God deals with our attitudes today

From Genesis to Revelation, God deals with our attitudes. This is plainly observed in Christ’s sermon on the Mount, where He addresses most of the main sections of the Law and re-institutes them to motives and attitudes (which is why the Sermon on the Mount is also called the “Beatitudes.”). The Law of God is not “reduced” but “internalized” from the act to the attitudes that give way to those acts – because every action (or inaction) that a person does or does not do, begins in his thoughts, which make up his attitudes. Let us example this by taking a piece of the Sermon on the Mount and observing what Jesus tells us with authority…

Matthew 5:27-28                                                                                                                               You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

“Lustful intent” means that such a man is looking upon a woman desiring to have sex with her, and in so doing, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart because he is already desiring to do so. In full examination of this passage, the word “looks” is a verb in the Present Active Participle form, meaning that such a man is continually or constantly looking at a single woman, or every woman he comes into contact with, having the constant desire to sleep with any he can get a hold of. The desire is chosen and began with this sinful attitude. In other words, under the Law of the Old Covenant, sin was committed in an action, under the New Covenant sin is committed simply by the attitude of one’s heart – desiring to do something sinful.

The main point herein is the role one’s attitudes now play in the Plan of Redemption. God had to bring sin into the internal level so that He could deal with sin more generally – through lifestyle – which is an act of His grace. Bringing sin to the level of lifestyle means that those who are in Christ do not have to worry about the occasional sins that we commit from time to time, because if we remain living a lifestyle of walking in obedience to Him, those times of “missing the mark” are covered by the atonement (I John 1:7). This is what God is telling us through John . . .

I John 2:29                                                                                                                                          If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him.

I John 3:9-10                                                                                                                                       No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot practice sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who the children of God are, and who the children of the devil are: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

One who is “practicing righteousness” is one who is living a lifestyle of righteousness, for your lifestyle consists of whatever it is that you practice on a daily to near daily basis. One’s lifestyle includes, among other things, habits, attitudes, and moral standards which dictate the kinds of things one does and does not do. The one who is born of God practices righteousness (that is, practices doing what is right in God’s eyes – which is God’s commandment to love on others), but he will occasionally “miss the mark” from time to time and fall into sin. Because God internalized sin and made it dependant upon an attitude, such occasions of “missing the mark” is not counted against us and is covered and washed by the blood of Christ in the atonement (as long as we are walking in fellowship with God in His Covenant). This is further witnessed to in the following:

I John 4:16                                                                                                                                            So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

“Whoever abides in love…” if you are “abiding” in love, that means that you are walking in love, “abiding” and “walking” mean the same thing, and they both refer to one’s lifestyle of consistent patterns of living. If I am a martial artist then one of the patterns of my lifestyle is routinely practicing the martial arts. If I am a tennis player, then one of the patterns of my lifestyle is routinely practicing, or playing, tennis…etc. If I am in Divine Fellowship with God, then the most outstanding pattern of my life is loving on people, that has become my predominant lifestyle. Moving on, lets see how this plays out with another passage from the Sermon on the Mount…

Matthew 7:21-23                                                                                                                                Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of My Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.”

The first thing we learn from this passage, in taking it piece by piece, is that not everyone who considers themselves to have eternal life will actually have eternal life, for only those who have eternal life will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The only ones who will enter into heaven will be those who obey God…everyone who does not like that needs to put away what they have been previously taught and study the Word of God with their bias lain aside.

Like any good empiricist, we need to study and examine some things here that are implied by the text and story which are not readily read into the text. First, these who are referred to in verse 22 performed miracles (this is Christ telling us the future, so He knows what He is talking about, this is NOT a parable, but a general prophecy). In John 14:12 Jesus tells us that…

John 14:12                                                                                                                                       Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Jesus says that all we have to do is believe in Him and we can perform the same miracles that He was performing. What does that mean? Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, opened blind eyes so that they could see again, healed the lame so that the lame could walk again, etc. All these things we can do if we believe in Jesus. These people in Christ’s sermon were believers – they were performing miracles in Christ’s name…but where were their hearts? Where were their attitudes?

