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    Senior Member disciple's Avatar
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    Default Does anyone disagree with this?

    The following is from R.C. Sproul


    What do our good deeds have to do with our salvation?
    From one perspective our good deeds have absolutely nothing to do with our salvation; from another perspective they have everything to do with it. This is the core debate that has been raging among Christians ever since the Protestant Reformation.
    I am persuaded that our good deeds never merit salvation. To merit salvation would mean to earn it or to deserve it. The deeds would have to be so good, so perfect, with no mixture of sin in them, that it would impose an obligation upon God to grant us salvation. I believe that the New Testament is abundantly clear that none of us lives a life that is good enough to earn salvation. We receive God's salvation while we are sinners (Eph. 2:1-6). That's why we need a Savior, an atonement—and why we need grace.
    People often say, "Nobody's perfect." We all agree on that. But not one person in a thousand realizes how significant that statement is. Somehow they think that God is going to grade on a curve and "as long as my life is less sinful than somebody else's, then relatively speaking it's good enough to make it into God's kingdom." We forget that God requires perfect obedience to his law, and if we fail to obey him perfectly, then we're going to have to look elsewhere for a way to get our salvation. That's where Christ comes in. Christ makes his merit available to us. When I trust him by faith, then his righteousness becomes my righteousness in the sight of God. So it's his good work that saves me and that saves you—not our good works.
    Nevertheless, in a response of gra***ude we are called to obey. Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Martin Luther taught that justification is by faith alone. But he expanded the concept by saying that justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. A person who is truly trusting Christ and resting on Christ for redemption receives the benefits of Christ's merit by faith. But if that person has true faith, that true faith will manifest itself in a life of obedience. Simply put, I get into heaven by Jesus' righteousness, but my reward in heaven will be distributed according to my obedience or the lack of it.







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    Quote Originally Posted by disciple View Post
    The following is from R.C. Sproul


    What do our good deeds have to do with our salvation?
    From one perspective our good deeds have absolutely nothing to do with our salvation; from another perspective they have everything to do with it. This is the core debate that has been raging among Christians ever since the Protestant Reformation.
    I am persuaded that our good deeds never merit salvation. To merit salvation would mean to earn it or to deserve it. The deeds would have to be so good, so perfect, with no mixture of sin in them, that it would impose an obligation upon God to grant us salvation. I believe that the New Testament is abundantly clear that none of us lives a life that is good enough to earn salvation. We receive God's salvation while we are sinners (Eph. 2:1-6). That's why we need a Savior, an atonement—and why we need grace.
    People often say, "Nobody's perfect." We all agree on that. But not one person in a thousand realizes how significant that statement is. Somehow they think that God is going to grade on a curve and "as long as my life is less sinful than somebody else's, then relatively speaking it's good enough to make it into God's kingdom." We forget that God requires perfect obedience to his law, and if we fail to obey him perfectly, then we're going to have to look elsewhere for a way to get our salvation. That's where Christ comes in. Christ makes his merit available to us. When I trust him by faith, then his righteousness becomes my righteousness in the sight of God. So it's his good work that saves me and that saves you—not our good works.
    Nevertheless, in a response of gra***ude we are called to obey. Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Martin Luther taught that justification is by faith alone. But he expanded the concept by saying that justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. A person who is truly trusting Christ and resting on Christ for redemption receives the benefits of Christ's merit by faith. But if that person has true faith, that true faith will manifest itself in a life of obedience. Simply put, I get into heaven by Jesus' righteousness, but my reward in heaven will be distributed according to my obedience or the lack of it.






