Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Holy Club or Refuge for Sinners?

Why is it that Christianity so quickly turns from grace to works?  (Cf. Galatians 3:1-3).  So many so-called Christians love to preach on the street corners, at the abortion clinics, and in the prisons  (Matthew 6:5).  They love to be seen of men and to exalt themselves as holy people of God because they are obeying God, being faithful, and preaching the Gospel.  Unfortunately, many of them think these good works are part of the basis for their acceptance with God.  Like the Pharisees their own faithfulness turns into the foundation of their faith rather than the faithfulness of Christ who kept all the law perfectly (Romans 10:4-5; Galatians 3:10; Matthew 5:18; Luke 24:44; 1 Peter 2:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

When these hypocrites go out to preach their message is indirectly, "Look at me.  I believe and I stopped sinning and so can you!"  They boast about the changes they have made in their life rather than admitting that but for the grace of God they too would be living recklessly.  Did they forget that the righteous need no physician?  The moment we begin to exalt our own holiness and our sanctification we again come under God's just condemnation.  The only way our works are acceptable to God is by our belief and assent to the finished work of the cross (John 19:30).  None of our progress in personal piety, holiness, or good works can ever withstand the judgment of God (Psalm 130:3; Psalm 143:2; Job 9:2; Romans 3:23).  Our good works can never prepare us for salvation, keep us saved, or merit anything.  The only basis by which any good we do is acceptable is by our faith in Christ who alone merited salvation for us.  We work out of gratitude for God's mercy, not out of an obligation to earn or merit some false vindication before God in the judgment.  Our works are but filthy rags and could never withstand the judgment of God (Isaiah 64:6-7).

Paul dealt with these compromisers in the Epistle to the Galatians:  

You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified! 2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort? 4 Have you suffered so many things for nothing?– if indeed it was for nothing. 5 Does God then give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law or by your believing what you heard? 6 Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, 7 so then, understand that those who believe are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, saying, "All the nations will be blessed in you." 9 So then those who believe are blessed along with Abraham the believer. 10 For all who rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law." 11 Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith. 12 But the law is not based on faith, but the one who does the works of the law will live by them. 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree") 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. (Galatians 3:1-14 NET)

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