Sunday, October 16, 2005

# 98: Grace, Faith, and Obedience

Ephesians 2:8-10: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God–(9) not by works, so that no man can boast. (10) For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do GOOD WORKS, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” [emphasis added]. I am that certain every Christian knows these famous verses, for they are the foundation of our faith. And yet, there are some who take verse 8 and 9 in a verbatim fashion but fail to apply verse 10 to the equations. Ignoring verse 10 does a massive amount of damage, to say the least, to the understanding of the message Apostle Paul is attempting to get across to his readers. This is the distorted outcome: We think that since we are saved by grace, no way remains for us to better our standing with God. But there is: obedience. “. . . to do good works which God has prepared for us to DO.” In other words, “faith” is a word with many implications. Here is one of them: “Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.” Romans 1:5. Let me delete all but the important sections of this verse and therefore condense what it says: “. . . we received GRACE . . . to the obedience that comes from FAITH.”

If no obedience comes from that grace-given faith—as to what is required by the New Testament—then that in itself would say there is no faith, and grace is nullified. To rephrase that statement: grace, obedience and faith cannot be separated. Delete any one of those three components and salvation is nullified, and the effect in one’s life will be zero. Yes, grace that comes through faith, and obedience that comes from faith are extremely important aspects to understand and the most basic principles to apply to our everyday lives. In fact, there are just about as many New Testament Bible verses that mention the words “obedience,” “obedient,” “obey,” or “obeying” as there are verses that mention grace and faith.

Isn’t it funny how organized churches may preach on faith and grace, etc., but the emphasis on obedience to all that the New Testament requires is not mentioned very often, if at all? Why is that? That is my mission: to expose the Christian religion’s fallacies that are sending multitudes to you-know-where. As I have said many times in this blog, the reason is that humans in general don’t desire to be challenged with difficult—if not seemingly impossible—requirements to live by. We would rather be told that the Christian walk is like going down primrose path. Therefore, churches who skillfully preach and teach this easy theology to naive parishioners end up becoming extremely popular, and sometimes turn into mega-churches. That is the main reason this blog will never win a popularity contest. That is okay. My primary privilege, joy and duty to whomever is to explain why certain hard-to-live-by New Testament verses must be included in our understanding of what the Christian life consists of, and leave the rest up to God.

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