29
May
09

HOW TO BE RIGHTEOUS

     Although not used much in normal conversation, righteous and righteousness are important biblical words.  An important point – but one is difficult to see from English translations – is that these two words are very closely related to “just” and “justify”.  In Greek all four words come from the same word root (dikaio).  “Justify” literally means to “declare righteous”.  It is a term taken from the courtroom where it was used to describe a judge’s verdict of declaring someone righteous or not guilty.  From the perspective of the Greek of the New Testament there is no difference between the two questions:  “How can I be righteous”” or “How can I be justified?”

     Therefore a most important passage in this regard is Romans 3:20:  “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified (declared righteous) in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  A most important question is what does the word “law” refer to in this passage?  It is obvious how the LDS Church interprets it.  A footnote in the LDS edition of the Bible references this to the Law of Moses. 

     But that doesn’t fit the context.  From 1:18 through 3:20 Paul argues extensively that all people, both Jew and Gentile, are under God’s wrath because of sin.  Starting with 3:9 he begins his summation:  “for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.”  The “no flesh” of 3:20 does not just refer to Jews who had the Law of Moses.  It refers to all people and, by extension, all law.  No matter what law a person holds to and tries to follow – it will not be a way for that person to be declared righteous (justified).

     “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:  for there is no difference:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” 

     How to be righteous before God?  Not by deeds but by belief.  The contrast Paul sets up here is not between righteousness through deeds alone and faith and deeds.  No, the contrast Paul makes is between righteousness either through deeds or faith.   “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (v. 28)  Interestingly, the LDS Bible’s footnotes the word “without” with GR which indicates an alternate translation of the Greek.  The alternate translation:  “apart from, without intervention”.  ‘Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from, without the intervention of the deeds of the law.”  In the very next verse Paul again mentions both Jews and Gentiles.  From the context it is obvious that his point is that people are justified through faith apart from any deeds of any law.

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47 Responses to “HOW TO BE RIGHTEOUS”


  1. 1 GB
    May 29, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Mark,

    I noticed that you meticulously avoided verse 21.

    21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

    “the law and the prophets”? Where have I heard that phrase before?

    Let’s see!

    Matt. 5:17 ¶ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

    Matt. 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

    Matt. 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

    Matt. 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

    Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

    John 1:45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

    Acts 13:15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

    Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

    Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

  2. 2 ADB
    May 29, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    GB,

    I’m not sure I understand the point you’re making. Doesn’t Romans 3:21 simply state that the Old Testament writings (Law and Prophets) are also witnesses to the fact that righteousness doesn’t come from the law, but rather comes from God? Is that not what Paul is stating in that verse? Can you clarify the point you’re making by bringing up this verse? Thanks.

  3. 3 Echo
    May 29, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    GB said:

    “Mark,

    I noticed that you meticulously avoided verse 21.”

    Echo:

    Can you explain what you mean when you say Mark avoided verse 21? He included verse 21 in his fourth paragraph so I am uncertain what you intended.

  4. 4 GB
    May 29, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    “He included verse 21 in his fourth paragraph so I am uncertain what you intended.”

    Ooops! You are right. I warned that today I was pressed for time. It would have been helpful if Mark would designate the verses he is quoting.

    Still, I noticed that he didn’t acknowledge the implications of the Biblical usage of the phrase “the law and the prophets”.

    Also, I did a quick search in the NT for the phrase “any law”, I got zip. Just wondering how Mark can say “any law” and still subscribe to “sola scriptura”.

  5. 5 GB
    May 29, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    ADB,

    I don’t have enough time right now to discuss this issue in the detail I would like. So please be patient with the shallowness of my posts. Thanks.

  6. 6 Echo
    May 29, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    GB,

    I think what Mark is saying is that people are justified through faith apart from any law found in scripture.

  7. 7 Echo
    May 29, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    It’s possible that Mark intended any law even outside of scripture. If so, he is still remaining within the bounds of sola scriptura since God commands us to be obedient to the ruling authorities and those whom he has placed in authority over us. Even still, certainly what he said is still the truth. The scripture says: “no man is justified by the law”.