In vain they were “worshiping” the Lord, because they were doing things that they believed He wanted them to be doing, but their hearts were far from Him. In other words, they could not serve two masters…they loved the attention they were getting in working miracles in Jesus’ name, but the attitude of their heart was divided. They were not doing these miracles because they honestly wanted to love on the hurting people by healing them, they were not loving on the people they performed miraculous works on, they were loving the attention, the fame, the eminence. They were not loving on God, they were loving on themselves.

I love my wife, so when she asks me to take out the garbage, I don’t just take out the garbage because it needs to go out, I take it out because my wife asked me to and in doing so I am loving on her. When we love God, we will obey Him not just because we need to do whatever it is that He told us to do, but because He told us to do it and in doing it we are loving on Him…

John 14:15                                                                                                                                           If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

These people were not walking in obedience to God, they were walking in obedience to their own selfish lusts, deceiving themselves into believing that they were walking in Divine Relationship with God. There are prominent men today in the “name it and claim it, blab it and grab it” arena that fall into this group, and I believe there are far more than just they who will be dumb-founded on that day. We still have God’s commandment to walk in obedience to (loving on people), and these folks in verse 22-23 failed to do this, even though they were performing miracles in Christ’s name. They believed, and that faith carried them so far, but not far enough to have gained eternal life. In verse 23 we see that Christ will tell them to depart from Him, because He did not know them, and because they were “workers of lawlessness.”

The Greek word for “know” in this passage is ginosko, meaning “to get to know, to know intimately, to know through personal experience,” and the like. The word implies personal relationship and getting to know someone through acquaintanceship (spending time with one another). This gives us more detail on the passage under consideration…these people believed in Jesus, but they did not enter into a personal relationship with Him, therefore He told them, “I do not know you.” Then He went on to say that they were “workers of lawlessness,” the Greek word for lawlessness being anomia, which does not mean absence of any law, but specifically the “violation of the Law of God.” If there is no law that we are supposed to be obeying today, but just “grace and faith alone,” then Christ would be in error in His prophetic words here by saying that these people were violating the Law of God if there is, indeed, no law that we are supposed to be obeying. Lets go a little deeper, shall we?

Matthew 25:31-46                                                                                                                         When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left.                                                                                  Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.” Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.”                                                              Then He will say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.” Then they also will answer, saying, “Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?” Then He will answer them, saying, “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Jesus is pretty much straight forward here in this text, and may I point out once again that this is NOT a parable, but yet another prophetic statement made by Jesus to a different audience than at the first time He addressed this issue. He is telling us beforehand what will take place in the future, and (once again) this is Christ speaking here. First, notice the criteria for entering into heaven, the Kingdom of God…it is loving on people, and in doing so these were loving on Jesus Himself. This is what some still call “works.” Is faith involved at all in this passage? Not in word, but like many other places in scripture, it is taken for granted that the audience understood this to include faith, therefore it was not explicitly stated in the text.

The presence of faith is obvious, for without faith no one can come to Christ or God, so these in the “sheep” category on Christ’s right hand, those who inherit the Kingdom, have come to God through Christ, by grace and in faith, and have entered into the Covenant Relationship with God and remained until their deaths. How did they remain in that Covenant Relationship with God? They consistently lived a lifestyle of walking in obedience to God, walking in love towards people, loving on people, and in so doing, were loving on God and so God dwelled within them and they were abiding in Him. When we engage the “works vs. faith” argument in these two passages, the only way we can harmonize them and remain within the framework of Scriptural truth, is to make the distinction between “works of the law [of Moses]” and “actions of faith [the law of Christ, the law of the Spirit, the Royal Law].” Even Paul makes this distinction…

Romans 3:27                                                                                                                                   Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.

