Thanks for writing in and I understand why you are now
feeling fearful. On the one hand you are worried that what you
believed previously isn't correct so you are concerned about your
salvation. On the other hand, if what you now think might be correct,
is correct (that we are not imputed with the righteousness of Christ
but it is faith in Christ that overcomes sins that save us) then fear
is a natural response because who of us, when faced with a infinitely
Holy God, could ever say that we have overcome sin ENOUGH to be
acceptable in His sight? Is it overcome in your life? In your
thoughts? In your heart? Obviously this is a frightening way to live
and to base your salvation on as no one can honestly say that they
have overcome enough today, let along what may happen tomorrow - even
though we desire to live righteous lives in Him. In the end It all
leads to 'daisy salvation' where 'He loves me, he loves me not, He
loves me, He loves me not'...
Thankfully the Bible is clear.
God wants believers to KNOW that they have salvation, not to be living
in an uncertain state in limbo. Look at the definite statements made
about the one who believes in Jesus:
1 John 5:10-13 The one
who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one
who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not
believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. (11)
And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and
this life is in His Son. (12) He who has the Son has the life; he who
does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (13) These things
I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so
that you may know that you have eternal life.
Look at some
of the verses concerning justification:
Yes, you will always find some verses that sound different but that is
why context is important. It is certainly true that a genuine born
again believer should have evidence of that in their life. But we are
not to throw out the vast majority of the scriptures that state the
same biblical truth because of some other verses that we interpret to
mean something else (like the man in the video did - however genuine
and zealous he may be.)
Romans and imputed righteousness
You said you were worried about a verse in Romans. Romans is the most
theological book in the New Testament concerning salvation and an
important place to study! And there is so much about the imputed
righteousness of Christ in Romans, especially in chapter 3,4,5. So
what does 'inputted' actually mean? It means to attribute or credit or
reckon something to someone or someone's account. This is EXACTLY what
Paul speaks about in Romans to talk about what Christ has done for us!
For example, he uses two of the big names from the Old Testament,
Abraham and David, to show that they were 'imputed' or 'credited' with
righteousness by grace and not of works. Look at how often the word or
same thought is used:
Romans 4:1-3 What then shall we say
that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? (2)
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast
about, but not before God. (3) For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM
BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED (OR IMPUTED) TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."
Romans 4:4-5 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited
(or imputed) to him as a gift, but as an obligation. (5)
However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the
wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
Romans 4:6-8 just as David also describes the blessedness of the
man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: (7) "Blessed
are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are
covered; (8) Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not
Romans 4:22-24 This is why "it
was credited to him as righteousness." (23) The words "it was credited
to him" (nb: credited, reckoned, imputed all mean the same thing -
same Greek word 'logizomai') were written not for him alone, (24) but
also for us, to whom God will credit (or impute)
righteousness--for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord
from the dead.
So for someone to say there is no
such thing as imputed righteousness or that it is a wicked doctrine,
as your youtube man did, just goes to show that he doesn't know what
he is actually talking about yet. To him who does not work but trust
God who justified the WICKED, his faith is credited or reckoned or
imputed to him as righteousness. (Rom 4:5) We have seen that both
Abraham and David spoke of the gift of righteousness by grace, apart
from works, that is imputed to us. And Paul says that this is
available for us in Christ as well. Romans chapter 3 laid the
foundation that there is no other way that a person can be righteous
in God's sight.
So what of the verses you mentioned?
You wrote: 'For instance the verse that says it is not of
works for it is God who works in you to will and to want to work.'
- This is actually parts of two different verses that you have
joined into one. They teach that salvation is by grace but that God
has prepared works for us to do and we should allow that salvation
that is inward to be 'worked out' (not worked for) through our life.
There is: Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved
through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (9)
not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (10) For we are
His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God
prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Philippians 2:12-13 So then, my beloved, just as you have always
obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence,
work out your salvation with fear and trembling; (13) for it is God
who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
I write about this here if interested:
You spoke of the Church in Sardis in Revelation 3
3:1-4 "To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the
seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: 'I know your
deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. (2)
'Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to
die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.
