Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

Saving Faith is demonstraTED IN DISOBEDIENCE

2/22/12

Traditional Christianity would have us believe that man's faith is required in order to secure God's approval and blessing. This personal faith is supposedly demonstrated by our obedience to the church's salvation procedure, the list of actions one must complete in order to be saved and become a Christian. As I have noted before, Paul directly challenges this concept of salvation in Galatians Chapter 3 when he says unequivocally that the law with its requirement for obedience in order to please God cannot disannul God's promise. In the very same chapter Paul shows that the Gospel is the substance of the promise of God to Abraham which was to benefit everyone, not just the Jews.

When Paul says that righteousness cannot come by the law, by implication he shows that righteousness does not come by man's obedience either, because that is what the law demands- obedience. When Paul contrasts the law and the promise, in effect, he differentiates between man's faithfulness and God's. If the blessings promised to Abraham, which included all mankind, cannot be disannulled by the law, then those blessings are not be dependent on man's obedience to any law. Blessings based solely on God's promise depend on God's ability and integrity alone. No one need doubt how sure that outcome is.

In effect, the message of Galatians three is that man's salvation is based on God's faith or faithfulness. God's faithfulness to His plan and promise is amply demonstrated in the Bible in His dealings with Israel. Israel's lack of faithfulness never thwarted God's purpose and instead served to highlight and dramatize God's own faithfulness. The church would have us believe that salvation/righteousness is achieved through man's faith and subsequent acts of obedience to the salvation prescription. In fact, the faith that saves is that of God which is manifested most pointedly through man's disobedience. That is the continual story of the OT. It is also the substance of Paul's epiphany in Romans 11:32. What Paul realized is that God works through man's unbelief  to bring mercy and that realization blew his mind. The more unfaithful man is, the greater the magnificence of God's continual commitment to His inalterable Word of Promise.

When one understands that God's faithfulness insures salvation, then man acts in response to the realization of what God has done; he does not act in order to allow God to save. Thus, the demonstration of personal faith mentioned in the book of James is not a duty and a requirement to show that we have achieved true righteousness, as so often claimed, but rather a natural, spontaneous reaction to the magnificence of God's commitment to all humanity. That difference is subtle but very powerful.

 

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