Paul acknowledges that there are two laws, the law of Moses and the law of faith, and the two are mutually distinctive and separate. Then he also states…

Romans 7:25                                                                                                                                    Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Paul again speaks of the law of God that is not the same law as the law of Moses. He plainly states that he serves the law of God with his mind…his attitudes. Then he speaks further concerning the law of Moses being fulfilled in those who walk in the Spirit, verses the mind of those who walk in the flesh, that their minds cannot submit to the law of God…

Romans 8:4                                                                                                                                        in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:7                                                                                                                                        For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

God is not telling us that here in the New Covenant that the sinful mind is hostile to the law of Moses, He is telling us that the sinful mind is hostile to the law of God set in the New Covenant – that is, the law of the Spirit, the law of faith. And again, Paul states that to the Gentiles (those who are outside of the law of Moses) he assumed the same posture in an effort to witness to them, though he did not go outside of the law of God, the law of Christ – the law of faith. In all these passages, Paul makes a distinction between obedience to the law of Moses (which included more than just God’s law, but also the Talmud and the Mishnah – see earlier posts on this subject) and the law of Christ, the law of God, the law of faith…all of which speak of the same law – the Royal Law, also called the law of the Spirit.

I Corinthians 9:21                                                                                                                             To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.

When comparing Matthew 7:21-23 to Matthew 25:31-46, which group of people do those in Matthew 7:22-23 belong to in Matthew 25:31-46? It is plain that they belong to the group who are on the left, the goats. They did works, they believed in Christ (which is all they had to do according to John 14:12), and they were doing good deeds to people in healing them and so on…but they did not really love on them. If loving on people isn’t from the heart, desiring to love on God in the process, then a person isn’t loving on God, they are only doing the outward motions of love, and though that may count for something, God is looking for those who love Him from their hearts. Love is an attitude…

Matthew 6:24                                                                                                                                   No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other

A man who is not loving God from his heart, demonstrates this kind of attitude: when he sees the hungry homeless on the street corner with his sign in his hand, “HUNGRY,” he pulls out his wallet, pulls out a few dollars or coins, and hands it to the man with the thought in his heart, “I don’t really want to give you my money, but God says to…” This man is not loving on Christ, nor on God, because the attitude and motive in his heart is wrong…it isn’t from a heart of love, but a heart of selfishness. “This is my hard-earned money, but God says…” He only does this “good deed” because he feels he has to in order to get into heaven – which is the wrong attitude to have.

Matthew 24:12                                                                                                                                And because lawlessness will increase, the love of many will grow cold.

Many believe that the above verse is talking about lawlessness as in people ceasing to obey the laws of the land, but that is not what is being spoken of here by Jesus. The Greek word here for lawlessness is the same in Matthew 7:23, anomia, meaning violation of the Law of God – the command to love on people. This is a tautological statement to be sure, but it is nonetheless true. False doctrines have arisen within the Church today that state we don’t have to love on people in order to have “salvation” or “eternal life,” and they are true to a certain extent (remember that salvation is given as a gift in the atonement, and eternal life is given as a promise of the Covenant, neither one can be earned).

However, in order to have eternal life we must fulfill the Covenant obligation of loving people – we do not meet this obligation in order to have eternal life, we meet this obligation in order to remain walking in fellowship with God. This is an attitude, for those who like to argue the point, one can either hold the attitude that he is obeying in order to gain eternal life (which is the wrong attitude), or he can hold the attitude that he is obeying in order to remain in the Covenant Relationship with God, which is the correct attitude. When it comes to attitudes, one can argue from his own point of view and his own attitude, but he cannot argue from anyone else’s attitude or point of view, because he is not capable of knowing another man’s attitude or heart, only God is.

Galatians 5:6                                                                                                                                     For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

This is an awesome passage! Here God is telling us through Paul that neither obedience to the law of Moses (circumcision), nor disobedience (uncircumcision) to the law of Moses means anything, but what counts in God’s eyes is “faith working through love.” In other words, obedience to the faith (Greek pistis – meaning the received articles of the faith; Christianity) being made manifest in loving on people. Even if we just say “faith working through love,” we still have that little four-letter word… “work.” Not faith working through obedience to the law of Moses, but the law of faith being obeyed from a heart of love toward God. Grace is God’s love in action on behalf of man; faith is a man’s love in action toward God. Faith without actions demonstrating true faith, is dead faith…just as actions without love amount to nothing:

I Corinthians 13:1-3                                                                                                                          If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

What is God telling us through Paul here in this passage? He is telling us the right attitude to have in walking in obedience to Him…that our actions towards others reflect loving obedience to Him. If I give the man on the corner some money in any attitude other than, “I want to love on you and help you in your need because in doing so I am loving on God and I want to love on God,” then my actions mean absolutely nothing. Love is the main thing, the main attitude, and it is so important that through the New Covenant God has reduced the burden of obedience upon us by simply making it loving on people…

Romans 13:8-10                                                                                                                              Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Galatians 5:14                                                                                                                                    For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

That is why, in the following passage, the greatest commandment isn’t to “Obey God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind”…but it is to LOVE God:

Luke 10:25-28                                                                                                                                 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you understand it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.