(3) 'So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and
repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and
you will not know at what hour I will come to you. (4) 'But you have a
few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will
walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
why this can cause confusion but we need to remember that the seven
churches of Revelation 2 and 3 were not only different churches at the
time of John in the first century but also spoke of church ages
throughout the ages. They also contain, as all churches do, both true
and false 'Christians'. So what of Sardis? Sardis is the DEAD church
in the list. We aren't talking about believers with a living faith
here. We are talking about people that had a name that they were
something but were actually dead. And again, as Revelation is a
prophetic book Sardis represents a church age. Historically this
speaks of the Protestant churches that came out of the Reformation
like the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Anglican etc. They had a good start,
they had a valid name, but given time many of them became DEAD! That
is not to say all were dead within them. Jesus said there are some
within them that walk with Him in white (the white robes in Revelation
are a picture of salvation as indicated by Rev 7:14 - they are washed
white in the blood of the lamb.) But many in this church and church
age had a dead religion only. Being an overcomer involves a true
active belief in the Lord Jesus, not a dead faith as these had.
1 John 5:4-5 for everyone born of God overcomes the world.
This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (5)
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is
the Son of God.
You also mentioned Gal 6:8. It is good to
read it in its whole context which is about giving (both before and
after the verse) and the results in this life:
Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things
with his instructor. (7) Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A
man reaps what he sows. (8) The one who sows to please his sinful
nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to
please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (9) Let us
not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a
harvest if we do not give up. (10) Therefore, as we have opportunity,
let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the
family of believers.
The Bible Believers Commentary states
well on this:
6:8 Although it is true in a general sense
that we reap whatever we sow, it should be noticed that this reminder
follows an exhortation on Christian giving. Viewed in that light, we
see that sowing to the flesh means spending one's money on oneself,
one's own pleasures and comforts. Sowing to the Spirit is using one's
money for the furtherance of God's interests. Those who do the former
reap a harvest of disappointment and loss right here on earth because
they learn as they grow older that the flesh they lived to please is
decaying and dying. Then in the age to come they lose eternal rewards.
Those who sow to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
There are two ways in which eternal life (same word translated
everlasting) is used in the Bible: (1) It is the present possession of
every believer (Joh_3:36). (2) It is that which the believer receives
at the end of his life here on earth (Rom_6:22). Those who sow to the
Spirit enjoy eternal life here and now in a way which other Christians
do not. Then, too, they will reap the rewards which accompany
faithfulness when they reach their heavenly home.
hopefully you can see that in its context it is talking of the
results of giving and the rewards still to come, not the loss of
You spoke of 2 Peter 1:9 But if anyone
does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten
that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
speaking of the 'cleansing' from past sins. There is ongoing
'cleansing' even though with are righteous or 'clean' in God's sight.
See John 13:8-10 where Jesus pictures this. In regards to the
forgiveness of sin there is a once and for all forgiveness (like Heb
10:14, Col 2;13-14) and an ongoing forgiveness as we confess. It is
important to know the difference:
Well I hope this helps. Sorry... a bit long winded but you stated
quite a few different thoughts/verses.
At the end of
the day if there was not righteousness 'credited', 'imputed' or
'reckoned' to our account then NONE would be righteous before God.
And everything that the Bible says about those 'in Christ' would not
be true. For example, please read this study and meditate on it for it
shows what is true of every believer in Christ Jesus - this is the
state that God has placed us in because of what Jesus did on our
behalf - and it is WONDERFUL!
Paul said that it was his desire to be found in Him, not having a
righteousness of his own that comes from the law (our life and works)
but having the righteousness that is by faith (Phil 3:8-9). Can you
say the same?
There is a righteous life that proceeds from our
righteous state. There is a biblical emphasis on sanctification that
follows our justification. Absolutely. When taught in the correct
order (which is justification as a free gift by grace to all who
believe first, then sanctification) we have the right foundation to
grow. Granted... It isn't without people getting the wrong idea and
possibly exploiting it (the doctrine of grace always opens itself up
to those who may seek to exploit it), but it is the right biblical
foundation. When you get the horse before the cart and place the
emphasis on our righteous life for salvation (as your email did) then
we are not on a solid foundation but on shaky sand indeed that lacks
peace and assurance. Listen again to the old hymn:
is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then
in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand."
Hope this helps,
May God Bless as you look further into these things.