What if i told you that you didn’t have to do anything to be saved?
What if i told you that Jesus already did everything necessary for you to be saved?
What if i told you that your good deeds add nothing to your salvation?
You might call me crazy
You might call me insane
You might call me a heretic
But if you do, i take pride in that name.
Because i can’t really be a heretic if what i say is biblical. It’s like Pope Leo telling Martin Luther to recant his teachings; “here I stand, I can do no other.”
(Forgive me for my lyrical excursion there for a moment, but I’m tossing around a new album idea.)
The church has been taken over with a works-based form of salvation. Even “biblical” churches overemphasize what we need to do now and leave what Jesus did in the annals of the past.
I don’t mind people emphasizing synergistic sanctification (working together) as long as they emphatically state the gospel, but when Christianity is summed up as, “God saved you, now you need to get yourself holy,” and the gospel is never mentioned, i want to flip a lid.
This is a do-do understanding of Christianity.
The children whom God has placed in my life, because I’m dating their mother, use the word doo-doo to refer to gross things. I love this. It is a perfect word, in so many ways, to describe the form of Christianity so prevalent in our world today.
Unfortunately, and i have been more and more convinced of this since 2015, the majority of modern churches today have destroyed the gospel. Instead of the answer to questions like
- “How do I have eternal life?”
- “How do I have victory over sin?”
- “How do I stay saved?”
being the same resounding, “Believe the gospel!” we come up with all sorts of deceptive lies.
- “Put a filter on your computer.”
- “Don’t be alone with someone of the opposite sex.”
- “Don’t dance, play cards, or drink alcohol.” (to go back to Baptist basics)
- “Stay plugged in to church.”
- “Read the Bible every day.”
- “Believing gets you in; working keeps you in.”
Yes, some people have more sophisticated ways to state these things, but the fact of the matter is that the basic premise is the same. “Belief is not enough.” Now please don’t hear me saying that the above list items are bad things to do, because there is a lot of wisdom in there.
The simple theological truth about salvation and killing sin boils down to a simple syllogism:
- If salvation is monergistic (working alone),
- and if sanctification is part of salvation,
- then sanctification is monergistic.
All i mean by this is that as long as salvation is a work of God alone, which most solid believers will concede, then sanctification does not depend on our work. We will be no more holy whether we work or not.
My righteousness is Christ’s. Christ’s righteousness can’t be changed by my mistakes. If it could, everyone would lose his or her salvation.
The true believer wants to honor Christ. The true believer does not need to be twisted into wanting to honor Christ. The true believer is made to want to honor Christ by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when we do good, it is because of the Holy Spirit–God’s work–and when we fail to do good, it is because of our flesh–our work. I think a better word than synergistic to describe sanctification is antagonistic. The only thing i bring to sanctification is the sin that needs to be put to death.
Paul has something to say about all of this. In essence, “Don’t be a do-do head.” The actual verse says,
Philippians 3:8-9 (HCSB)
More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith.
In reality, we need Christ. If we try to produce good deeds on our own, Paul calls it filth. The Greek word behind it is σκύβαλον. It literally means “poop.”
Seven hundred years earlier, Isaiah said the same thing. Except he used a slightly different analogy.
Isaiah 64:6 (HCSB)
All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.
The meaning behind the words polluted garments is menstrual cloths or used tampons. Paul and Isaiah are both clear. The things we take pride in and look to for righteousness are filthy and disgusting before God.
Our only hope is to place our faith in Christ. He is the one with righteousness for us. He is the one who paid the penalty for our sins. We must place our faith in Him for salvation. We must place our faith in Him to kill our sin. We must place our faith in Him to keep from falling away. The point of Christianity is Christ. Our everything is Him. We bring nothing to the table but the sin from which we need saving.
If we refuse to place our faith entirely and completely in Christ, and if we insist on telling others to be good people without explaining that Christ is their only hope, we are acting like do-do-Heads. We must repent of this and preach Christ’s righteousness alone!
He is worthy!
Don’t be a do-do-Head!
In this with you.
Soli Deo Gloria
Thanks for reading.