For from · his fulness we have all received · one gracious gift after another. John 1:16 MOUNCE
The announcement of salvation found in Christ alone is glad tidings. The proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel of Christ brings fullness of Joy. The Gospel is the Good News of the Grace of God pledged through Jesus Christ. In short, it's supposed to be the most amazing news you've ever heard.
As of this writing, we just came out of the Christmas season. This is the season of glad tidings, peace, and goodwill toward men. This is the season of giving gifts freely to the ones we love and care for. It's gift-giving season, did you then have to earn the gift you received?
If you did, then you really didn't receive a gift but wages earned by your doing. When you go to a job and put in a work week, you aren't receiving a gift from the employer when you get your paycheck. It is a culmination of the wages earned by your efforts, your performance, and your doing. It is therefore not a gift.
God our Father is not an employer. He is not a taskmaster. He is not a manager. He is not the chief executive. He is not assigning tasks to complete and then rewarding us based on the success or failure of our assigned tasks. If He is then He is not a God of Grace but of performance.
If God is not a God of Grace, then His standard is performance. If it's all about performance with God, then that means He is focused on our performance. If He is focused on our performance, then Jesus' performance isn't paramount. Jesus' performance wouldn't be enough and it would mean we are dependent on Jesus plus our works. This would also mean in one sense, Jesus' performance in the Finished Work, is pointless and meaningless because God still requires our good performance.
Now to the one who works, his wages are not credited as a gift, but as an obligation. But to the one who does not work, but entrusts himself to the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited · as righteousness Romans 4:4-5 MOUNCE
This is so clear it is by Grace, a gift, not of works. Look at this same passage in another translation;
4 When people work, their pay is not regarded as a gift but something they have earned. 5 However, when people don’t work but believe God, the one who approves ungodly people, their faith is regarded as the basis of God’s approval. Romans 4:4-5 NOG
The Word of God, the will of God clearly revealed to us, is quite clear on this matter. It is either all work or it is all Grace. There is no mixture or middle ground. This is the essential Gospel message. Paul declared anyone preaching another message than this is not of God and said let them be accursed.
Now to be merciful, some well-meaning ministries and churches do not preach the message of Grace but a mixture of works and Grace. Am I declaring these are all cursed and going to hell when they die? No of course not. It's just that there is no blessing or goodness associated with this "mixture messaging."
I said all of this, affirming and reaffirming the Gospel, to kick over a sacred cow if you will. I said all this to establish the true Gospel and to expose the perversion of man. We can't contaminate, corrupt, or cast aside the pure message of the Grace Gospel to make way for man's performance or make way for a place for good works.
This week, I came across a message from an internationally known mega-church. The speaker there was quoting and thus also affirming, the words of a very well-known minister and missionary who has long since passed away. This quote was so astounding to me. It was the words of a man, and even good men can miss it.
In essence, this is what the minister quoted;
"If you want to go to Heaven then just do these three things. Read your Bible daily, pray every day, and go to church."
The speaker of course affirmed this same message to the people present and those watching online. In fairness, this was done as an appeal for people to come to church. That said, the words are still problematic. The reason is they cut cross-grain to the Gospel.
What happens if we don't go to church one Sunday? What happens if we forget to pray? How much of the Bible are we to read daily? One verse? Three verses? A chapter? This is the problem with the works and performance-centered gospel of man. How much is enough? How do we know if we've done enough?
The most concerning point about this quote is it diminishes the Cross and Finished Work in favor of man's performance. It says it's not by Grace alone through Faith alone we are saved and eternally secure it's our doing that saves us. Jesus once for all sacrifice and trusting in that alone isn't enough. We must add to it by our spiritual disciplines.
Now is reading the Word daily, praying every day, and consistent church attendance bad? No, it is highly beneficial and will result in spiritual growth and a better understanding of who God is and is part of a fruitful relationship with our Father. It is a fruit, not a root of our salvation and relationship with our Father above.
Radical Grace or radical works? I believe the Gospel message is simple. I believe the Word is clear. It is all by Grace and never of our works. If anything from God is received by works, then it is not actually received it is achieved! If it's achieved it's not a gift received it's wages earned. That's not Grace.
If it's wages earned it is not a free gift. If it's not a free gift then it's Jesus plus something else. The truth is God deals with us based on Grace not works. He has accepted Jesus' works and not ours.
We don't want God to relate to us based on our works or doings. For His standard is absolute perfection. If we come to God trusting in our performance then we are coming to an employer expecting a wage. We aren't coming to our Father to freely receive from His loving hands. It's Grace from beginning to eternity.
In summation, let's affirm the true Gospel. Let's receive from God based solely on what Jesus has done, what He has Finished, what He has procured and purchased for us. Remember it's from His fullness we receive one good thing after another after another, endless Grace.
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