  8. 8 GB
    May 31, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Echo,

    “Any law” is not found in the Bible, so to use the phrase “any law” is to use a phrase that is not found in the Bible and is therefore extra Biblical. IF the Bible is sufficient (sola scriptura), then why does Mark need to use a phrase that isn’t in the Bible?

  9. 9 Echo
    May 31, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    GB, I think I will let Mark clarify what he truly intended. I was just trying to show that no matter what he intended, Mark would be in keeping with sola scriptura. See post 7.

  10. 10 GB
    May 31, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Mark’s argument that these verses are not referring to the law of Moses is; ‘The “no flesh” of 3:20 does not just refer to Jews who had the law of Moses. It refers to all people and, by extension, all law.’

    The problem is his assertion “and, by extension, all law” has no basis. The law of Moses was given to the house of Israel to be sure. The fact that even their strict obedience to the law of Moses didn’t bring “justification” to them, certainly is ample basis for “no flesh” justified by it either.

    Also, is Mark excluding “the law of faith” mentioned in verse 27 and “the law of God” (Rom 7:22 & 8:7) and “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2) and “the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2) and “the law of liberty” (James 2:25 & 2:12)?

    Here is a little experiment. Let’s put “the law of Moses” in these verses and see what happens.

    20 Therefore by the deeds of the law of Moses there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law of Moses is the knowledge of sin.
    21 But now the righteousness of God without the law of Moses is manifested, being witnessed by the law of Moses and the prophets;
    22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
    23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
    24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
    25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
    26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
    27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works of the law of Moses? Nay: but by the law of faith.
    28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law of Moses.

    To a group of people struggling with what to do with the law of Moses, this would make perfect sense.

  11. 11 Echo
    May 31, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    We are not justified before God by either the law of Moses or by Jesus’ sermon on the mount nor any other law in scripture. Nor are we justified before God when in obedience to God we obey the government or our employer or our Pastor or anyone else God places in authority over us.

    The point is that we aren’t justified before God through obedience to any law. Because the law always demands perfect obedience and without perfect obedience we are law breakers. Because of that, nobody will be justified through the law, any law.

    The Law(the whole law found from Genesis to Revelation) only reveals our inability to keep the law perfectly. Law always demands perfect obedience. Since we are sinners, the law shows us our sin and our inability to be justified before God through his law. The law only makes us consicious of the sin within each of us. Because of sin, it is impossible for us to be justified before God through the law.

    Romans 3:21 “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.”

    But God has revealled another way to be justified before God.

    Galatians 3:24 “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith”

    We are justified by faith alone.

  12. 12 GB
    May 31, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Romans 3:21 “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law (of Moses); rather, through the law (of Moses) we become conscious of sin.”

    Galatians 3:24 24 Wherefore the law (of Moses) was our schoolmaster (baby sitter) to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (in Christ).
    25 But after that faith (in Christ) is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (the baby sitter, law of Moses).

    If you have faith in Christ you must act like it by believing what He taught about obedience to his commandments.

    So we are back to some people taking the misunderstood words of Paul over the plain and clear words of Jesus.

  13. 13 Echo
    May 31, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    The sermon on the mount is the law of Moses:

    Mathew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you(Jesus’ sermon on the mount), for this sums up the Law and the Prophets(Law of Moses)”

  14. 14 GB
    May 31, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    The Sermon on the Mount also includes this;
    Matt 7:21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

  15. 15 Echo
    May 31, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    GB said:

    “The Sermon on the Mount also includes this;
    Matt 7:21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

    And his will is to believe (faith alone) in the one he has sent:

    John 6:28-29 “Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works(will of the Father) God requires?”

    Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

  16. 16 GB
    May 31, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    It is true that you must believe in Jesus. NO ONE here is arguing otherwise.

    But how can you believe IN Jesus without believing what he taught?

    Like these.

    21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
    24 ¶ Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
    25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
    26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
    27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

    Quoting scripture that says we need to belive IN Jesus, does NOT eliminate the need to do righteous works because Jesus taught the need to do them.

  17. 17 GB
    May 31, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? (a work of obedience to Gods command)
    • • •
    24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
    25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers (of God?), and had sent them out another way?

    So, James says we ARE justified by works, and Paul say we AREN’T justified by the works of the law (of Moses).

    Can any one tell me what the difference is between the two works that these two Apostles are talking about?