Now, notice that nowhere in this passage does Jesus say anything about believing in Him, why? Because He already said that we must believe in Him in other places. In those places He touched upon belief and faith without mentioning anything about loving God or obedience (John 3:16 for example) – just as here He mentions nothing about believing or faith. Also notice that Jesus is teaching about the New Covenant, He is not teaching the people how to have eternal life under the Old Covenant because eternal life was not a prerogative of the Old Covenant. No where in the Old Covenant was there any promise, blessing, or gift…or any mention of the making available of eternal life to the participants of the Old Covenant. [That is because eternal life was not a part of the Old Covenant, that was not its purpose – its purpose was to give power to the Messiah so that when He came on the scene, He could be empowered through total and complete obedience to the Law (both externally and internally), to be able to set up and inaugurate the New Covenant.]

What Jesus told the lawyer is absolutely true, and anyone who still agrees with “eternal life through faith alone” doctrine is calling Jesus a liar. What is loving God? It is what “faith alone” people call a work. Loving on people in order to obey and love on God is a work, so according to Jesus – the Author and Finisher of our faith – you must “work” in order to gain eternal life. You must love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind (attitude), and failure to do so will put you in the group on Jesus’ left hand when it comes to judgment day. They will be with the goats, not the sheep.

Love surpasses obedience just for obedience sake. In other words, there is obedience to God, and then there is the next highest level of obedience to God – that of loving on God internally as well as externally. Simple obedience to God is external, but loving obedience to God is external and internal, and God desires loving obedience, not simply obedience for the sake of obedience…

Hosea 6:6                                                                                                                                           For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

If we truly love God, then we love on Him by walking in obedience to Him, and those who walk in obedience to Him are those who are abiding in the Covenant…

I John 5:3                                                                                                                                         For this is how we love God, we obey His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.

II John 1:6                                                                                                                                       And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.

Again, His commandments now are to…

I John 3:23                                                                                                                                      And this is His commandments, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us.

John 15:12                                                                                                                                       This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Those who have faith in Christ and love on others…

I John 4:12                                                                                                                                         No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

I John 4:16                                                                                                                                        So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Walking in internal and external love towards people is the command…

I Timothy 1:5                                                                                                                                  The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

And when we love on people with that internal, sincere love, we keep ourselves in that special love of God that is reserved for those who are abiding in Covenant Relationship with Him…in other words, that Father – child relationship love:

Jude 1:21                                                                                                                                       keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

It is obvious that this is a different kind of love because God loves all people, but there is a special familial love when one is in the family of God. When we love on people, thereby loving on God, we remain in God and He remains in us – and when all this is taking place, we have the promised gift of eternal life through the Covenant which we are abiding in through our loving on God…

I John 3:14                                                                                                                                       We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not abide in love, abides in death.

Whoever fails to walk in love towards people, whether they believe or not, as demonstrated in Matthew 25:31-46, still abide in death – the wrath of God still remains upon their heads. This is because “faith alone” doesn’t cut it with God, and contrary to popular belief, God doesn’t tell us through Paul that all we need is faith alone in order to have eternal life. Paul also, along with Christ, teaches that in the end, faith is only one step taken to enter into a relationship with God wherein dwells eternal life, and that one of those other steps we all must take is obedience to God…

Romans 2:6-8                                                                                                                                   He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

“Doing good” is loving on people, which is walking in obedience to God, to The Faith that God sent Christ to inaugurate and establish – Christianity…

Romans 1:5                                                                                                                                     through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience to The Faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,

Romans 16:26                                                                                                                                  but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience to The Faith,

Also, God through the Apostle Peter also acknowledges the importance of obedience to God…

I Peter 1:22                                                                                                                                       Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

