Contend Earnestly: Kill Morality or it Will Be Killing You

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kill Morality or it Will Be Killing You

The continuation of this post title could really include, "...and you will kill others." This quote is a play off of John Owens famous words from "Mortality of Sin" when he states to "kill sin or it will be killing you" and has a real bent on daily sins that need to be dealt with. What I have noticed, and what many of our contemporaries have noticed, is that there is a real bad case of Pharisaical Gospel boxed up and disguised within a moralistic good doer mentality. The gospel means "good news" not "good men." But what happens is that instead of there being any good news within the gospel one is just taken from being trapped in sin to being trapped in rules and regulations for those who want to be called sanctified and mature.

The more I find out the clarity of the cross, the more I realize that it isn't the man that proves sanctification, but the God/man. He is the one who proves everything that has to do with redemption and sanctification. Some love to call people to Lordship salvation, but are really disguising what they deem to be under Lordship through their daily rules that their followers must adhere to (not saying I don't believe in Lordship salvation, just saying people don't understand what it truly means). The problem within this is that this discredits our Lord in heaven and his work that he accomplished while he was here on this earth. What this discredits is every aspect of the redemptive plan and it is one that continually needs to be poked at, prodded at, made fun of and completely discredited. If not, your moralism will kill you and then kill others.

Moralism Kills, The Gospel Resuscitates

If you are a Christian, do you realize that you have been saved from your works, not to your works? You have been saved to realize that your works are crap and worthless, but the work of our Christ was, is and will be perfect. Once you start making rules of when you should study the bible, how much church you should attend, how many worship songs you should sing, how long you should pray, which movies you shouldn't watch, which people you should protest, which political party you should relate to, and you base these off of the thought that this is what any good Christian ought to do, you have failed redemption. You have just aligned yourself with the Pharisees. You have just put forth what one must adhere to that isn't found in the bible. You are no different than a Jew who made many rules to adhere to the fake, hate filled Israelite god of the Old Testament Jews. Now...I am not being a heretic here. The true God is found in the Old Testament, but usually only in the mouths of the prophets and rarely found in the practice of the Jewish people. Their acts are what made people think that the Jewish, Old Testament Yahweh was hateful and required good works for salvation. This wasn't the case. The God of the OT is the same God found in the face of Christ in the New Testament, who didn't call the righteous, but the sinner to his side.

The question isn't "is this true" but the question is "why don't you believe this true with your crappy works that you have set up for yourself?" Paul said the same thing to the Galatians:

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
Galatians 3:1-3

Same thing with us. If you believe in Sola Gratia and Sola Fide, why do you go back to your works for salvific proof or sanctification purposes? You begun with faith in the Christ, do you now leave him behind and do everything yourself? How about you start living like the Christ actually died on the cross and rose again for your sins? Our works should only be driven by our love for the Christ, not the love of our flesh and self gratifying crappy ideals. Stop with your lists of labor thinking it gains you anything. Start living for the risen Christ, understanding that he paid it all and nothing you do can gain you anything, besides more love for Christ. If your works start feeling like a painful experience of unwanted slavery, you probably aren't working for the right reasons:

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:3

Moralism Kills You, Then Those You "Love"

This is why I write this post. If you want to live some burdensome crappy life where you can't be loved by Christ unless you read the Bible and pray at 5am, that's cool for you. The reason I care is because your stupid thoughts and actions will then end up killing someone else. You will try to win people to your stupid "gospel." I still don't know how it is good news to anyone where they now have to quit everything, wear a suit in public and only drink kool aid...but whatever...Maybe Jesus actually meant it when he said he came to bring the good news of salvation.

He said the same thing to your kin, the Pharisees:

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
Matthew 23:13-15

You see, it was bad enough that Jesus came and tried to just stay near sinners, but the Pharisees wouldn't leave him alone and followed him around trying to get him to trip, trying to lure away his followers and find Christ in sin. Sounds a lot like some other pastors these days...always trying to find fault in other brothers who preach the gospel trying to win people to Jesus, instead of their morals.

Jesus put it bluntly, he could have just said, literally, "leave me the hell alone" but he said in another way that was far worse:

And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Mark 2:17

Jesus says, if you can do it yourself through your works, you don't need me. Leave me alone, I came to save those who know they are sinners in total need for a Saviour for the rest of their lives, not just a one time penance prayer.

Jesus preached, loved and redeemed the sinner to his side so many times it cost him his life. Morality kills you first, then it kills others...and it killed our Christ. No doubt did God bring about good from his predestined plan of the cross, but moralism is what drove him there. The Pharisees thought themselves the highest morally and wanted to drive other people to their side and their morals instead of to God and to his redemption. The Pharisees couldn't handle someone else coming and releasing the sinner of the chains of slavery to moralism, so they wanted him dead.

If you notice, anyone who calls people to the grace of God continually, will be called someone who is an antinomian and believes one can sin all they want to without care. Not true. We preach that the works of Christ are enough, and all my works earn me jack, they only are done for the love of the redemption that was given to us in spite of ourselves, not because of ourselves.

So, ask yourself, "why do I do the works that I do?" If they are not done solely out of the love of your Saviour, you are doing them for the wrong reasons. You should preach this, practice this and teach this so much that people think you believe one can sin all they want to so that grace can abound. If people are asking this question, they also do not understand the life that has been transformed by the gospel. Know that your works will never gain you anything besides a smile on your face and maybe on the face of the ones you help.

Love Jesus more, love your works less and know that you are just as despicable as you were when you were saved, but because of the righteousness that you have been clothed with because of Christ, you are seen as perfect. Now, live like you care.

When you do this, this verse actually makes sense:

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men"
Colossians 3:23

The term "men" includes you...stop working for yourself and for others and start working because of the deep gratitude of the cross.


Chris Cole said...

This is a recurring problem for orthodox Christianity. Paul addresses a legal Gospel in Galatians. And I am currently studying what is called the Marrow Controversy in 18th-Century Scotland. At that time, the Church of Scotland had been widely infected with formalism. A minister named Thomas Boston found a dusty tome on a parishioner's bookshelf, called the Marrow of Modern Divinity, by Edward Fisher (not to be confused with another excellent book by the same name by William Ames). The book took issue with neonomism (the Pharisaism you mention), which added necessary steps to the new birth, devaluing the free grace of God. The evangelicals who adopted the Marrow position, titled by the creative title "Marrowmen", were anathematized as "antinomians" by the CoS General Assembly, and some were eventually deposed. They formed the Associate Presbytery (nicknamed the Secession Church). Boston's edition of the Marrow is available from Amazon (ISBN: 978-1104456153). It's hard to find, even with their search function, but that number will take you directly to it.

Seth McBee said...

Thanks for the info Chris

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