  18. 18 Echo
    June 1, 2009 at 1:26 am

    GB said:

    “It is true that you must believe in Jesus. NO ONE here is arguing otherwise.

    But how can you believe IN Jesus without believing what he taught?

    Like these.

    21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
    24 ¶ Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
    25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
    26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
    27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

    Quoting scripture that says we need to belive IN Jesus, does NOT eliminate the need to do righteous works because Jesus taught the need to do them.”

    Echo:

    Notice what Jesus says in verse 22-23: ” Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

    These people that were considered “workers of iniquity” did what they considered many wonderful works in his name.
    Jesus replies: “I never knew you”

    Jesus could see into hearts, he knew these people very well. So what is he saying? He is saying that these people weren’t being honest and truthful with him about who they were.
    They thought they could gain eternal life by repentance and obedience to the commandments, Jesus said: “I never knew you”
    Had they admitted the truth about themselves that they can only despair of gaining eternal life through repentance and obedience to the commandments because of their sins, THEN Jesus would say that he knew them.

    Remember the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector? It was the tax collector who couldn’t even look up to heaven but beat his breast and said: “God have mercy on me a sinner” that went home justified(home = eternal life)

    Jesus would say that he KNEW the tax collector. But to the pharisee he would say: “I never knew you”

  19. 19 Echo
    June 1, 2009 at 2:11 am

    GB said:

    “James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? (a work of obedience to Gods command)
    • • •
    24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
    25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers (of God?), and had sent them out another way?

    So, James says we ARE justified by works, and Paul say we AREN’T justified by the works of the law (of Moses).

    Can any one tell me what the difference is between the two works that these two Apostles are talking about?”

    Echo:

    For the sake of understanding what I am writing, consider our definition of “Justified”.

    Definition of Justified: Declared NOT GUILTY. This is like a criminal in a courtroom wherein the judge tells the criminal that there is NO LONGER any charges against him. (Jesus has paid for ALL our sins)

    We are justified BEFORE GOD by faith alone.
    We are justified BEFORE MEN by our works.

    We know that works don’t justify us BEFORE GOD from other scripture.

    In the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector, it was the tax collector who pleaded: “God have mercy on me a sinner” that was justified BEFORE GOD. Because he was humble in this way, he was exalted:

    Luke 18:14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God”

    The pharisee who thought his works justified him before God was exalting himself( he depended on his own works to be justified) He didn’t go home justified before God.

    Romans 3:28 “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.”

    Even Abraham who is the example in the James account that you shared was not justified BEFORE GOD by his works:

    Romans 4:2 “If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—BUT NOT BEFORE GOD.

    Being justified by our works never brings peace to our hearts because we are sinners. If we have any idea how endless the commands of God are, we will realize that we battle sin every day and every day our hearts would condemn us. The most sincerest among us will go through the biggest battle of this kind but they will eventually end up in dispair!

    Being justified by faith(only) brings a lasting peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding. Whenever our hearts condemn us, we turn to Jesus who upon the cross has given us certainty that all our sins are freely forgiven, even while we are in our sins. That full and free forgiveness that is already ours gives us the desire to battle against the sins we already have been forgiven for. There is no fear, no uncertainty, no despair, just perfect wonderment and awe at such an amazing God as this who forgives sins apart from anything we do!

    Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

    Romans 5:9 “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”

    Galatians 2:16 “know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, BECAUSE BY OBSERVING THE LAW NO ONE WILL BE JUSTIFIED.”

  20. 20 GB
    June 1, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Here let me make some clarifications

    Romans 3:28 “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law (of Moses).”

    Even Abraham who is the example in the James account that you shared was not justified BEFORE GOD by works of the law of Moses. (He didn’t have the law of Moses, so he couldn’t have been justified by the works of the law of Moses). He was justified before God by works of faithful obedience to God’s commands.

    Romans 4:2 “If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works (of the law of Moses), he had something to boast about—BUT NOT BEFORE GOD.

    Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith (enough to obey the comands of Jesus Christ), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

    Romans 5:9 “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”

    Galatians 2:16 “know that a man is not justified by observing the law (of Moses), but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law (of Moses), BECAUSE BY OBSERVING THE LAW (of Moses) NO ONE WILL BE JUSTIFIED.”