    I am in agreement essentially with what he is saying here, except in one point, in which I wish I could have a very deep conversation with Dr. Sproul about it. The point concerns this statement:
    We forget that God requires perfect obedience to his law, and if we fail to obey him perfectly, then we're going to have to look elsewhere for a way to get our salvation.
    Now, don't get me wrong here, I am not disagreeing with God requiring perfect obedience to His law. What I disagree with is the idea that perfect obedience to the law is the merit that earns salvation. Heb. 7:19a "For the law made nothing perfect."
    So then, what made Jesus the Son in whom the Father was well-pleased? The way I read the NT it had to be one (or both) of two things: (1) Who He was - the eternal Son of God, and (2) His perfect trust in the Father (i.e. His faith), which obviously had to do with His humanity. It is far too extensive to get into this in a forum, but suffice it to say that Jesus lived by faith because His flesh veiled His divinity - Heb. 10:20, and the obedience He learned (Heb. 5:8) was the obedience of faith in the time of trial. (Rom. 16:26).

    According to Romans, Galations, Hebrews, and elsewhere, the basis of our relationship with God is faith, not obedience to law, and this follows that only by faith can we follow Christ into the heavenlies. And since our faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8, et. al.), we must rely on God for everything, including the faith we live by. Therefore, not even perfect obedience to the law can get us into heaven. It simply doesn't happen, ever.

    Jesus' strongest rebuke to His disciples (besides a few times of very bad behavior) was about their lack of faith. Jesus' strongest rebuke to anyone at all was to the Jewish leaders who were the instigators of the idea that righteousness with God is on the basis of obedience to law. This was their greatest deception and their greatest bondage, their own self-righteousness, which is the natural result of that idea. The whole problem with the idea of righteousness by law, or even that perfect obedience to the law could merit salvation, is that belief in such a doctrine motivates people to continually strive for perfection, and this results in self-righteous pride (always, without fail). This is where many Christians have a serious problem that will never be overcome by more "perfect obedience to law." The only way to perfect righteousness with God is perfect faith in Him, and this means that the idea of righteousness by law must be completely abandoned.

    This of course will beg the question "what about the antinomians"? That is, what of those who say that the idea of salvation by faith alone leads to lawlessness? The problem with that idea is that such a person doesn't understand faith of the scripture. "The righteous shall live by faith" is a statement of integrity, not of iniquity. Lawlessness (sin) is a lifestyle of people who do not live by the faith discussed in scripture. To have integrity in the confession of faith, one must live by it. In other words, the faith of scripture is a faith that involves the whole being, and this means that righteous deeds in the sight of God is an outward expression of the faith being lived by, just as Jesus' sinlessness was the outward expression of His faith and who He was. (Rom. 3:31).

    Finally, to dispel the idea of perfection, "Nobody's perfect" (except Jesus Christ) is a perfectly true statement. I don't believe in the idea of "Christian Perfection." Although I said "The only way to perfect righteousness with God is perfect faith in Him," I am not suggesting that any of us could achieve perfection, I was simply making an exaggerative statement as a point, that we must abandon the idea that our obedience to God's law makes us righteous before Him. Therefore, since we are never perfect in this life, we must always exercise faith in Christ's atoning sacrifice for us. There will never be a time when we are perfect enough (even by faith) to not need it.

    One final thing, I have heard Dr. Sproul say (to his credit) that the R.C. doctrine of The Treasury of Merits is probably the most repugnant of all R.C. doctrines to the Protestant. Yet he continues to support the idea (by implication only) of righteousness by law, by saying that there is a Treasury of Merit which is the works of Jesus Christ alone. I might be misunderstanding him, but I don't think so, since he is quoted in the OP saying "Christ makes his merit available to us," which is in the context of merit on the basis of obedience to law. I get the idea that Dr. Sproul has not completely abandoned it. This is why I would like a deep conversation with him.
    TD
    Last edited by tdidymas; 07-13-2017 at 03:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdidymas View Post
    I am in agreement essentially with what he is saying here, except in one point, in which I wish I could have a very deep conversation with Dr. Sproul about it. The point concerns this statement:

    Now, don't get me wrong here, I am not disagreeing with God requiring perfect obedience to His law. What I disagree with is the idea that perfect obedience to the law is the merit that earns salvation. Heb. 7:19a "For the law made nothing perfect."
    So then, what made Jesus the Son in whom the Father was well-pleased? The way I read the NT it had to be one (or both) of two things: (1) Who He was - the eternal Son of God, and (2) His perfect trust in the Father (i.e. His faith), which obviously had to do with His humanity. It is far too extensive to get into this in a forum, but suffice it to say that Jesus lived by faith because His flesh veiled His divinity - Heb. 10:20, and the obedience He learned (Heb. 5:8) was the obedience of faith in the time of trial. (Rom. 16:26).

