Grace vs. Works

May 5, 2014 at 9:29 am | Posted in Galatians | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Galatians is a book which addresses the issue of grace versus works.

Grace = Liberty
Works = Bondage

Grace = Cooperation
Works = Competition

Grace = God gets the glory
Works = Man gets the glory

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Galatians 1:1-5

This is an exceptionally terse greeting for Paul, in the form of a short doxology, but it is very important – especially Verse 5: “To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” That is not a “throwaway line,” because God’s glory is key to the true Gospel.

Of all the major world religions, Christianity stands alone as the only one that acknowledges the truth that sinners can not merit God’s favor through good works. True Christians are going to Heaven, but not on their own own merit. They are going to Heaven on the merits of another: Jesus Christ the Righteous.

The enemies of the Gospel in Galatia were the Judaizers. They opposed the Gospel and Paul by: perverting, reverting, and deserting. They were trying to pervert the true Gospel by mixing in works-based requirements along with grace and faith. They were trying to revert back to what they believed was the Old Covenant system. They were deserting Christ Himself in favor of false teachers. Judaism and Christianity can’t be mixed. Grace and works can’t be mixed. Liberty and legalism can’t be mixed.

The Apostle Paul distinguished himself from the false teachers as he sought to please Christ, not men.

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Galatians 1:13-14

Paul’s conversion teaches us these truths:

1. God saves egregious sinners.
2. Salvation happens instantly.
3. Salvation results in a real change.
4. There will be an outward change, but it is always the result of an inward change.
5. Salvation is for a purpose:
a. The purpose of glorifying God
b. The purpose of helping others

And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not…

Jeremiah 45:5

What motivates you to serve God? Your own good? Or God’s glory?

More Testing for Puffiness in Your Marriage

July 11, 2012 at 9:57 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, I Corinthians | 10 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Last time we looked at some tests to see if you are vaunting yourself or puffing yourself up in your marriage.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

I Corinthians 13:4 (emphasis added)

Here is the second half of the ten tests:

Test Six: Do you insist on your spouse taking your side in every outside conflict?

Sometimes even the most prideful people will self-deprecatingly point out that they are not always right. But this is aiming too low. Being the “least sinful” person among a race of sinful people is like being the valedictorian of summer school.

dunce

 

When I admit that I am “not always right,” but I still insist that my wife side with me unquestioningly in every conflict, I am guilty of using God’s daughter to help “puff myself up.”

Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?

II Samuel 7:18

When I believe that I have reached some exalted state because I somehow deserve it or because I have somehow earned it or because I have somehow been rewarded for being good, I am probably thinking like a vaunting puffer.

Tests Seven and Eight show some of the underlying thought patterns which cause problems in this area of marriage.

Test Seven: Do you need your spouse to acknowledge what you do – or else?

Test Eight: Do you think you shouldn’t have to wait your turn?

Few spouses want to admit to these types of attitudes, but some deeper probing may be in order:

a. Some spouses solve the abhorrence-of-waiting-their-turn problem by implementing a turn-taking system, but then they “over-enforce” the turn-taking.
b. Actions often speak louder than words. Some spouses say they don’t expect to be praised or acknowledged for every little thing they do for their spouses, or for every little sacrifice they make, but one spouse’s actions can show that he or she subconsciously thinks that he/she is the more important one.

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.

Psalm 115:1

Marriage is not about getting recognition for ourselves or gratifying our desire for receiving the appreciation of another person. It’s more about glorifying God’s name, and reflecting the truth of Christ’s relationship to and with His Church.

Test Nine: Do you always have to win?

Most of us, if honest, would have to own up to a desire to be the winner in any type of contentious encounter. Some of us would possibly, at times, even acknowledge a temptation to act unfairly (to “cheat”) if it means the difference between being perceived as the “winner” instead of the “loser,” or being the one who is “right” instead of “wrong” in an argument.

It’s easier, in the cold analytical light of this test, to say, “Cheating or playing unfairly is wrong.” But in the heat of a disagreement, we need to be constantly reminding ourselves of Whose glory is at stake in this marriage. Who deserves the credit when I have a chance to succeed? Cheating may give me a victory, but (because it dishonors the name of God) cheating puts me in the horrifying position of appearing to get the “victory” over God.

And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.

Jeremiah 45:5

Test Ten: Are you ever dishonest with your spouse?

Real Christian love is always concerned with the Truth. Lack of truthfulness reveals pride when telling my spouse the truth would mean revealing something unfavorable about me. Dishonesty is a key symptom of vaunting ourselves and puffing ourselves up.

How did you do on the ten tests? Were you able to identify any “puffiness” in your marriage? God does not help the puffed up. You do not have to be a Bible scholar or read very far in the pages of Scripture at all to learn this very basic and fundamental fact: The loud and the boastful excite God’s wrath. The “deflated” (no longer vaunting or puffed up) are more empty of self and ready to be filled by God.

He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

Luke 1:53

If your marriage is empty of pride and vanity, God will fill it with good things. If your marriage is puffy, He might have to deflate it.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

James 4:10

If you will “unvaunt” yourself in your marriage, God will lift it up. Then He will vaunt Himself through it, which is right and good.


Entries and comments feeds.