steal my joy and does not diminish the work of God through me.

    I’m just a willing vessel that God is using to His pleasure!!

    I take great joy in that!

    Matthew 5:16
    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

    Ephesians 2:10
    For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

    Philippians 2:13
    for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

    1 Timothy 6:18
    Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,

    Titus 2:7
    in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,

    1 Peter 2:12
    having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

    Praise God for what He does in us and through us!!

    Dawg

  19. Right on Howard-

    But before disciples can be made they must first be born-again.

    Mark 16:15
    And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

    Romans 10:14
    How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

    ‘Doing’ evangelism is a chore if one does it without compassion for the lost.

    Right behind worshipping God, ‘getting’ to participate in evangelism is one of the greatest privileges a child of God can do!!

    Dawg

  20. Waynedawg,
    Just so you know it doesn’t dome off as if your are “Bragging in the lord.” What you do and Paul do when he boasts in the lord, look to be quite different.

  21. Thanks Bror –

    Just so we are all clear…….God get’s all the glory; I don’t want any. I don’t think that was ever implied in the very least.

    But, if it was somehow, I apologise to all who interpreted my posts that way. God knows my heart and knows I would never give myself any credit for what He does and has done through me.

  22. “God knows my heart and knows I would never give myself any credit for what He does and has done through me.”

    I think this is the most telling sentence of all that your faith is in yourself and and your works, and not in God. Or at least in “infused grace”, which has been thoroughly debunked.

    God knows MY heart, and knows that I would and do take credit for what he does, even and especially when I don’t realize it, and he loves me anyway.

  23. Xan –

    lol………!!!

    “I think this is the most telling sentence of all that your faith is in yourself and and your works, and not in God.”

    lol…..

    Dude – that is the funniest thing I have read all day!

    Don’t worry, I take no offense towards the accusation that I have no faith in God…….lol.

  24. “the accusation that I have no faith in God”

    That’s not the charge I was attempting to make, but looking back at what I wrote, yeah, it’s there. Sorry.

    Better phrasing might be that your faith is FOCUSED much more on yourself than on God. And that is dangerous.

  25. Just wanted to say thanks, Waynedawg. Sometimes it’s hard to find someone who understands where I’m coming from in regards to my faith and my perspective based on my relationship with Jesus. That common perspective seems to come from others whose faith has been tried and has come through shining in Him. I think you mentioned something about going through many trials, and I have, too. Those trials have a way of purifying your faith, as I’m sure you well know. And as it’s being purified, all the garbage and pre-conceived ideas along with the sin that can keep us at least partially blinded to the truth begins to slough off and you have a clearer vision of Jesus. For those reasons, I thank God for my suffering and weaknesses.
    God bless,
    Dorci

  26. “Better phrasing might be that your faith is FOCUSED much more on yourself than on God. And that is dangerous.”

    If you STILL see that, after all I have posted, you have really missed the boat.

    You are a 180 degrees the wrong way on where my faith is focused.

    For THE last time: It’s all about God. Period.

    Please go back and re-read the posts and Scriptures provided.

    Thanks Dorci – You are biblically right on.

  27. In the Fundy Indie Baptist circles from which I escaped, this would be followed by, “and if your check book were examined, to see if you had given , would you be convicted? would it be a misdemeanor? “

    • Yea, that’s the old shake a tithe out of you trick. Even John Piper, a reformed baptist, says that and its similar tricks is in fact asking a man to commit sin in his giving.

  28. Luke 18: 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed [1] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’

    Was the above guy bragging in the Lord?

    St Paul stated he boasted only in the cross of Christ not any good thing we may do. Galatians 6:13-15

  29. Waynedawg,
    This is most frustrating. Perhaps you don’t want to come off that way. But you do! And I am not the only one that reads what you write that way. So perhaps, perhaps, you might look at what you wrote, try to understand why you wrote it that way, and see if you can’t write it another way, that actually does give all the glory to God.
    Doing you might find will take all the focus on anything you have done, or God has done through you as evidence of anything, and put the focus on the fact that God died for you.

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