What is the truth? It is the truth of the faith, the truth of the gospel, the truth that draws one to eternal life…

II Thessalonians 2:10                                                                                                                      and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

There are those who will refuse the truth and cling to lies, doctrines of demons, and the teachings of deceived men rather than what the Scriptures plainly tell us. When we come right down to it, we love God by walking in obedience to Him, and only those who love Him will He grant to have eternal life (regardless of whether or not they said a “sinner’s prayer,” regardless of them believing in Christ)…

James 1:12                                                                                                                                          Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

James 2:5                                                                                                                                           Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

Yes, if “works” are something that we do not need to worry about, because all God requires from us is faith in Christ, then why does Jesus teach excessively on works, both in His earthly ministry and then at both the beginning and end of His Revelation to John?

Revelation 2:19                                                                                                                                   I know your works; your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.

It is interesting that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, designates both love and faith as “works,” as well as commending them because their latter works of love and faith were exceeding their levels of when they first began. If works do not matter, as some like to teach (in error), then if Christ said anything at all about works in the Revelation, it would seem that He would be be-rating them for doing works that do not matter for anything. But then part of His final words at the end of Revelation, that He is coming soon and that He will be rendering to every man according to his works, whether that be reward, or punishment…totally depending on what we have done – not what we have believed.

Revelation 22:12                                                                                                                              And, behold, I come quickly; and I bring with Me every man’s misthos, to render to every man according to his works.

In the end, all of this is neatly rehearsed in the Law of the Spirit…

Romans 7:6                                                                                                                                       But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Today we serve God according to the new way of the Law of the Spirit, not according to the old way of the law written on stone tablets. What is the law of the Spirit? It is walking in the Spirit, and walking in the Spirit means that we are walking in love towards those around us, meeting their needs whenever we have the means to do so. There is a law to follow today, we are held to walk in obedience to God in loving on people if we desire to enter into and remain in that Covenant Relationship with Him, wherein dwells the promise of eternal life. It is not just “faith alone,” but “faith working through love.”

There is no way to get around that Scripturally, and those who teach “justification by faith alone” do not understand what they are teaching – they do not understand the Scriptures, they do not understand theology, and they do not understand how to properly interpret the Scriptures according to biblical hermeneutics. Cumulatively, this means that they can never fully understand God’s Word, and when they are supposedly teaching God’s Word, they are teaching false doctrines and will be held accountable for all the lives they were responsible for helping send into an eternity without God.

It doesn’t matter if one learned this false teaching from a person who has a Doctorate in Theology… that means nothing, for if this “theologian” has a head-knowledge only, and is void of the Spirit, then it is impossible for him to come to an understanding of the intended meaning of the Scriptures with his carnal mind. A man who is not abiding in the Covenant does not have the indwelling Spirit if God, which means that he cannot understand the things of the Spirit because they are only discernible by the Spirit showing him what the Scripture means. The indwelling of the Spirit is a gift of the Covenant.

Justification by faith alone is indeed correct, because justification is one of the elements of the atonement in Christ’s blood, and it only comes through faith. But where many people go wrong is that they erroneously believe that justification means one automatically has eternal life. None of the elements of the atonement (Righteousness, Justification, Holiness/sanctification, Reconciliation, Redemption, and Salvation) are for the purpose of automatically giving eternal life – they are for the express purpose of cleansing and forgiveness required so that we may enter into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. Without the atonement, we cannot enter therein, which means that we cannot enter into relationship and fellowship with God, wherein abides eternal life.

All of this depends upon one’s attitude…do we obey God so that we are meeting the obligations of remaining in Covenant Relationship with God? Or are we obeying God in order to gain eternal life? The person God is looking for cares not for gaining eternal life, because if that is a person’s motivation, then that person will never truly love on God. When you were a teenager, did you make friends with the guy who had a car because your motivation was to be able to get around, or was it just because you wanted to have so-and-so as your friend?  God will not be used, neither will He be mocked. If we do not want God just because He is God, then all your arguing is for naught – because the very prize you are trying to get out of God will never be given to you…

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About newcovenantunderstanding

Dr. Dave A. Schoch, Th.D., New Testament Studies email: dkschoch@sbcglobal.net
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