We have early learnt that salvation is from sins. We expect to be free from sins when we experience salvation. Anything short of that is not the true gospel. Secondly we saw that it is Jesus that saves people from their sins. That was one of his key work and mission. Therefore anyone who wants to be free from his sins has to encounter Jesus one way or the other and trust Jesus to save him from his sins. It’s like drowning in an ocean and the rescue team comes and pulls/saves you out of the ocean.
We also we were drowning in the ocean of our sins but Jesus came rescued us out of it. The main point is that it is either you have met Jesus who came that He might save you from your sins as you trust Him or you have not met Him so you are still in your sins. Both slavery to sin and freedom to sin cannot coexist at the same in a single life. So this talk of being saved by grace and license to sin at the same time does not make sense at all. It shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion. In fact for someone to think like that just show that he/she is satisfy with being in bondage to sin rather than trusting in God’s grace in Christ Jesus to save him/her. In fact it shows that he/she does not appreciate Jesus and what he came to do for us. I am so glad Jesus saved me from my sins. It was an actual movement/translation from the mud of my sin into the righteousness of God. So in salvation an actual migration took place which makes it impossible for anyone to exist in the world of sin and the world of life at the same time. We are dead to sin but alive to God. This is the reality of a true Christian who puts his faith in Christ. I am going to leave this point for now so I can move into this next balance in truth.
I want us to look at the question “what does our salvation depends on? Another way to look at it is “what does the righteousness of God given to us depends on? The answer to this question will define for us what to put our faith in or what we should give our attention/devotion to. Scripturally speaking there are two paths presented to us of which only one is God’s ordain path. Let’s look at them.
Gal 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified”.
Rom 3:22; “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference”.
From this scripture we see that people trust/rely on one of the following to obtain and to keep their salvation or God’s righteousness.
- The first one is the works of the law or let’s call it what an individual does or fails to do. We can also call it man’s external performance, rituals and ceremonies. Here the focus is on man and the trust is in what the man does.
- The second one is the faith of Jesus Christ which calls us to believe in Jesus Christ. We can also call this union with Jesus Christ which the scripture defines as being in Christ or being joined to Christ Jesus. Using a very common term that anyone should understand it means a graceful, love driven and harmonious relationship with Jesus Christ.
So from this scripture it is clear that our salvation/God’s righteousness given to us does not depend on our works of the law/external performance but on our union with Jesus Christ or our faith in Christ Jesus. It is from that union that good works are produced. (Ephesians 2:10). This is why the Christian faith defers from the religions of men. The true Christian faith glories and pride herself in the lord (1 Cor. 1:31). In other words we glory in being married to Jesus. We glory in being in a graceful, love driven and harmonious relationship with Jesus and that union then bear the fruit of good works in our lives. So our union with Christ or our being in Christ is the foundation upon which our salvation/God’s righteousness given to us rest. Hence the key admonition of Barnabas to the new believers in Antioch was for them to cleave to or remain in the lord.
Act 11:22 “Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch”.
Act 11:23 “Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord”.
Now there are at least two incomplete truths along this line that I am aware of.
- The first one is the hyper grace movement that says we are the righteousness of God irrespective of how I live. In order words hyper grace leaves out of its teaching the fruits of good works that our relationship with Jesus is supposed to produce for God’s enjoyment/pleasure. Rom 7:4; Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Even in natural marriage, couples expect fruits/children from their union.
- The second incomplete truth is the attempt of some to correct the hyper grace so they say what you do matters. Why the intent is sincere because they seek to introduce the fruit element of salvation, it was said in an incomplete way. It is clear from scripture that salvation is without the deeds of the law.
Rom 3:21 “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets”;
In fact the Holy Spirit conclusion is that:
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28).
So the deeds of the law/ human external performance are completely excluded from the matters of justification. It is not faith in Christ plus the deeds of the law. It is this admixture that the saints in Galatians where guilty of. And from the epistle to the Galatians it is obvious that Paul was not pleased with them neither was the lord who Paul represents. In fact he tagged such admixture to be moving away from Him that called us into the grace of Christ. So he said to them:
Gal 1:6 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel”.
Gal 3:3 “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
So just as scripture has concluded, the righteousness of God is apart/independent of the deeds of the law/human religious and external performance. It stands totally on faith in Christ. And it is from that union with Christ that we bear the fruits of good works that we are ordain to bear unto God.
So following the admonition of Barnabas let us cleave to the lord with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind and all of our might. This should be our devotion and this is where our faith should be in. It should be what I glory in. Then fruits of goods works corresponding from such a union will outflow from our lives.