In no particular order – just wanted to get these down somewhere.
- From my conception to my last breath I will never do one work that can stand before the judgment throne of God.
- If I was given a glass of water that only had a little poison in it, I would still refuse it. There is no such thing as “sort of pure”. If there is even one drop of sin in what I do, it isn’t holy. Holy is clean, pure, with no admixture of uncleanness. All that I do, though, is mixed with sin. If I reject that, then my works are also mixed with pride. God hates pride.
- Think about this (not directions on how to live, but what it says about Christ:
- Christ sanctifies his people through the means of grace: the word, the sacrament, the local body of believers, prayer.
- If my sanctification depended on me, I would either be in continual despair, or become an expert in self-deception.
- Those in despair seek out gurus to tell them how to live, how to act, how to use their money. They will give all that they have to assure themselves that they will be OK come the judgment day. But they will always know that it isn’t enough. They will never desire God enough. They will never submit enough. They will never be clean enough.
- This is why Jesus said, “The truth will set you free”. “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
- The reason that God strictly commands us to keep his commandments is to remind us continually of our sinful nature, so that we will never rely upon our own works for our salvation, but that we instead will continually cry out for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. Without me, you can do nothing.”
- And how do you abide in Christ? Faith alone. Sola fide. If you add even one work as the ground or hope of your salvation, you will be in continual despair or hardened in pride.
- The desire to add works to our salvation is called by Paul “the flesh”. And the result is always the same:
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;
26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. (Eph 5:25-27 NAS)
Do you see that? Sanctification is a promise of God, given to the bride of Christ out of love. Sanctification is not a duty we perform, it is a promise we receive, long for, and trust in.
It is Christ who does it. He cleanses, he purifies, he covers. He prepares his bride for the consummation.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Gal 5:19-21 NAS)
- This is crucial: If you seek to sanctify yourself by your works of holiness, you will never get what you think you will get. Is there a connection between #metoo and the rejection of faith alone? I believe so.