Paul's Passing Thoughts

If You Don’t Have “A Righteousness of Your Own,” You Are Condemned

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 2, 2015

“And frankly, that’s exactly what Protestantism teaches: that righteousness is on loan from Jesus.”

In vogue among evangelicals is the idea that we have no righteousness of our own. If we lay claim to a good work that pleases God, we must sanctify it with, “It wasn’t I who did it—it was Jesus working through the Spirit.”

To take credit for a good work is to steal the glory from God, and lay claim to a “righteousness of our own.” This idea is rooted in Martin Luther’s alien righteousness. It is the belief that all righteousness remains outside of the believer.

The result is a confused endeavor to do Christianity without doing anything; after all, “The just shall live by faith.” Therefore, Protestantism still struggles in the clarification of how we do Christianity without doing anything; after all, “It’s not about our doing, it’s about what He has done.” Protestantism is fraught with these doing it without doing it truisms.

Actually, Luther and Calvin articulated how the Christian life is done without doing, but Protestantism wouldn’t be any more popular than the Branch Davidians if Protestants knew the true tenets of Protestantism.

But here is the primary problem: Protestantism is a slick works salvation gospel. Basically, it turns doing nothing into a work; you do nothing to keep yourself saved. People assume that doing nothing with intentionality to obtain an objective is not doing anything. In reality, doing nothing is still doing something; it’s a “choice,” and deciding to do something or not do something is doing something in both cases.

The linchpin is Protestantism’s redefinition of the new birth which is redefined as an ability to better see what we can’t do, rather than a new creature who does things because of who we are.

Hence, if we have no righteousness of our own, we are condemned. If you are the least bit familiar with the New Testament, you know of the interpretive duo of “gift” and “reward.” Once you receive a gift, you own it, right? Salvation and the righteousness that comes with it is a GIFT. Rewards come in this life and the life to come as a result of how we put the gift that we now own into use. Primarily, the Bible calls that “love.”

But now think with me for a moment. If something is not a gift, what is it? Right, it’s a loan, and what do we know about loans? Right, you have to pay them back. And frankly, that’s exactly what Protestantism teaches: that righteousness is on loan from Jesus. We have no righteousness of our own; we only have the righteousness of Jesus. The gift of righteousness is really righteousness on loan from Jesus, and we receive the benefits by antinomian faith alone payments (doing nothing).

Let’s clarify the Protestant payments a little more. Because of this construct, Protestants have to categorize works into two categories: works of self-righteousness, and faith alone works. Faith alone works usually consist of praying, faithfulness to church attendance, tithing, and behaving well at church. Works of self-righteousness are pretty much everything else, but particularly thinking that you know something well enough to debate the pastor.

Because Protestantism denies that we own the gift of righteousness, they must now define REWARD as final salvation, and they most certainly do in no uncertain terms. Think about that: the final equation of Luther’s alien righteousness is salvation as reward for living by faith alone. That’s a huge problem.

One of the keys to understanding all of this is Hebrews 6:10,

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.”

Why would it be “unjust” for God to “overlook” YOUR “work”? Because you have earned it. This isn’t complicated: salvation/righteousness is a gift that you can’t earn, but nevertheless this righteousness is part and parcel with your new being, and you are rewarded for how you put it to use for love’s sake.

The conclusion of the matter is simple: Protestantism is a false gospel that circumvents love because we supposedly have no righteousness of our own. It makes ownership synonymous with being the originators of righteousness which also defies the reality of a “gift” as well.



One Response

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  1. A Mom said, on May 3, 2015 at 12:10 PM

    A gift is a good description. However, what is salvation? Is it being convinced that Jesus died & rose again? Is it believing Jesus saves? I think Satan believes this. Could salvation mean more?

    A gift. Is there more to giving & accepting a gift? I think so. I think someone can accept/ take/ bring home a gift, know what it is but put it away & never use it. Say the gift is an inhaler for asthma. Is the person saved by accepting the inhaler & knowing/ believing/ agreeing the inhaler saves, or are they saved when they put the inhaler to good use? When they use it for what it was meant for?

    I think someone can 1. accept a gift & love & use it. I think someone can 2. accept a gift & not ever use it. And someone can 3. reject the gift altogether. I think in America, for the most part, # 2 equals salvation, Calvinist or not. Why? It’s constantly around us that christians who are concerned about life are selfish… afterlife is more important. Sacrifice yourself. This is the opposite of the abundant life message of Jesus.

    A gift can be given in love. A gift can be love. And the gift can be accepted. But accepting a gift doesn’t necessarily mean it’s loved… or even appreciated. It may eventually be thrown in the trash. Maybe the gift is appreciated, but over time it is no longer appreciated & is thrown out. I think that happens.

    “Salvation and the righteousness that comes with it is a GIFT. Rewards come in this life and the life to come as a result of how we put the gift that we now own into use. Primarily, the Bible calls that “love.”” from post

    So – can salvation be merely accepting/ knowing/ agreeing but never appreciating or putting the gift to good use? If so, it seems self-destruction gets a pass, as long as there’s mental acceptance.

    Maybe I misunderstand, but it seems you are saying salvation is accepting the gift. And putting it to use is good/ right but optional/ not necessary. It seems this is like saying someone can like the devil here & go to heaven by the skin of your teeth, but they ain’t getting any high-fives or congrats for it.

    I still can’t see how OSAS makes sense. The reason this is important to me is this; There are people who bet their life on OSAS, to the destruction of themselves & others. They have assurance because they checked in (saved/ believed/ accepted the gift) and can’t check out. That is election. If there is no OSAS, then what we do matters – always.

    The opposite of OSAS isn’t sin sniffing or being terrified or not knowing where one stands, IMO. The opposite of OSAS is knowing the truth, loving it AND living by it. That is assurance.

    I think it’s possible to know the truth, live by it, but reject it at any point in time. I still think it comes down to free-will vs. election.


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