Thursday, March 13, 2008

Double Minded Hypocrisy

"Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, 'Yes, yes' and 'No, no'?" (2 Corinthians 1:17)

The majority of what I hear from Christians mouth about salvation is "Yes, yes" and "No, no".

They speak of God's Grace (Jesus Christ) and turn right around and preach works. "Believe and obey". God does His part and you do yours, right?

Wait a minute. I thought you just said it was by grace? "I did". But you said I have to do something. "Yes. You have to obey". Then you've just added works to grace! You're stumbling over the stumbling stone because you simply cannot accept the Grace of God! You explain it in theory but deny it by practice! You say two different things in the same breath! Do I have to work for it or don't I? And if I must work, then what must I do!? What standard of obedience must I live up to? What exactly must I do to be obedient?

Or the more subtle approach most people take is that they really hammer the fact of "If you believe, then you will do good works". If thats true, then why stress it so much? If good works are natural result, then why are you so worried about it?

4 comments:

Bino Manjasseril said...

I think the reason people don't give up on the 'work' thing is because they like to be control freaks. If there is no human part involved in the equation of salvation and living the Christian life, then how do I control others? How do I grow my church? If there is a human component, then we all want to know what that is, so we end up going to others seeking the things we must 'do' to keep up our spirituality.

Joel Brueseke said...

Wow, yes control is a big issue, and the sad thing is that many people with "sincere" hearts don't even realize how controlling they're being. They take concepts such as "works" and "fruit" as 'musts' instead of a part of natural life.

Indeed, I think that even when James said, "Show me your faith without works and I will show you my faith by my works," he wasn't trying to get us to preach works, works, works, but rather was making a point that anyone can "say" they have faith, but faith that is true and alive won't just be "talked about," but is ultimately shown outwardly in what we do.

I even think the church has the concept of "works" wrong. We always seem to apply the word to mean "labor" or "church work." But I think the word means 'action' that encompasses all kinds of things. For example, if I'm hungry, I'll eat. My "work" (action) that shows my hunger to be genuine, will be "to eat." If I "believe" (have faith) that my car is running low on gas, my "work" (action) will be to stop by the gas station and put some gas in it. If I truly have genuine faith in Christ, my life will reflect that in lots of ways (works, outward actions, and even inward thoughts and behavior), but as you say Matthew, if that's true then we don't need to stress the word "works" at all. Any and all of it will be a natural outflow and not a forced, contrived or manipulated action.

I don't want to get people to do works of any kind, thinking that those works are going to get them any closer to Christ! I don't want people to be stuck on "works" when the truth is that being stuck on Jesus is all that is necessary.

Matthew said...

Bino,

I hear ya. I think control is a huge issue. We just can't seem to get it through our heads that the Gospel of Christ is not the power of God to sin, but the power of God to salvation for all who believe. When we use control, we're not putting our faith in the power of God's Spirit. Instead we're relying on ourselves to change peoples behavior rather than relying on God to give them new hearts.

Joel,

bless you brother. You're such an encouragement.

"I don't want people to be stuck on "works" when the truth is that being stuck on Jesus is all that is necessary."

This is exactly what I think God reminded me of the other day while praying. Our faith isn't about what we do for God. It's about knowing Him and being with Him. It's simply being reunited with Him through Jesus' death, burial and His resurrection. Out of that relationship flows whatever God wills to come. Now that is a difficult thing to grasp for me at times.

lydia joy said...

Good thoughts...I was just talking to some people about how you can't balance sin with grace, it has to be pure grace....blank stares....."what you talkin' 'bout Willis?" (anyone remember that show?)
Yeah, I came out of a legalistic church that bought into the doctrine of indwelling sin big time, and we were supposed to believe in grace, yet we were our own worst enemies due to our indwelling sin...talk about confusing.....
It's funny how we can see it confusing and double minded but Christians who haven't gotten the revelation of grace are puzzled as to why we think we are free from works....surely we have to do something......you must be a heretic!!!