    In the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector, the Pharisee was a faithful observer of the law of Moses, yet he wasn’t justified by it. Thanks for pointing that out.

    And talking about justifying before men, consider what Jesus said about that.
    Luke 16:13 ¶ No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
    14 And the Pharisees also (who followed the law of Moses, yet), who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
    15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

    So it was the Pharisees who used their obedience to the law of Moses to justify themselves before men.

    Abraham, on the other hand, didn’t have the law of Moses, and was justified by his works of faithful obedience to God’s commands.

  21. 21 Echo
    June 2, 2009 at 2:14 am

    After Jesus finishes his sermon on the mount he says:

    Mathew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, FOR THIS SUMS UP THE LAW (OF MOSES) and the Prophets”

  22. 22 GB
    June 2, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Let’s not forget this one either,

    Matt 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
    38 This is the first and great commandment.
    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

  23. 23 Echo
    June 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing that verse. That is a great one also.

    It shows that what Jesus taught in the sermon on the mount IS the law of Moses. Not a lower and higher law, but ONE law. The same law. The law that has always existed.

    You teach that people will be declared righteous by obeying the commandments(the law) but scripture contradicts what you are saying and instead teaches us that the law only points out our unrighteousness, i.e. our sin:

    Romans 3:20 “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

  24. 24 GB
    June 2, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Actually, what is shows is that what Jesus taught was greater than the law of Moses.

    Heb. 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
    • • •
    19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

  25. 25 Echo
    June 2, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    GB said:

    Actually, what is shows is that what Jesus taught was greater than the law of Moses.

    Echo:

    The moral law given by Moses and the sermon on the mount are one law. Jesus shows that below:

    Mathew 22:37-40 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
    And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

    What you are refering to in Hebrews is something off topic. It is not the moral law (10 commandments of Moses/Jesus sermon on the mount)but it is refering to the sacrificial ceremony. The Old testament sacrificial ceremony of offering up animals as sacrifices for sins. These OT sacrifices were only a shadow of the reality we have in Jesus who sacrificed himself for our sins.

    You and I are discussing the moral law. The 10 commandments given to Moses which Jesus himself taught in the sermon on the mount.

    All the passages that markcares refers to in his blog post above and the passages I have refered to are refering to the moral law. (The 10 commandments given to Moses which Jesus himself taught in the sermon on the mount.)

    No flesh shall be justified by the law.

  26. June 2, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Hi Mark, great post and great website! Be encouraged in the ministry God has given you, brother. We are with you.

    You might already know this, or be interested to know this, but I thought of writing this because it goes along well with your post.

    In the Greek for Romans 3:20, 21, 28, the word “law” has no definite article before it, so it is actually translated as follows:

    “Therefore by the deeds of law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” (not of THE law, but simply LAW)

    “But now the righteousness of God without law is manifested, being witnessed by THE law and the prophets.” (here, the Greek uses the definite article the SECOND time, but NOT the first time! Paul is saying that there is a way to be righteous before God apart from ANY LAW whatsoever, not just the law of Moses, and the law of Moses witnessed to it)

    “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of law.” (any law, again no definite article)

    Check it out for yourself, it’s a fascinating discovery. In this way it’s very clear to see what Paul is talking about, and the conclusion is just as you have shared, Mark.

    Thank you so much and God bless!
    -Eli

  27. 27 GB
    June 2, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    What Jesus taught was greater than the law of Moses and the ten commandments.

    Just read Matt 5:17-48.

  28. 28 GERMIT
    June 2, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    I’ve been away from MarkCares for awhile…I come back and it’s like I never left…as far as Echo and GB exchanging pleasantries, that is….

    Imagine this: BOTH GB and ECHO are right enough to make it into the same heaven…and then come room assignments….. yes, you guessed it…

    what wicked fun that would be
    believing GOD for the impossible
    GERMIT

  29. 29 GB
    June 2, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Germit,

    I wondered why we hadn’t heard from you for awhile. Welcome back. And yes, not much has changed.

  30. 30 Echo
    June 2, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    GB said:

    “What Jesus taught was greater than the law of Moses and the ten commandments.

