They Mishandle Scripture

April 9, 2013

Yes, Eph. 2:8,9 is a favorite of those who teach that our deeds / actions / works / behavior / conduct / character is not of concern to God. But these false teachers, even as they misinterpret these two verses by not comparing them with the whole of Scripture, but only to the teachings of other false teachers, do not finish the paragraph: “For of Him we are a product, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God previously prepared in order that in them we might walk.” So God has arranged in advance for us to do good works, yet we’re not required to do those good works? Absolutely we are commanded to do them (John 14:15-24 // 1 John 2:3,4 & 3:24 // etc.), and if we refuse to walk in them (do them), then that is disobedience and a denial of the Lord’s authority / lordship / rulership in our hearts / lives.

I may address you further tonight in my post.

Thank you for reading here and commenting.

The above is what I wrote at my comment page this morning in response to David S. who put Eph. 2:8,9 as a comment. That verse says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.” It is too bad that people who insist that our salvation does not depend on our behavior (including our thoughts and words), almost always leave out verse 10 which teaches that we are to do the good works which God has prepared for us to do.

It is interesting, too, that these same people avoid quoting the numerous Scripture verses which command obedience, service to God, and purity. They certainly do not like to quote from the second chapter of James either, for it teaches very clearly that anyone who has faith without works is to simply have the kind of faith the demons have. The demons know who Jesus is and what He did for us on the cross, and they’ve also studied God’s Word. But they don’t trust, follow, and obey –which is what saving faith entails. They instead rebel against God; and anyone else who rebels, will, just like them, inherit God’s wrath. Eph. 2:2,3 speaks of this exact thing, revealing that those who are disobedient are followers of the world, the evil one, and the sinful nature, and are thus objects of God’s wrath.

Of course we didn’t “buy” our salvation with good works, but rather, we received it from God as His gracious gift to us, receiving it by our belief (our faith) in the Truth and by renouncing our past participation in the Rebel Kingdom. If we were genuine, our citizenship was transferred (Col. 1:13), we received redemption (v. 14), and God’s Spirit came to indwell us. (John 3:3-8) But much, from this transaction, is to result. For as we grow under His tutelage, we find ourselves increasingly compelled to serve and worship the Lord in fuller and more perfect obedience. Through this growth, we will absolutely produce the lasting fruit He desires us to produce. Anther term for this fruit is “good works”.

As in anything else we’re learning, so spiritual wisdom, power, and maturity is a growth. But the fact that it is a process is no excuse to backtrack on anything we’ve already learned. To not know how to catch oneself when tempted, to not know how to use our spiritual weapons, the name of Jesus, the Word of God, and praise, so as to be victorious, is something we should tolerate only in infants. How long does it take an army soldier to become reliable and valuable? How long does it take anyone to learn a skill and be trusted to perform well? God should certainly not have to wait that long for His subjects, especially when He has put into us His own mighty Spirit along with His own power and wisdom and knowledge and insight and mind! What weak faith people exhibit when they grumble about sin’s hold on them! Has “His incomparably great power for us who believe” (Eph. 1:19) not become a reality in these people?! If not, then apparently they are unbelievers who are “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Tim. 3:5)

Well, before we quote God’s Word and teach doctrine to others, let’s be sure we aren’t parroting the quips of false teachers or mishandling the Scriptures as they do. Let’s be sure we know the Word of God thoroughly, let’s be sure we’ve been taught it by the Holy Spirit, not deceiving spirits, and let’s be sure we’ve put it into practice every day and minute of our lives. And let’s be sure we are completely honest with how we compare and interpret Scripture with Scripture.

with love,

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