Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Our Sole Responsibility - Chuck Smith

Source :Why Grace Changes Everything by Chuck Smith
http://www.ccdowney.com/one_accord/uploads/pdf/whygracechangeseverything.pdf

The message of the New Testament is simple, direct, and unmistakable. We are
saved by God's grace through faith alone, not on the basis of any good works we
have  done.  The  sole  responsibility  of  a  Christian  is to  believe  in the love  and
grace which God freely offers.
This clear message stands in sharp contrast to the teachings of those who want
us  to  trust  in  Christ  and  obey  certain  rules  or  practice  certain  rites.  These
teachers  call their message  a  gospel,  but it isn't  really good  news  at all.  They
claim that in order to be acceptable to God, we need to do adequate works. Law
and  works  are  placed  side  by  side  with  grace  as  a  two-part  ticket  to
righteousness. Contrary to these teachers, however, the New  Testament insists
that it is  not law  and  works that justify,  but  God's  grace and  our  response  of
faith.
We are faced with a classic either/or situation. Righteousness must either  come
by faith in Christ alone, or by a perfect keeping of God's law. Right standing with
God  by  faith  or  salvation  by  works  are  mutually  exclusive.  When  we  seek
righteousness  before  God,  we  must  make  our  choice  and  not  look  for  some
compromising middle ground.
Abraham  was  a  man  who  simply  believed  God,  and  God  accounted  him
righteous. We stand on the same ground as Abraham and are heirs of the same
blessings and  promises that  he  enjoyed.  This  place  of privilege  comes  only  by
faith,  not  by  obedience to  a  code  of  law  or  a  set  of  rules.  If  we  seek  to  be
righteous before God by our works, rather than by faith, we find ourselves under
a curse. There are no exceptions to this rule.
If we look to the law as our hope of assurance before God, the only way we can
know security is to keep every commandment flawlessly. As Paul wrote, "Cursed
is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the
law to do them" (Galatians 3:10). This means we could never really know if we
were saved until we died, and who can live with that kind of pressure?
Imagine  that  you  lived  a  perfect  life,  keeping  every  commandment,  never
committing  a  wrong  action.  One  day,  you  decide to  cross the  street  while the
walk sign is lit. Suddenly,  some driver  runs the red light and  strikes you down.
As you watch his car's transmission pass over your head, you raise your fist and
your parting words before leaving this world are your assessment of this idiot's
driving  habits.  In  that  one  small  act,  you  missed  the  mark.  You  fell  from
perfection. You sinned - and the Bible says the wages of sin is death.
You may be able to keep nine of God's commandments perfectly, but if you fall
short on number ten,  you've missed the target. You have  sinned. And the badnews is, unless you keep the whole law and do all that is written in it, you are
guilty. It doesn't matter which law you violate; just one failure puts you out.
Therefore,  you don't  stand a  ghost of  a  chance  of being  declared  righteous  on
the  basis  of  your  goodness.  You  are  already  out.  You've  already  missed  the
mark. All you can expect is the curse of the law.  Justification by  good works is
impossible because it  relies on imperfect  human  effort.  Legalism is the  way  of
the curse.
Conversely, the  avenue  of true  righteousness  and  blessing is the  way  of faith
because it relies not on your effort but on God's great mercy and abundant grace
toward you in Jesus Christ. Though you have missed the mark - though you have
utterly failed to be righteous  by your own efforts - God has justified, you in His
Son.  Jesus took  the  responsibility  for  your falling  short  of  God's  standard  and
paid the  penalty that  you  owed  but  could never  pay. He  gives you  His  perfect
righteousness if  you  will just  believe  in  Him  and  place  your faith in  Him. And
now, being made  right with  God through  Him,  you  are  a beneficiary  of  all the
wonderful blessings of God.

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