    Just read Matt 5:17-48.”

    Echo:

    What Jesus taught was what the law and the prophets taught:

    Mathew 22:40 “On these two commandments hang all the LAW AND THE PROPHETS.” (law and prophets refers to the Old Testament)

    In the sermon on the mount, Jesus taught what Galatians says: “The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

    The old testament always taught “love your neighbor as yourself”:

    Leviticus 19:18 “but love your neighbor as yourself”

  31. 31 Echo
    June 2, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Eli, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  32. 32 Echo
    June 2, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Germit, welcome back.

    GB is a valuable soul, just as valuable as you and I. So as long as GB wants to continue the discussion, I am willing to continue.

  33. 33 GB
    June 2, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    The confusion over grace results principally from the writings of the apostle Paul. But if Paul really taught that grace alone was sufficient for salvation, we must consider a number of questions:

    * Why did Paul write so often to Christian congregations admonishing them to abandon their sinful ways?

    * Why did Paul have to tell believing Christians that those who committed various sins could not be saved in the kingdom of God? (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5.)

    * Why did Paul teach that Christ is “the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe?” (1 Timothy 4:10.)

    * Why did Paul say that “godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation?” (2 Corinthians 7:10.)

    * Why did Paul tell the Philippians to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling?” (Philippians 2:13.)

    * When discussing “the grace of God that bringeth salvation,” why does Paul say that it teaches “that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world?” (Titus 2:11-12.)

    * Why does the epistle to the Hebrews say that Jesus was “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him?” (Hebrews 5:9.)

  34. 34 germit
    June 3, 2009 at 3:22 am

    ECHO: that’s one fine energizer battery you’re running on, I must say you sure know how to persevere.

    GERMIT

  35. 35 Echo
    June 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Germit:

    I don’t think having an ongoing discussion with someone you wouldn’t mind being freinds with constitutes Perseverance.

  36. 36 Echo
    June 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    In order to understand the answers to your very good questions, it’s important to first understand what being “saved by grace alone” would mean for you.

    God’s law demands perfection. We even get that message from the book of Alma in the BOM. Alma teaches that we must be perfect before we die, then we will gain eternal life. If we fall anything short of perfection as Alma and Jesus points out, we spend eternity with Satan and his demons. Those are our only two options. There are those on the right who inherit eternal life, and as Jesus said, there are those on his left who inherit fire with Satan and his demons. It’s either Eternal life in the celestial kingdom or fire with the devil and his demons.

    Let’s imagine we are wearing a garment that represents our righteous or unrighteous standing before God. To be righteous, the garment must be spotless. Because we are sinners, whenever we look at God’s Holy law, all it shows us is the stains on our garment. It never shows us our righteousness. Our garment is never without stain since who among us always treats everyone the way that we want to be treated? Who among us always thinks only kind things about everyone, regardless of who they are because we always want everyone to only think kind things about us? Who among us will reach out and love our enemy with unconditional love just as we would want our enemy to love us with unconditional love? And what about all the countless sins we are unaware of in our own lives that God still holds us guilty for? What about the sins of our church and the false teachings they might be teaching, even if we are unaware of them, we will be held guilty. All of these things stain our garments. Even if we are unaware of how the stain got on our garment, the stain is still there. Even if the stain isn’t visible to our eye, it is certainly visible to God’s eye.

    And how often do we try to wipe the stain off our garment only to spread the stain and make it bigger by blaming our sin on others, or by avoiding or responding negatively to people who point out our sin or by comparing ourselves to others and looking down on those who are not as “righteous” as we are. Or by looking at those who are more righteous and trying to knock them down to our level by finding fault with them. Or maybe we water down sin so it isn’t sin. We might call that which is sin, a fault or blunder or bad judgment call etc. Then who among us doesn’t battle with pride at times? We are being prideful when we use derogatory comments towards others, we are prideful if we are offended when someone tells us they think we are wrong, we are prideful when we avoid someone who has hurt us etc. And who among us doesn’t get unrighteously angry? If we get angry at someone who cut us off on the road, that is unrighteous anger. And the list is endless….

    And how many holes do we put in our garment when we think we can remove a stain by overcoming our sin in order to be forgiven.

