Paul's Passing Thoughts

A Mere COVERING of Righteousness By Christ is a False Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 18, 2019

ppt-jpeg4I was again struck by a quotation from the late RC Sproul that I observed on the internet: “The only way sinners can get past the gates of heaven is by wearing the robes of somebody else’s righteousness…the righteousness of Jesus Christ.” Not only is Sproul a Protestant icon, but this is a mantra we hear often in church circles.

And the statement is a false gospel on its face because it denies a biblical new birth. When Jesus said we must be born again, He was talking about a literal rebirth that makes us literal children of God. Consequently, we are not merely declared righteous; we ARE righteous because of our new state of being.

The true gospel is not a coverup; in fact, Jesus criticized doctrines that He likened to whitewashed tombs full of dead people’s bones. We are not tombs whitewashed by the righteousness of Christ, we are the temples of God in which the fullness of the Trinity dwells. God’s righteousness is not outside of us; it is infused within us by the new birth. And please note, this is not a righteous state of being that enables us to finish our salvation; justification is a one-time and for all time finished work within the believer. So, no, we are not Catholic either; you can save that accusatory drivel. Once you are born again of God you cannot be unborn. And to Catholic and Protestant alike, salvation is NOT a process as both teach. And yes, the born again do move on from the finished work of the gospel. And yes, we build on our faith which is the foundation; we don’t make every day the sabbath and slumber on the foundation.  Faith works through love.

“So, Paul, are you saying that the whole Protestant tradition is a lie?” Yes, that’s exactly what I am saying.

“But Paul, we still sin!” Sigh, please, let’s start using our Bible words. Sinning because we are weak is not the same as sinning because we are enslaved to sin. And by the way, weakness is not sin. Christ was weaker when He was on earth as a man, but He was 100% holy. The “holy angels” are weaker than God, but also 100% righteous. If you are not enslaved to sin, you are holy as your Father in heaven is holy. When you were enslaved to sin you were a “sinner.” As an unbeliever you didn’t sin perfectly, and as a born again believer you don’t obey perfectly. Obviously, someone enslaved to righteousness “purifies himself even as he is pure.” You are pure; you are washed; you are holy; you are to be holy as your Father in heaven is holy.

You are either under grace or under law; under grace is not a covering for remaining under law. Under grace is not a “legal declaration.” How is a legal declaration a “righteousness manifested APART from the law”? As we continue to say, who keeps the law is not the issue; the issue is the law…period. We ARE righteous because we have God’s seed within us, not because someone kept the law perfectly that came 400 years after “The Promise.” If that’s the case, righteousness is of the law and not promise, and the law gives life, not God’s seed. If the law justifies and perfect law-keeping is the standard for justification there is more than one seed. This is Paul’s cardinal point in Galatians chapter 3.

And again, being under grace doesn’t mean we are not obligated to obey the law out of love for God and others. But it’s love that fulfills the law, not participation in church ritual so Jesus’ perfect law-keeping will be imputed to our lives. You cannot dichotomize good works and love; if all of your works are as filthy rags, so is your love.

Nor can you dichotomize righteousness and salvation. If you are saved you ARE righteous, and salvation is either a gift or a loan with salvation doled out on a church installment plan.

Trust me, it’s a gift.

paul

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