Modern doctrines of the church suggest that doing ANY work is to be avoided. The premise is that one can not earn their way into heaven. That is very true. Yet we must “rightly” divide the word. There are things we MUST do to access God’s salvation. Lets take a look.
Note: I am not advocating works over faith.
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to *hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
*Hear give heed to
In “Answers” I asked a few more questions about the gospel, one was, is the gospel to be “obeyed?” From various sources in the bible, we find some rather pointed clues to this.
Or do you despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But after thy hardness, (rebelliousness) and impenitent (not feeling shame or regret about one’s actions or attitudes) heart lay up treasures unto yourself; wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for:
glory and honour and immortality: eternal life:
Notice the attitude AND the reward.
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,
indignation and wrath,Tribulation and anguish,
upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: (again notice the attitude AND the rewards)
These verse’s are a continuation from the first chapter of Romans, where the apostle begins by saying, So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation ….. to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Note: “The” gospel. “The” is a definite article which defines “gospel” as the one, that is only gospel, the true word of God.
Later in the next chapter he refers to “obeying the truth.” So how is “the truth” and the “gospel” related?
Consider the words of Jesus in John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. This is an excerpt from the prayer of Jesus to his Father shortly before his Crucifixion. This verse among others ties the gospel to God’s word, and to Truth. The gospel IS God’s word and his word IS truth. Paul more clearly states that the gospel and the truth, are one in the same:
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.
Other apostles confirm that obedience to “the word” that is the gospel is to be accomplished.
But be you >doers of the word<, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Now we must put the above scriptures in context. In the first chapter of James, we see the apostle is addressing the issue of temptation and sin. Every man is drawn away by his/her lusts, and when lust is accomplished, it births sin, and sin when it has been begotten, reaps, death. This complies with the edict from the Torah and Prophets, which states, the soul that sins, it shall die.
Eze 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die.
We see also from the first, this dire warning from God to Adam, And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
The principal of first mention.
When we see some precept first mentioned in scripture, it carries the same interpretation throughout. Therefore we see the principal laid out in the first mention of the penalty for sin, that dis-obedience to the word of God carries with it the judgment of death. Now as harsh as it may seem, God was not being mean, rather he was giving warning. He understood that Satan would try to deceive mankind and lure them away from the one true God and into serving himself.
Note: God is bound to his word, that is he judged sin in Satan, he must stay true to his edict, for he is just and he is holy.
Satan is a rebellious son. He hates his Father and wants nothing more than to cause God pain. We feel that pain of the Father each and everytime we feel the conviction of sin. That is why we feel grieved for our sins. God shares his agony for our sins with us through the operation of the Holy Spirit when he convicts us of our sin. Sin is the weapon Satan uses to imprison us and hold us hostage.
Satan uses the lusts which we are subject to by way of mans fall.
- Lust of the flesh
Lust of the eye
The pride of life
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Now is the judgment of this *world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
*All that is of the world, i.e. the prince, of this world, Satan.
It is through sin that we become HIS, that is Satan’s servant and we are under his whip.
*prince, Archon, that is first, chief.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves *servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
*Servant: doulos, slave, to serve, subject to.
By sin Satan seduces us away from our Father in heaven who grieves each time we fall into sin. Satan knows he can not defeat God, but he does know that by destroying we who are the very image of God will cause the Father pain.
Let us all think on that very thing when we contemplate sinning.
We are being USED to hurt our Father in heaven, who so loves us, he sent his son, manifested in the flesh and endured the cruel whip, the nails and mocking on the cross, so that YOU and I could escape the ultimate terrorist, Satan and not be lost forever.
We read that after the fall of man, God instituted a means of salvation. We find it in the story concerning Abel and Cain.
At some point in time we see they both came to make offering to the Lord. Able brought of his flocks and made sacrifice, Cain brought of his gardens. Cain’s offering was rejected by God and Cain was wroth. He blamed Able for this. First question is why was his offering rejected? When Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden, God made coats for them to hide their nakedness. Nakedness had now become the symbol of sin. Remember the principal of first mention. For when they first sinned, the first thing they noticed was they were naked. To make the coats for their covering, God had to slay an innocent animal, most likely a sheep to cover them. This covering was a type signifying the blood that would be shed for all people to cover their sins, through Jesus.
Again, the principal of first mention.
Therefore it is evident that on the occasion that people made sacrifice or offering to God in remembrance of the original sin and their being born into sin, they made this offering. It was that blood had to be shed for the remission of that sin.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
In the Torah, we find these principals instituted. These also pointed to the Messiah which would come, who was to become the more perfect sacrifice. So we see that Cain offered unto God the works of his hands, while Able offered to God that which God had provided.
The lesson here is that salvation can not be by the works or labor of our hands, it must be by the Grace, i.e. The mercy and provision of God himself.
This is why understanding the gospel of John 3 is so important. God sent HIS only begotten Son to be that sacrifice. It is the grace by way of the provision of God himself. Remember the words of Abram as he took Issac to the top of mount Moriah, “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:. How true these words which showed the purpose of the coming Messiah.
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that
>obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that
>obey not the gospel of God?
Even absent of the preceding verses I mentioned earlier, these two alone should capture our attention. For here we have in no uncertain terms the truth. The gospel must be obeyed. Those who do not will suffer. If God would come down as he did and endure the horror of the cross, should we not be obedient to the cross and its message, the gospel?
Next: Gods provision for salvation. His plan revealed from the beginning.
In the next post, we will look at the tabernacle in the wilderness as a pattern for God’s plan to redeem his creation.