    None of this will avail us in the judgment. In the judgment, our garment will be considered a filthy rag:

    Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like FILTHY RAGS; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

    Those who have placed their faith in God’s law to be saved will hear this word from Jesus: “Away from me, I never knew you” The reason is because God wants us to admit we can’t meet the conditions of the law.

    It all boils down to placing faith in God’s law and our performance instead of in Jesus and his performance on our behalf.
    Those that give up their faith in God’s law by realizing they cannot meet the conditions are prepared for the Holy Spirit to create faith in Jesus in their hearts:

    The Garment Jesus wore was his ROBE of righteousness. His robe was spotless-absolutely perfect without stain, spot or blemish. Jesus took our filthy rag of a garment and wore it himself on the cross, taking the punishment we deserve. He didn’t stop there though. In exchange for our filthy garment, he gave us his robe of righteousness to wear forever. Now whenever God looks at us, he sees the perfection of Jesus.

    And because we are wearing this robe, the moment we believe we can be confident and have absolute assurance that Because of Jesus we are on the right hand of God, we can know that eternal life is ours right now.

    Remember the Sheep and goats were separated BEFORE works were taken into account. This is because the Sheep and Goats are separated first by who is wearing the Robe given to them by Jesus and who isn’t wearing it.

    Also Jesus’ teaching that we must be perfect before we can follow him has now been fulfilled. Jesus has made us perfect, we can now follow him.

    This gives us perfect peace with God. There is no fear in love! Perfect love drives out all fear and replaces it with perfect peace.

    Therefore anyone who sees and appreciates what an awesome thing God has done for us out of his great love for us, who chose to save us when we could not save ourselves, will desire to turn from a life of sin solely out of gratitude to a great God as this. He will desire to overcome sin out of gratitude to Jesus because he is saved rather than overcoming sin to be saved. He will desire to overcome his sins because he is forgiven rather than overcoming his sins to be forgiven.

    We can see then why Christians are encouraged throughout scripture to abandon their sinful ways. That should answer most of your questions.

    To work out your salvation with fear and trembling simply means to have reverence and awe. Trembling intended in a good sense as in rejoicing with trembling, as in awe and wonderment at the great things God has done: Psalm 2:11 “Serve the LORD with fear and REJOICE WITH TREMBLING.”

    Jesus is the author of salvation for those who obey his call to believe.

    Godly sorrow that worketh repentance is sorrow that we have sinned against a great God as this! It is a turning from sin and a turning to God for forgiveness. That forgiveness, already assured to us on the cross! Knowing and having assurance that we are already forgiven, even in our sins, apart from anything we do, gives us that passion, desire and power to want to overcome our sins. Overcoming sin isn’t a step from within the definition of repentance. It is the fruit that follows repentance and that comes from the assurance that all our sins have been forgiven.

    I hope that covers all your great questions?

  37. 37 GB
    June 3, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Echo,

    No, it doesn’t answer my questions. All you did is repeat your theology without addressing the inconsistencies between your theology and the issues raised in the questions.

    But it does raise another question.

    How or where does Jesus get His righteousness if not, because of or from His perfect obedience to God’s law?

    Keeping in mind,
    Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself WITHOUT SPOT to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

    Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, YET WITHOUT SIN.

    1 Pet. 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

  38. 38 Echo
    June 3, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    GB said:

    “No, it doesn’t answer my questions. All you did is repeat your theology without addressing the inconsistencies between your theology and the issues raised in the questions.”

    Echo:

    I answered the questions so I don’t know what you are refering to.

    GB said:

    How or where does Jesus get His righteousness if not, because of or from His perfect obedience to God’s law?

    Keeping in mind,
    Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself WITHOUT SPOT to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

    Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, YET WITHOUT SIN.

    1 Pet. 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

    Echo:

    Jesus lived in perfect obedience to the law as our substitute. He gives us his robe of righteousness.

  39. 39 GB
    June 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    So you agree that Jesus gets His righteousness from His perfect obedience to God’s law?

  40. 40 Echo
    June 3, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    He was righteous before he was born and conceived. He was born under the law to redeem those under the law. He is our substitute. He lived the law in our place and credits his perfect obedience to our account.

