Monthly Archives: April 2013

Required for What?

Standard

I hear a lot of 119 Ministries followers say that the Law is required for all believers. My question is, required for what?

For Salvation?
For Rewards?
To please God?
To be counted as righteous?
For a good life?

For Salvation? I haven’t heard anybody who ascribes to following the Law (as a Christian) who believes this. So we are on the same page biblically in this regard. Whew!

For rewards? Now this, I have heard a lot about. And this is how it’s told: we obey the Law out of our deep love for God. But when we obey, we are told we will receive future rewards, future crowns, & present blessings.

Up to this point, Scripture supports this. However, by the time you tack on “required” regarding the Law, you have taken what was a love relationship & made it into an employer-employee relationship. No longer is the focus on the object of your love. Now it is on the requirements and the rewards upon *achieving* (key word) those requirements.

As soon as Salvation is begun at the foot of the cross, where we brought nothing & have received Jesus’ grace & righteousness, we stand up and start achieving suddenly? It’s as if God is holding out a bone saying, “Here, come this way. Look at this yummy treat you get if you obey what I demand…” Except, God is not like that. HE wants to be our reward, what we seek, and our portion forever.

Yes, because He is lavish with His love, He gives all kinds of gifts & rewards. But our obedience to the old Law is not a requirement. Faith in Jesus is what produces this.

To please God?
If we do the Law, God is pleased. If we do not keep the Law He is not pleased. It cannot be any other way if we accept the presumption that the Law is required. However, I do not keep the old Law. Many true believers do not keep the old Law. We please God by our faith. Hebrews 11 lists person after person who pleased God through their faith. Interestingly, their deeds were all vastly different. So the deed itself could not be what pleased God. Rather, what was common to each of them was a solid faith & belief in God. So it becomes clear that not in keeping the Law do we please God, but in having faith in Him. That faith gets walked out, not in the Laws we keep but by our loving desire of voluntary obedience to the Person of God in the moment He asks it of us.

To be counted as righteous?
“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.””
-1 Corinthians 1:30-31

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
-2 Corinthians 5:21

The only righteousness we have is the righteousness we receive in the person of Jesus. We cannot produce any righteous acts. Our salvation & our sanctification are both only possible in the person of Jesus. If our post-salvation deeds can produce righteousness, then we do not need Jesus’ righteousness post-salvation. And, further, if we can produce righteous deeds, we add to the righteousness of Jesus, because it is done extra-Jesus or outside of the person of Jesus. That goes entirely counter to Scripture.

For a good life?
This is shallow at best. And naive. Is it Scriptural to believe that if we keep the Law our lives will be filled with peace, joy, & safety? Consider Jesus…he was rejected, betrayed, beaten, and crucified. He kept every Law even in its intent. Consider Paul…if as Law keepers believe, he also kept the Law vigilantly, why did he suffer beatings, imprisonment, slander, and martyrdom? So a good & happy life is not necessarily going to follow precise keeping of the Law. In fact, Scripture assures believers their lives will be rather challenging & stressful. In God’s sum total of the world view He is privy to, every believer’s life is good and for their good. But the good may not be revealed in this lifetime. So, to claim peace & joyful prosperity as a result of fulfilling the requirement of the Law is scripturally inaccurate.

Lastly, if keeping the Law is required for something & you don’t keep the Law, you cannot receive the thing for which you did not keep the requirement. And if you can, then the thing which is required, isn’t a requirement since you can get it without completing the requirement fully. For example, if you must complete a driving test & submit ID & pay a fee in order to receive a drivers license, those three things are requirements having to be fulfilled. They are not optional. If you don’t do those things, you get no license. If however, you don’t do those things and you still receive your license anyway, then those things cannot not be truly required.

In light of this, if we cannot completely keep the requirements of the Law after salvation, we cannot receive what we would if we could. However, if grace covers the mistakes and sins, then the requirements do not have to be met in order to receive anything. And they cease to be real requirements if, in not fulfilling them, you can still receive what you hoped to. Likewise, if grace does not cover the gaps, and the requirements are true requirements, then we can not afford to leave anything undone. And if this is true, we are ALL without hope.

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