    According to Romans, Galations, Hebrews, and elsewhere, the basis of our relationship with God is faith, not obedience to law, and this follows that only by faith can we follow Christ into the heavenlies. And since our faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8, et. al.), we must rely on God for everything, including the faith we live by. Therefore, not even perfect obedience to the law can get us into heaven. It simply doesn't happen, ever.

    Jesus' strongest rebuke to His disciples (besides a few times of very bad behavior) was about their lack of faith. Jesus' strongest rebuke to anyone at all was to the Jewish leaders who were the instigators of the idea that righteousness with God is on the basis of obedience to law. This was their greatest deception and their greatest bondage, their own self-righteousness, which is the natural result of that idea. The whole problem with the idea of righteousness by law, or even that perfect obedience to the law could merit salvation, is that belief in such a doctrine motivates people to continually strive for perfection, and this results in self-righteous pride (always, without fail). This is where many Christians have a serious problem that will never be overcome by more "perfect obedience to law." The only way to perfect righteousness with God is perfect faith in Him, and this means that the idea of righteousness by law must be completely abandoned.

    This of course will beg the question "what about the antinomians"? That is, what of those who say that the idea of salvation by faith alone leads to lawlessness? The problem with that idea is that such a person doesn't understand faith of the scripture. "The righteous shall live by faith" is a statement of integrity, not of iniquity. Lawlessness (sin) is a lifestyle of people who do not live by the faith discussed in scripture. To have integrity in the confession of faith, one must live by it. In other words, the faith of scripture is a faith that involves the whole being, and this means that righteous deeds in the sight of God is an outward expression of the faith being lived by, just as Jesus' sinlessness was the outward expression of His faith and who He was. (Rom. 3:31).

    Finally, to dispel the idea of perfection, "Nobody's perfect" (except Jesus Christ) is a perfectly true statement. I don't believe in the idea of "Christian Perfection." Although I said "The only way to perfect righteousness with God is perfect faith in Him," I am not suggesting that any of us could achieve perfection, I was simply making an exaggerative statement as a point, that we must abandon the idea that our obedience to God's law makes us righteous before Him. Therefore, since we are never perfect in this life, we must always exercise faith in Christ's atoning sacrifice for us. There will never be a time when we are perfect enough (even by faith) to not need it.

    One final thing, I have heard Dr. Sproul say (to his credit) that the R.C. doctrine of The Treasury of Merits is probably the most repugnant of all R.C. doctrines to the Protestant. Yet he continues to support the idea (by implication only) of righteousness by law, by saying that there is a Treasury of Merit which is the works of Jesus Christ alone. I might be misunderstanding him, but I don't think so, since he is quoted in the OP saying "Christ makes his merit available to us," which is in the context of merit on the basis of obedience to law. I get the idea that Dr. Sproul has not completely abandoned it. This is why I would like a deep conversation with him.
    TD
    Greetings TD,

    Thank you for your well thought out reply. I think in his zeal to make his point, Sproul misspoke concerning perfect obedience to the law as you point out. I think Romans 7:18 tells us where we really are,"For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out."
    How little we realize our total need for grace and mercy.

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    Ephesians 2:8-10 King James Version (KJV)
    8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    Salvation is a free gift. (See Ephesians 2:8) Once we have received the gift, what is required? (See Ephesians 2:10) As long as we continue being a Christian in faith the grace of God shall be upon us.

    If receive a car as a gift and fail to do the proper maintenance then we can expect the car will fail. If this happens and we do the required works on the car , it will continue to function . As we are obligated to maintain the car, we are obligated to follow Christ.
    Be ready to pray, preach or die at a moments notice

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