  41. 41 GB
    June 3, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    So you agree that if Jesus had failed to obey ALL of the commandments of God, he would not be righteous, correct?

    As I said, you didn’t answer the questions.

    “Therefore anyone who sees and appreciates what an awesome thing God has done for us out of his great love for us, who chose to save us when we could not save ourselves, will desire to turn from a life of sin solely out of gratitude to a great God as this.”

    It doesn’t automatically follow that when someone gets something for “free” that they will appreciate it. In reality, what is far more likely to happen is that recipient of things “free” gets an entitlement mentality. Just think about America’s welfare recipients. They think they are entitled to the fruits of your labors because they have been given the fruits of your labors at no cost to them. Why put forth any effort if none is required? If there is no incentive why do it?

    “He will desire to overcome sin out of gratitude to Jesus because he is saved rather than overcoming sin to be saved.”

    Again, you haven’t shown that this is based on anything other than your words. Real world experience says that you are wrong. And no matter how often you rephrase the idea, doesn’t change that fact.

    “He will desire to overcome his sins because he is forgiven rather than overcoming his sins to be forgiven.”

    Again, you haven’t shown that this is based on anything other than your words. Real world experience says that you are wrong. And no matter how often you rephrase the idea, doesn’t change that fact.

    “We can see then why Christians are encouraged throughout scripture to abandon their sinful ways.”

    But we can’t see anything of the sort. If there is no incentive there is no incentive. Period.

    “That should answer most of your questions.”

    But, you see it doesn’t. All you have done is make bald assertions that are counter to real world experience.

    “To work out your salvation with fear and trembling simply means to have reverence and awe.”

    Why don’t you address the “work out your salvation” part of the statement?

    “Godly sorrow that worketh repentance is sorrow that we have sinned against a great God as this!”

    Why be sorrowful if it doesn’t matter? Why don’t you address the “worketh repentance to salvation”. part of the statement?

    “It is a turning from sin and a turning to God for forgiveness.”

    That statement TOTALLY contradicts your position. IF you have ALREADY been forgiven, THEN you don’t need to turn from sin. You are agreeing with my position that you need to repent to be forgiven. You really need to clarify this contradiction.

    “That forgiveness, already assured to us on the cross! Knowing and having assurance that we are already forgiven, even in our sins, apart from anything we do, gives us that passion, desire and power to want to overcome our sins.”

    And that is a contradiction of your previous sentence. Are you confused? Again, why don’t you address the “worketh repentance to salvation”. part of the statement?

    “Overcoming sin isn’t a step from within the definition of repentance.”

    What? From 1828 Noah Webster’s dictionary.
    Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.

    Repentance is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God.

    Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. 2Cor. 7. Matt. 3.

    Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice, from conviction that it has offended God.
    ————

    Repentance is much more than just acknowledging wrongdoings and feeling sorry for them. It is a change of mind and heart that gives us a fresh view about God, about ourselves, and about the world. It includes turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness.

    “(Overcoming sin?) is the fruit that follows repentance and that comes from the assurance that all our sins have been forgiven.”

  42. 42 Echo
    June 4, 2009 at 3:22 am

    GB said:

    “So you agree that if Jesus had failed to obey ALL of the commandments of God, he would not be righteous, correct?”

    Echo:

    Yes.

    GB said:

    ” Why put forth any effort if none is required? If there is no incentive why do it?”

    Echo:

    Only those who are self serving and selfish say: “If there is no incentive why do it?”

    Why do it? LOVE

    GB said:

    E:“He will desire to overcome sin out of gratitude to Jesus because he is saved rather than overcoming sin to be saved.”

    GB: Real world experience says that you are wrong. And no matter how often you rephrase the idea, doesn’t change that fact.

    Echo:

    1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,”

    GB said:

    E: “He will desire to overcome sin out of gratitude to Jesus because he is saved rather than overcoming sin to be saved.”

    GB: Again, you haven’t shown that this is based on anything other than your words. Real world experience says that you are wrong. And no matter how often you rephrase the idea, doesn’t change that fact.

    Echo:

    1 Corinthians 3:19 “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight”

    GB said:

    E:“We can see then why Christians are encouraged throughout scripture to abandon their sinful ways.”

