Sunday, 26 January 2014

Double Righteousness etc. (continued)

I wish to continue yesterday's post, which was concerned with the issues of tithing and blasphemy, and then eventually move on to an exposition of the doctrine of double righteousness.  I propose to do this by looking at Ephesians 2:8-10 in order to establish that tithing and other good works in no way contribute anything to salvation.

For by grace are you saved through faith, and this is not by yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works lest anyone should boast. His workmanship are we, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
τη γαρ χαριτι εστε σεσωσμενοι δια πιστεως και τουτο ουκ εξ υμων θεου το δωρον
ουκ εξ εργων ινα μη τις καυχησηται
10 αυτου γαρ εσμεν ποιημα κτισθεντες εν χριστω ιησου επι εργοις αγαθοις οις προητοιμασεν ο θεος ινα εν αυτοις περιπατησωμεν

I would maintain that salvation is by grace, the unmerited loving kindness of God, through faith, which is God given. No good work or act of kindness, or any offerings (including tithes) can earn salvation. Human righteousness, even at its very best, is simply not good enough. It never has been, never is and never will be sufficient to save us.  We are sinners. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are rebels who have no claim or right to be with God, whatever man may say, do or think.

God brings us to faith through the work of the Holy Spirit. He calls us, convicts us and converts us. By faith we receive eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. We receive His righteousness, for our own is but filthy rags, vile in God's holy sight. Salvation is a work of God's grace, and it has nothing to do with tithing or good works, lest we should boast.

Now we may tithe and give generously to God's work, to the extension of His Kingdom, to the spreading of the Gospel and Gospel values. But, as I hope I have made clear, this does not contribute to our salvation at all. 

Having been saved, we are then in a position of grace that enables us to experience the providence of God in our walk with our Lord and Saviour. God has richly provided us with the opportunity to do good works, which may include tithing.  Our LORD God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, guides, comforts and counsels us so that we can discover the good works which He has prepared for us. 

This is the important point. Through grace alone we are crowned with the gift of salvation. And then God, in His grace, crowns our lives by helping us to perform good works. We are therefore doubly righteous. To God be the glory. Amen.

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