The following is from my friend Edward Fudge. This important teaching came to me in the latest issue of Edward’s popular gracEmail. If you are not a subscriber, follow the link and subscribe for interesting family news and great teaching from a great man of God.
Someone asks how we may ever be assured that we are right with God, since our lives are always imperfect and none of us is without sin.
The gospel weaves a three-fold cord to wrap the gift of peace with God. These three strands are faith, grace and certainty, and Paul connects them in Romans 4:16. God’s promised salvation “is by FAITH,” the apostle tells us. That means we must trust God for it, because it rests on the performance of our Savior and representative, the Lord Jesus Christ. This salvation by faith is “in accordance with GRACE,” Paul continues.
It is God’s undeserved gift from first to last. And because God’s favor to sinners does not depend on anything he sees in us, but in his own character of love and mercy which he demonstrated in Jesus Christ, Paul assures us that the divine promises of forgiveness and acceptance are “CERTAIN to all those who are of faith.” The fulfillment of God’s promises depends only on God who promised. Too much so-called “gospel” preaching has been anything but gospel. Instead, it has been warmed- over, legalistic, man-centered, Phariseeism with a fresh slate of characters and a new set of rules. Praise God that is changing in many places, as the fresh winds of the Holy Spirit are bringing gospel revival and a new focus on Jesus Christ.
We have long SUNG the gospel, in hymns such as “Jesus Paid it All” and “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less than Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness” — even when the sermons have said something quite different. I thank God that he has spared me to see the same gospel message proclaimed boldly and without compromise from many pulpits across the land as well. And I praise him for every opportunity to be among those sounding out that proclamation of the everlasting gospel as we await the second advent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13
Have you read the third and fourth chapters of Romans? I will gently remind you that perhaps tens of thousands have been baptized in water, confirmed, received communion, and many other religious rituals and rites and never put their trust in Jesus Christ. Why would anyone not think that many of those who cry out Lord, Lord in Jesus warning in Matthew 7 had not been baptized? The “doing” of man is never as important as the “done” of God in Christ.
Biblical faith is always a faith that obeys. However, going to church, giving, praying, and yes, even being baptized is not surety that a person is trusting in Christ.
On another blog (one of many where you have put forth this idea, the only topic you seem to care about based on many comments on blogs…) you said this.
“It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13
A law has been added to the law after Jesus’ crucifixion so that your salvation from the penalty of eternal death can only be secured by the faith of obeying this added law and be baptized into it.
The assumption that the crucifixion of Jesus is a death caused by bloodshed which is in place of yours is in error. There cannot be a direct profit to anyone by the commission of the sin of murder caused by bloodshed. However a change has made to the law after Jesus’ crucifixion to make your salvation predicated upon your faith to obey God this Way. The Acts 2:38 command can only be obeyed by the faith of confessing directly to God that you are sorry Jesus’ life was lost by bloodshed when he was crucified. Those who accepted this message and were baptized into this Way of faith and were added to the Church of the Firstborn which the Lord Jesus is the head. But the truth of God that the crucifixion of Jesus is an accountable sin by law has been exchanged the lie that Jesus died in your place. Everyone who believes this lie does not give God the confession he has demanded by Jesus’ crucifixion as a sin. Therefore they are not born again of God no matter how many sins they confess or how times they are baptized.”
You said it and you were dead wrong. “However a change has made to the law after Jesus’ crucifixion to make your salvation predicated upon your faith to obey God this Way.” I don’t know where you got that but it was not from the Bible. No place in the Bible are sinners told to put their faith in baptism. You are elevating the act of baptism to a place of more importance than the Savior it symbolizes in my view. In your statement above you contradict the plain teaching of Scripture. You said, “The assumption that the crucifixion of Jesus is a death caused by bloodshed which is in place of yours is in error. There cannot be a direct profit to anyone by the commission of the sin of murder caused by bloodshed.” You might want to read your Bible a bit more before saying something that wrong.
See Isa. 51:4 “for a law shall proceed from Me.”, Heb. 7:12 “a change also of the law” and Rom. 5:20 “The law was added so that the trespass might increase.”
And NEVER have I said that it is baptism in and of its self that saves anyone as you alledge. But no person will ever be saved by believing that he is a direct beneficary of the sin of murder of any man especially the murder of the only begotten son of the Living God. And I suppose that you will even say the his crucifixion was not the sin of murder.
Acts 2:23 shows that Jesus’ death was both the predetermined plan of God, and murder.
Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:22, Hebrews 2:9, Hebrews 9:15, and 1 Peter 3:18 are a few of the passages that stand in stark contrast to what you are saying about the death of Jesus. The 1 Peter passages says:
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit”. This passage makes it so very clear saying “the righteous for the unrighteous..”. That Jesus died “for” us means he died as our substitute. Why on earth do you think Jesus freely gave his life, for his own sins?
Mr Jones left another comment but it made no sense to me so I decided to end the thread here.