devotional

10OCT
2020

No Confidence in the Flesh Leads to Confidence in Christ

Jesus did not Ascend to save by sacraments!

His ability to deliver you from sin is not contingent upon your response. It is not shut up in breads, wines, waters or chants. I just tore up an Episcopal prayer book. My right foot rests on it now.

Grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone. Test my traditions. Like James, I’m ready to define grace by my works.

Grace alone.

If this message is not made clear by Jesus.

If this message is not made clear by the writers of his New Covenant.

Attested and witnessed by the writers of his Old Covenant.

If the Cross does not demand a Christian renounce *all* fleshly confidence, then nothing is clear in Christianity, and God is a failed communicator. Have all the systems! Build all the cathedrals! Ok. Tax me. Wear the garments. Burn the incense and strike the tambourine. I may join you. But do not strip away grace. If you do, you remove Jesus from the picture. He backs away. He resists the proud. Imputation expels all self-righteousness.

If you say one is born again when they undergo water baptism, you’re a liar. Possibly an anti-Christ. I must oppose your meritorious sophistry exactly as Paul did circumcision, and on the same grounds. Just as Jesus denied Pharisaicalism, it’s clear that you’ve also set aside the word of God for your traditions. All your verse twists and tradition will only take you further limping out into the desert. I would bring you to the well with the gentle calling of rebuke by the dry but inspired ink. I have my wet inks. I have my traditions. I hope they make clear on the Cross what grace means by saying grace “alone.” Choke if you must. If you must, you must. The good news is that I know the Heimlich of grace.

Grace “alone” – faith “alone” – Christ “alone.” The “alone(s)” are as pivotal as they are tacit.

Christian, learn (enjoy) a boast in Christ. Be free. Precision here makes grown up kids. Unless you become like a child you will not enter the kingdom. You were helpless by your sin. Fight selfism no matter how faint. Jesus said put no confidence in the flesh, but to put it in him. Look at the Lord now off the Cross. Look to where he now is. And let your abundant works (even all beautiful ordinance-based obediences) testify loudly of God’s love and the *un-merited* grace from Calvary’s victor. God will not thank you in the end for you helping him save you. That’s just not how it works. Be free.

In light of the Cross, hear me, there is not to be a faint whisper of “merited grace” in the crowd. We can’t lasso the wind. We grow in grace and God blesses our willing obedience, yes, but we are saved by grace and an altogether un-merited such. Your church’s works don’t convey God’s salvation. He gave no such thing. We invite prayers and call for obedience, but there are no magic formulas. God does not regenerate by sacrament. We cannot presume on him as another Christ and remove the sovereign wind’s blow Jesus spoke of in John 3 when asked in private how regeneration can be? In John 6, Jesus assures repeatedly that only those to whom it’s been granted can come, yet some lassoing misfits say that all who participate in their works have. They even speak for babies. What has God told you that he’s not told his church, Mr. Vestments? Are you the gatekeeper of God’s sovereignty by your traditions? Fool. Have you forgotten that one might be placed at the door of the mansion to open and shut it, but that God owns it? Have you slept so long at your post that you now scalp invites? No. Be content. Hold the mystery. Rest, friend. You know the way, but you do not make it! In the Faith, Paul no more begat Onesimus in his chains than Peter healed the cripple. We are ambassadors. Our keys are humbling. We know the truth. But our keys are not labeled “For Christ.” We’re doorkeepers, not deal-makers! Repent of your wickedness who say that works save when done in you. How can you not still understand this?!

No baptism, no Lord’s Supper, no repentance or even belief. No one eats Jesus. We are neither our savior, nor co-savior, nor small part participant savior, nor infinitesimally small part participant savior. All percentages for grace must go to God. Sacrament does not save. The Savior makes this clear in the beauty of the Gospel.

Obey the commandments. Faith either produces this in us or is expressly denied by it! Our fruitful obedience is the result of his grace planting us. We must put this down on paper no more clearly than the New Testament does, but Satan loves churching too.

Grace and works. This wonderful paradox is made crystal clear in Scripture. Come to the Cross. Look long there!! If you have a mirror on you, I advise you toss it aside. Shhhhh. There is nothing more to say for now. If you’re here with us, you’re a witness in eternity. Would you go back now to that day today, oh collared or phylacteried ones who claim to guide the blind and still ask, “What else must they do?” If holy works could do a thing, two (or surely three) would have at least one replace the Cross! It’s not the abundance of works or the blood of bulls and goats could’ve done it. Christ didn’t Ascend to enable sacraments any more than works of the Law to save. They’d then be the saviors. He’d have to point from the Cross to the mirrors tossed aside saying, “It is finished…at your baptism.” I humbly fight, “no!” No! No! Grace alone. Look into the mirror now. Once you lean wholly upon the grace brought to you by him. Once you stop claiming a share. Once you taste this purpose of the church in the sweet pardon that demands your all, you’ll loathe self-righteousness. You’ll work, but not in vain. I work harder than likely most you know. I want to attain to the resurrection just as Paul did. I’ve read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. But I hate with Christ-given hatred the idea that I’ve obeyed him in anything and thus merited his Cross. I scorn even the words that want to make the poison palatable. And just like John’s anti-Christ identification question about Jesus coming in the flesh was given to diagnose people, the test of a grace apart from all works brings me to popes and bishops still. Water baptism is not our salvation. It only models it. Participating in the Lord’s Supper is not our salvation. It only models it.

Amen.

Christ is Lord! Churches should know this. Grace.

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