    GB: “But we can’t see anything of the sort. If there is no incentive there is no incentive. Period.”

    Selfishness(one who works because of incentive) is not righteousness, it is wickedness.

    GB said:

    “But, you see it doesn’t. All you have done is make bald assertions that are counter to real world experience”

    Echo:

    1 Corinthians 3:19 “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight”

    GB said:

    Why don’t you address the “work out your salvation” part of the statement?

    Echo:

    Once we are saved we Exercise(work out) that salvation by going through a growth process.

    GB said:

    E: ““Godly sorrow that worketh repentance is sorrow that we have sinned against a great God as this!”

    GB: Why be sorrowful if it doesn’t matter?

    Echo:

    Again it comes back to the one thing you keep missing. LOVE

    GB said:

    “It is a turning from sin and a turning to God for forgiveness.”

    That statement TOTALLY contradicts your position. IF you have ALREADY been forgiven, THEN you don’t need to turn from sin. You are agreeing with my position that you need to repent to be forgiven. You really need to clarify this contradiction.

    Echo:

    https://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?process&procID=1518&cuQA_qaID=1&cuTopic_topicID=44&cuItem_itemID=2746

    and

    http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?1518&cuTopic_topicID=44&cuItem_itemID=10195

    GB said:

    E:“Overcoming sin isn’t a step from within the definition of repentance.”

    GB: What? From 1828 Noah Webster’s dictionary.
    Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.

    Echo:

    What I said was: “Overcoming sin isn’t a step from within the definition of repentance, It is the fruit that follows repentance” that is exactly what your Noah Webster’s dictionary says when it says: “followed by ammendment of life”. But forgiveness comes inbetween “repentance” and “ammendment of life”

    GB said:

    “Repentance is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God.”

    Echo:

    Yes. Repentance is a change of mind. Repentance is not “ammendment of life” although it does lead to an ammendment of life AFTER we have FIRST turned “to God” for forgiveness.

  43. 43 GB
    June 4, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    “a conversion from sin to God” is not an “ammendment of life”?

    Jesus is righteous and justified because of his perfect obedience to God’s law. So then, by his perfect obedience to God’s law (deeds), he became (or remained) justified and righteous.

    The rest of us have failed to be perfect in our obedience, so all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. God’s law then doesn’t justify us, but rather condemns us.

    Violation of God’s law results in punishment. The eternal justice of God requires this to be so. All of us are under the condemnation of God’s law and are due punishment.

    Are you with me so far?

  44. 44 Echo
    June 4, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    GB said:

    “a conversion from sin to God” is not an “ammendment of life”?

    Echo:

    That is correct. But it leads to ammendment of life. Ammendment of life follows forgiveness.

    GB said:

    “Jesus is righteous and justified because of his perfect obedience to God’s law. So then, by his perfect obedience to God’s law (deeds), he became (or remained) justified and righteous.”

    Echo:

    I am uncomfortable with what you have said here. Let me explain:
    Jesus is God,so his obedience to the law comes naturally for him because it is part of who he is. His obedience to the law does however show us that he is God and that he is perfectly righteous. So I will go with your statement: “He remained righteous”

    GB said:

    The rest of us have failed to be perfect in our obedience, so all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. God’s law then doesn’t justify us, but rather condemns us.

    Violation of God’s law results in punishment. The eternal justice of God requires this to be so. All of us are under the condemnation of God’s law and are due punishment.

    Echo:

    Yes

  45. 45 GB
    June 4, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    “Jesus is God,so his obedience to the law comes naturally for him because it is part of who he is.”

    That sounds like you are saying that he wasn’t really (or couldn’t be) tempted. Yet the scriptures are clear that he was.

    Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

    Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

    Your statement minimizes Jesus’ righteousness/obedience/justification. You are saying that it was easier for him to be obedient/obedient/just than it is for us.

    Is this because you believe that if he were tempted as much as we are, then he would have failed to be righteous/obedient/justified?

  46. 46 Echo
    June 4, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I agree with you. He was tempted in every way that we are but was without sin.

  47. 47 Echo
    June 4, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    GB said:

    “The rest of us have failed to be perfect in our obedience, so all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. God’s law then doesn’t justify us, but rather condemns us.”

    Romans 3:20 “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.”


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