Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Spiritual Stuff

Bob found this pamphlet we have by Michael Pearl called “Justification and the book of James” and we’ve been reading it. Interesting. He makes the case that Biblically, “justification” doesn’t (or at least, doesn’t always) mean “made right.” It means “proven.” There are scriptures that speak of God being justified; obviously He isn’t made right, but rather is shown to be right. So Mr. Pearl goes on to say that our works are simply proof of our faith. Okay, so far it makes sense and I’ll buy it. But his conclusion has left me quite frustrated.

He says that a saved person will have a new nature that naturally wants to do the right thing. That any time we have to “try” to do right then we are not in God and we are trying to add to our salvation or something. He likened it to hanging apples on a tree as opposed to letting an apple tree grow apples.

Forgive me, but I have to work at doing the right thing. My nature would have me eating cookies and reading or playing games all day, with the occasional walk outside (in nice weather) to poke a few seeds in the ground and call that “gardening.” I don’t WANT to do dishes or vacuum, and I sure don’t want to be nice to other people; they should leave me alone and let me indulge myself.

So does this mean I’m not really saved? Mr. Pearl would imply so. But on the other hand he deplores those “faith and works” salvation people who don’t ever know if they are saved. Faith only people know they are saved because they have believed and that is enough. Big sigh. I know I believe. I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He came to earth as a baby, lived sinlessly, died in my place, rose again to earth and then to Heaven, where He sits at God’s right hand. I believe that. And Biblically, having believed and confessed that truth, I am saved. So a great big raspberry to Mr. Pearl, and I’ll keep trying to please my Father because I ought to, even if I don’t want to.


Constance said...

I'm with you, being Christlike doesn't come naturally for me. Some aspects are getting better but just about that time, the Holy Spirit reveals something else to me. I KNOW that I'm saved but I am a work in progress. Our Pastor always says that God is looking for progress and not perfection. God knows we aren't going to be perfect (here on earth) but we are called to discipline ourselves and work towards becoming more Christ-like. I believe it was William Barclay who said and I'm paraphrasing, our works don't earn our salvation they're an outward expression of our gratitude for Christ's sacrifice on the cross for us.

I'll check out the pictures when I get back from my trip. I am spending the weekend with my oldest daughter and her family, celebrating her 30th birthday back in St Louis.

MamaOlive said...

Thanks, Connie. Have a good trip!
(I turned 30 this year!)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm with you too Shari. I was about to say almost exactly what Connie said, so I'll quote her:
"Some aspects are getting better but just about that time, the Holy Spirit reveals something else to me."

Anonymous said...

Romans 10:8-11. I confess, I believe, I am. I heard a preacher on TV the other day (watched just a snippet) saying the answer is M & M's. Memorize & Meditate the Word and the heart will be made right every time. No question about it.

Ganeida said...

Everything I've read & studied suggests we have to ''choose'' to follow Christ & to my thinking that implies some work ~ reading & meditating are work ~ but Satan will opposse us so we put on the full armour of God ~ more work. I don't think the Pearls have got it quite right on this one.